Encouragement for Today
“Right or Left Thinking” – Part 1
Marybeth Whalen, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Deuteronomy 5:32-33, “So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” (NIV)
God has recently been showing me the importance of living out His calling without looking around to see what others are doing, or seeking their approval. How easy it is to get sidetracked if we take our eyes off what He has asked of us. Like a horse with blinders on, we should be focusing dead ahead and not looking to the right or to the left. Oh, this is easier said than done!
I know that I can get sidetracked very easily. I look at my friend’s unique calling and think: maybe I should be doing what she is doing. Or I look at that family in church that seems to have it all together and think: God, I could handle their calling so much better than my own! I call this “right or left thinking.” I look to my right and think – maybe I should be serving more in the church like her. Or I look to my left and think – how nice it would be to have the financial resources to give like they do. The problem with looking to the right or to the left is that, when I do, I am taking my focus off the “one thing that is needed” (Luke 10:42). I am not centering my gaze on Him.
God has called me according to His unique design for me. My calling will not look like yours and vice versa. I have learned not to feel obligated to fulfill a calling that is not my own, or to feel inferior for having a calling I might see as less important. God has designed the Body to work together, incorporating each individual calling for His glory. Because I cannot see His master plan, I must trust that my calling is part of His greater purpose and walk in that trust.
Are you at home today, wiping noses and running carpool, wondering why you aren’t making a bigger impact for God? Maybe you have a job that you are certain is hindering you from accomplishing something greater. Perhaps the tasks you do at church seem so inconsequential that you feel like it couldn’t possibly make a difference. May I challenge you just for today to embrace your calling – wherever God has you? May I suggest that you thank God today for His plan for you and His calling on your life for such a time as this? Most importantly, may I urge you to seek God’s will – His good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2) – for your life and then keep your focus on Him as you walk in that will, looking neither to the right or to the left in the days to come.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, thank You for loving me enough to include me in your work on this earth. I know that even on days that I doubt my impact, You are there working through me and furthering Your Kingdom through my efforts. Lord, I thank You that You can multiply my efforts to do so much more than I can ever ask or imagine. Help me to focus on You as I carry out Your tasks for me—whatever they may be—each and every day. Help me not to get distracted by what others are doing and to not look to the right or to the left. Lord, please keep my gaze fixed on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What is your calling in life? Take time to write this down specifically in a journal. If you do not know what your calling is, spend time searching Scriptures and asking God to reveal it to you. If God has you in a season of a certain calling (for example, mothering small children), also remember to journal about any callings you feel He might be preparing you for in the future. Write down ways that you can keep your eyes fixed on Him despite stumbling blocks you face.
Do I know what my calling is in life? Have I truly embraced it or am I running from it?
How can I eliminate the things that keep me from focusing on where God has me?
Are there any people I struggle with envying? Do I want their callings to be my own? How can I embrace my own unique gifts and the way God has specifically prepared me to serve Him just as I am?
Hebrews 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NIV)
Philippians 3:13-14, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
I Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (NIV)
Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst
Dreams of a Woman, by Sharon Jaynes
Shaped with Purpose (workbook), by Renee Swope
Originally published Thursday, 18 August 2005.