Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ask for the next step not the whole path

Friday night I was having a little trouble understanding the reason for the move we are preparing for. I turned to my longest and best Bestie who always knows what I need. This week she has also been given an unknown path that she didn't choose and she has been struggling to understand it. Bestie and I are both at turning points in our lives, and the funny thing is in high school we always said we'd have it all figured out by the time we were 25. HAHA! I laugh so hard at that thought now. Do you ever really have life figured out?

But she did send me this wonderful devotion. I am the type of person who likes to know everything all at once. But God has been working lately to show my one step at a time. But I struggle with one step at a time. I like to know the whole picture to plan for the whole picture. It's not that I don't trust God to provide because I do. It's that I want to prepare for the things God has in store for me. I do not work well blind sided. But this devotion reminded me that God can and will carry my burdens and my weakness and that He will provide one step at a time and that I need to worry only about each step not the entire picture.

God is placing Hubs and I exactly where we wanted to be, in a small fishing community 15 minuets from the beach near a handful of dear friends. We have nothing to worry about and God has, is, and will provide.

Just let go and let God.


We all have those times in life where we wish the voice of God would audibly speak so loudly there’s no way we could miss it, “THIS IS THE DIRECTION I WANT YOU TO GO.” Then we’d know whether to stay the course or quit and head off in a new direction.
Have you ever wished for this kind of certainty?

I have.

We want to know what to do.

Sometimes we stay in a place too long. But I think the greater loss happens in those times we quit too soon. And we live with this nagging sense of “what if?” What if I’d persevered one more year, one more month, one more day?

What if David had been so put off by his dad’s brush off, he refused to come in from the field and see Samuel? (1 Samuel 16)

What if David had assessed whether or not to face Goliath based on the shadow of his opponent rather than the shadow of the Almighty? (1 Samuel 17)

What if Abigail’s pride or fear had stopped her a few steps shy of bowing low before David? (1 Samuel 25)

Knowing when to stop and when to keep on keeping on is a crucial life lesson. One I want to learn well.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus encourages us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

I used to get so frustrated when I heard this verse because I thought, I don’t want rest. I want reassurance! I’m burdened by this decision I have to make. I don’t want to mess up my life by missing a cue from You, God.

But the gift of the rest Jesus is offering here is not a spiritual Ambien. The Greek word for this kind of rest is anapauo which has as one of its definitions, “of calm and patient expectation.”

In other words, Jesus is saying if you come to Me, I will take your exhaustion and uncertainty and turn it into a calm expectation.

But how?

My friend Jennifer Rothschild does this enlightening exercise at some of her conferences. She tells the audience to imagine her writing two different words on a large chalkboard. She then speaks the letters as she draws the first word into the air… R-E-S-T. She does the same for the second word…R-E-S-I-S-T. Then she asks what’s the difference?

The difference is, of course, “I.”

I don’t know what to do. I can’t figure this out. I’m worn out. I’ve tried everything I know to do. I’ve given all I have to give.

I’m familiar with these “I” statements because I’ve said them myself.

We can only find anapauo rest — fresh hope — as we stop running ragged and simply take on the next assignment Jesus gives.

In verse 29 of Matthew 11 Jesus gives us the assignment to take on His yoke and learn from Him. Ask Jesus to show you just the next step. Not ten steps. Not the whole path. Not the Google map with the highlighted route. Just the next step.
Complete that step with excellence and an open, humble heart. Listen and look for all Jesus wants to teach you in this next step.

This is your part of the equation.

But after the assignment, comes the reassurance in verse 30, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” We don’t have to have all the answers. We just have to stay connected to the One who does. Where our strength ends is the exact point where His will begin.

This is God’s part of the equation.

I must do all I can do. Then trust God will do what only He can do.
Should I stay? Should I go? Maybe the better question is, “God, what is the next step I’m to take today? I’m going to do my part. And trust the rest with You.”




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