Originally published Thursday, 15 December 2016.
Three years ago when I stepped out of the radio studio I had no real clear goals other than the fact that I wanted to reach the lost with the Gospel, be involved in connecting with people, and help to build God’s Church all over the world. At the time, I knew what He had laid on my heart to do concerning the nations, and I’ve held Africa in the deepest recesses of my heart.
I didn’t know what the next step would involve, but God simply asked if I would trust Him in my next move. Yes, I said move. When that word first came to my awareness, I was a bit shocked. I had been asking God to use me in a bigger way but was thinking (although very limited in my finite mind), I imagined a new plan would come to fruition someday.
I also believed that I would write books someday and several would be published for many to read. I never knew HOW or WHEN these dreams and trips would come to pass, but currently, as I sit here typing this, I see things unfold that I once could not even articulate.
Today on the fresh heels of Thanksgiving and returning from Africa, I am even more grateful and in awe of what has occurred in the past three years. I have no magic formula, but over the years here is what I have learned:
Give yourself the space to dream again.
Get involved in your local church.
Do wholeheartedly whatever is before you.
Don’t have any agenda, but serve willingly.
Wait for God to open doors.
Submit to leadership.
Trust God because He is always in control when we are not.
There is no wasted experience; God uses everything.
God makes a way where there seems to be no way.
Stay the course.
Always remain part of something bigger than you.
Surround yourself with wise advisors.
Do nothing from selfish ambition.
Keep stretching and growing.
Rally others to journey with you.
Bloom where God plants you.
Believe God for who He says He is.
Bonus: Obey God, He will not lead you astray.
Now I assume you are thinking, this makes a fancy pants list and all, but why should this work for you? Or perhaps you have different goals than I. Both could be true. When you consider the infinite plans that God has for all of us, it’s easy to think small about what God can do through us.
The biggest truth I have realized over time is we rarely know the details of the journey when we start; like Abraham, we often go forth not knowing where we are going. But when you keep your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and the covenant promises, He will always take you to your destination. Whether you come kickin’ and screamin’ or run willingly to Him, either way, God always knows what journey is best for each of us. He is the only One who knows us better than we know ourselves and has gifted each person the uniqueness that makes us who we are.
He is good at being our Judge, our Father, and but also our Friend. Some additional thoughts about following God are (and it’s important to remember these things too!)
God’s plans will…
Take longer than you think,
Cost more than you think,
Hurt more than you think,
BUT GOD AND you are…
Braver than you know,
Stronger than you seem,
Smarter than you think,
And loved more than you know.
Recently I was shopping with my husband and he purchased the above saying on a wooden sign. I asked him why he wanted to buy that for me and he said, “I will not always be with you, but I want you to remember these things.” The Lord also encourages believers in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” As if you are the only one, God steps into time, to author your story, and to develop you with a unique plan all your own but He loves it when you partner with Him in the grander scheme of His plans.
When you don’t know what to do, take the next step and trust God. Sometimes it looks like you are going in a different direction than you thought, but obedience is worth it. And when you grab ahold of the Father’s heart for you, then you will realize you are loved more than you know. His heart will lead you no other way but the right way. Follow, trust, and take heart. Oh and hang on, it’s wild out here!