Friday, March 5, 2010

I think I may have asked for this.

I remember thinking sometime around November that my life was too easy. I had been talking to a friend who was going through a rough time and thought about how God would probably use this to draw her closer to Him. It suddenly hit me that I had drifted to a place of stagnancy. I hadn't felt God in a while because I hadn't really sought Him. I remembered the times in the past few months when I had really experienced His presence and work in my life. They had been the times when I was struggling with something and had to be totally dependent on Him. Although I'm not sure I verbalized a prayer, I know I at least thought that I needed to be shaken up a bit.

Then I forgot about it. But God didn't.

The past three months have been a gradual build-up of unknowns for me. Probably the biggest issues have involved the condo I own back home. A lesson learned in rash and prayerless decisions, it has been nothing but trouble since I decided to move to Africa. I won’t go into all the little details (there are way too many), but it has been enough to cause what I feel is an unfair burden to my parents, and enough to make me prayerfully consider whether I need to stay in Africa for a second year or come home at the end of this school year.

I HATE decisions. Especially life changing ones. The only contingency to my two-year commitment to Mercy Ships has been the condo, and the issues with it just seem to be escalating from all angles. I don’t know whether to say it is spiritual warfare--a means to confuse me into returning home too early--or if God’s intention was to use that contingency to lead me home next year.

Did I mention I hate decisions? Let's just reiterate that fact for a moment.

But as much as I hate decisions, as much as I wish God would send me a quick email telling me exactly what to do, I’m seeing that He is using this process to reveal what He has already done in my heart and what He is doing right now. He’s shown me areas where He has broken down strongholds in my life that had been there for years, things that I had buried and hidden but in my heart was afraid I would never truly get past. I’m too prideful to air my dirty laundry to the entire internet world, but I will say He allowed these circumstances to uproot what I had buried and bring it to the surface, and through that process He showed me clearly that I no longer need to fear the power of these strongholds.

And as for the spiritual warfare? Oh, I definitely think it’s a part of this process. Whether Satan is trying to confuse me into going home when I shouldn’t, I don’t know. What I do know is this: he is doing everything in his power to distract me from TODAY.

You see, while the decision for where I will be next year needs to be made soon, it’s not absolutely necessary that it be made today. I saw so clearly last summer that God is perfectly capable of directing my steps, even when I have no idea what to do. He has shown me over and over again that His timing is perfect, sometimes later than I think I’d prefer, but in the end, well worth the wait and ALWAYS better than what I had planned for myself. Yet somehow my analytical, can-you-please-just-tell-me-what-to-do-now brain forgets that He is in control of tomorrow and only asks me to walk with Him TODAY.

“Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).

“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:33-34).

TODAY, God wants me to experience His presence, His peace, and His joy in my life. TODAY, He wants me to be so filled with His love and grace that it overflows to those around me. TODAY, He wants me to have my eyes open for opportunities to encourage others. If I am so busy trying to figure out tomorrow, I totally miss out on the gift of TODAY.

“The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy. I have come that they might have LIFE, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

One way I know God is working on me is that a few years ago (who am I kidding, LAST SUMMER), I wouldn’t have recognized that the enemy’s goal was to steal my todays. In moments of indecision, I always acted as though the decision was the end and not the means. My desire was only for direction, not so much for the Director. Now, I’m still asking Him to show me the way I should go. I’m still asking Him to guide my steps. I’m still asking Him to give me Scriptures that apply to this situation and the wisdom to rightly apply them. I’m still asking Him give my hesitant, uncertain heart repeated confirmations. BUT…amidst those prayers, I’m asking just simply for HIM. I’m asking to feel His presence. I’m asking to know His heart. I’m asking to have eyes to see the situation as He sees it. I’m asking Him to help me not be distracted by this decision and miss out on abiding with Him and loving others TODAY. And I realize that if I have HIM, the answer to my question of what I should do isn’t really all that important. He will work all of that out in His perfect timing. HE is all the answer that I need.

And you know what? I think that may be at least part of His purpose in shaking me up a bit. So no, I don’t regret asking for it.  :)


  1. I want you to know, dear granddaughter that I am praying each day WITH you for guidance that God will show you the way. Remember all the things that happened last summer when you didn't think you were supposed to go to Africa. God just unfolded HIS purpose in your life and showed you exactly what you should do. I will pray now for Him to direct your path & lead you. I love you so much. Mema

  2. Love this... "My desire was only for direction, not so much for the director." How often I have felt that and not realized what the problem was!! I loved talking to you today. I'm praying for you.

  3. Thanks, Mema! Last summer, though, I DID think I was supposed to go to Africa. I just didn't understand why my condo wasn't renting. God is answering my prayers in crazy ways this time too, just like last summer. It's too early to post the story because it isn't over yet, but I think I'll know what to do very soon. Thank you for praying! Love you!

    Loved talking to you too, Beth! Love you and praying for you too!