Again I'm faced with big decisions...
Do you hear the underlying groan in my writing?
I sat with my dear friend and prayer partner recently and said, "I'm tired of trying to discern God's will."
I felt so ungodly saying that...so grumpy, tired and sinful.
I want to be better at it.
I feel like I must be doing something wrong...or not doing something right.
Lord, why does it feel so difficult to know what to do? Why can't I figure things out? Why is this so hard? Am I doing something wrong? Am I missing something?
I have prayed...and prayed...and prayed.
I have sought wisdom in Scripture.
I have asked way too many friends for advice...I think I just really, really want someone to tell me what to do.
SOMEONE, JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO!
And yet, I know....I KNOW...I know that God wants me to just rest in Him.
One of my friends reminded me that God wants me to remain constantly dependent on Him. I'm not feeling dependent. I'm feeling crazy, slightly insane, and very, very frustrated.
Looking back, I'm hard pressed to say that I've made any truly successful decisions on my own in the past five years...I know I'm probably being hard on myself, but that's how I'm feeling right now. I can't think of one thing I haven't looked back on and said, "If only..."
What a lousy way to live.
I'm pretty certain that is not what God wants me to be thinking...after all, do I trust Him or not?
Seriously, do I trust Him?
Because this stress cannot be from Him...and these anxious thoughts and overwhelming fears can't be from Him.
But how do I stop them? How do I get past the fear...the anxious thoughts...the exhaustion?
I often pray that God will help me focus on Him...keep to the path...not go to the right or the left when I should be heading forward.
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil (Prov. 4:25-27).
I think I get hung up on the "ponder the path of your feet" part. I ponder...and ponder...and ponder. Oh my golly, I'm so sick of pondering!
I think about everything and how it is going to impact everything else...how things might turn out...how things might impact or affect each of my children...I wonder about how the decisions of the past will impact the decisions I need to make...I wonder what will become of me and my children...will this decision grow their faith...will bad things happen....will good things happen? Am I ever going to make a decision I'm truly comfortable with?
Once again, for the 40-somethingth year, I'm focusing on my circumstances rather than on my Savior....WHEN will I learn this lesson?
I'm looking at my feet rather than directly forward...I'm not looking at Jesus.
I'm so focused on where I'm going that I forget Who I'm going with.
I'm so worried about the future that I'm forgetting the Father.
If I truly believe that the Father holds my future...WHY do I worry so? Why do I get all wiggy about things?
If I believe that He does work all things together for good for those who love Him and whom He has called, then I know that no matter what decision I make, He will work for good.
So maybe the issue is that I want things to get "fixed"–I want a different situation...an easier life...less complication, more calm.
I'm not so sure that God's good is always easier...peaceful yes, but not necessarily easier.
Drat...I wanted easier.
I'm tired of being tired...exhausted by exhaustion...frustrated by frustration...
BUT isn't that MY issue?
God doesn't say I need to do something or live a certain way without providing a way to do it. There has to be a way to live like more than a conqueror even in this place I am. A way to count it all joy...
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).
I never noticed the words "full effect" before...I mean I never really thought about them. I think maybe what that is saying is to let life happen and grow from it. That makes sense, because steadfastness also means patience, perseverance, endurance and fidelity.
Maybe part of counting it all joy is allowing the trials to happen...living the life of trials without trying to fix something that is not within our power to truly fix.
Maybe we are to patiently allow it to work in our lives...allow the trials to mold us...to make us complete.
That really wasn't the answer I was looking for...I was hoping for something more like: "Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, because God's got the quick fix."
So I'm back to...do I trust Him?
Do I trust His timing? His provision? His care of my children? His plan for my life?
Do I trust that He can work through any decision I make?
Do I trust that He can do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine? But that might mean it doesn't look at all like I'd hoped, but it will still be good.
Do I trust Him to love me regardless of my mistakes and missteps?
Do I trust that He will lead me?
Do I trust Him?
I do trust Him even though at times I don't understand what He is allowing or doing or not doing at all.
I do trust Him even when I desperately want Him to fix things for us, and His timing is very slow in my estimation.
I do trust Him even when I feel like I can't bear one more decision...one more heartache...one more difficulty...one more broken anything.
I do trust Him when I can't provide for my children as I'd like to.
I do trust Him when things don't go the way I thought they would...and my way seems so much better.
I do trust Him that He is leading, even though I haven't gotten any lightning bolts with memos attached...no GPS from God...no heavenly updates on the plan.
I do trust that He loves my children and is working in their lives.
I do trust that He will always love me.
Wow! That really helped. Listing all those things...that gives me some perspective. It is much easier to rest in that trust when I remind myself of it.
Actually the best thing was reminding myself of the object of my trust...
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths (Prov. 3:5-6).
So the decisions I need to make...particularly the biggest one...I will pray, seek Scripture, seek some counsel...but I'm going to trust that my Father has prepared me to make wise decisions. I'm going to trust that He will work in my life whatever I decide. I'm going to trust that I cannot step outside of His sovereignty.
Now THAT gives me some peace.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:27).
Sue Birdseye is an author and single mom of five kids that range in age from 4 to 17. Her book, When Happily Ever After Shatters (Tyndale House), is in bookstores. This is adapted from her blog, uptomytoes.com
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