Have you ever tried to make a big decision and found yourself hopelessly stuck? You have your desires and comfort zones on one side, the advice from family and friends, as well. You scroll self-help/ advice columns, scriptures and books, and all the while you’re straining to hear what God wants to say on the issue, trying your best to be sure you are being obedient and in His will.
It can be a very silent experience and silence is quite uncomfortable.
I remember when I was in a situation like this. I was going back and forth with myself about enrolling back in school for my Master's degree. I wanted to continue my education, but was very unsure of what direction to go in. I didn't know what I wanted to study. I didn't know if it was my time. It was a huge decision, a life-altering one, and I didn’t want to make the wrong choice. I didn't want to waste my time (or money, at that) pursuing something that wasn't in the plans for me. I didn't want to fail.
Behind all of our hesitations is the fear of failing. And though we desire to be courageous, there are so many of us who stay on the road of comfort because we are afraid of getting things wrong. I believe, in some cases, our reasons that we claim to be waiting on God can be the biggest excuse to do nothing. I think, if we're honest, we aren't really even waiting on God at all. We just say this because it sounds good, makes us look good and stalls our need to actually do something.
The Bible clearly says that we are to wait. But what does this mean? Does waiting mean do nothing, sit quietly and hope a sign will come? I don't think so.
"But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." -Isaiah 40:31
I see action in this verse, don't you? When we wait on the Lord, things happen for us. We are strengthened, we are moved to action, we are successful!
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." -Proverbs 3:5-6
In this scripture, I notice the word, "ways". The word "action" is its synonym. In all your actions, efforts, plans, decisions acknowledge the Lord and He will make your path clear.
Not every decision is black and white and though it is tempting to put plans on hold because we feel hesitant, that does not result in trusting the Lord with all our hearts. We cannot claim to trust God to preform in our lives if we are unwilling to live our lives. Sometimes there is a clear right and a clear wrong path to take, but usually, if we’re serving God’s kingdom, walking in obedience and loving others to the best of our ability, I’ve found that God directs us in the choices that we trust Him to take.
I found this to be true when I was writing my book. I remember staring at my screen, knowing that I had completed something wonderful, but very unsure on the next steps towards publication. I didn't want to self publish- I wanted a reputable company backing me. I wanted to share my words with women everywhere and I wanted to be a light to those who were looking for one. But how? I"m not a famous speaker, teacher or preacher. I have less than 1,000 followers on social media, no experience in the publishing space and I didn't have a writing agent. What to do......?
I was left with a decision. With no right answer, and no wrong answer, I had to choose to be brave, take action and seek the answers and opportunities that would propel my goal. I could have frozen with uncertainty. I could has decided to wait and see what might fall in my lap. That would have been so much easier than actually taking action and risking rejection. But, instead, I chose to trust God in all my ways: I prayed over every phone call and every email I sent. I spent many midnights researching people, companies and publishers, all while taking my desires to the Lord and asking Him to direct me. And that was even scarier, because there was no telling what would come of all the work and efforts and putting myself out there. But it was worth it because God was near and trusting Him lead me to the right answers for my hopes and goals.
God is always near! He isn't far away and He isn't unaware of your hopes. He welcomes us to trust Him because He knows where He wants to take us. And though taking action, through faith, seems risky, the alternative is meaningless. If we do nothing, we will most certainly get nothing. The best results occur when our actions are in line with our faith in our Heavenly Father, because He loves us and He is always near and He wants us to invite Him for every step of the way.
“What would you do if you knew God would be holding your hand every step of the way?” This is a question that has been asked in many sermons. We nod in response and we imagine our answer, but we rarely put it to action.
It might seem to be an unrealistic or hypothetical question, but it isn't. Scripture tells us that God will never leave or forsake us, so He is always there with us when we place our trust in Him. He isn't far away and He actually does want to hold our hands! He's reaching for us, but it's our trust that allows our hands to take hold of His. Once we begin to believe and behave as if God is holding our hands the entire time, we won't find ourselves so hindered or immobile regarding the dreams He has placed within us.
God promises us that He’ll never leave us or forsake us, and with that kind of promise under our belt, we can get more intentional with our aspirations. We can start that business that we day dream about in our spare time. We can actually buy that plane ticket and travel alone. We can break up with unhealthy habits and relationships and brave the world on our own. We can relocate, begin ministries, donate to causes we believe in and walk down the isle towards husbands we never thought we'd fall in love with. Trusting in God does not result in immobility. Trusting Him creates powerful actions and mighty results!
We can live an abundant life full of adventures that are bigger than anything we could create on our own, because we’re not on our own. That’s the most thrilling part!
Listen, God is not a "Be careful. Don't break that. Sit still in that chair with your hands in your lap" kind of God. I have seen and heard from so many amazing women how God desires to birth and produce adventures with us and teach us some glorious lessons along the way. God's lavishing love over us, His promises and His plans are to create glorious living and freedom from fear and uncertainty.
So let's begin to live abundantly and gloriously. Fear has no place where our God resides and, through the love and blood of Jesus, God resides in you! You don’t have to be afraid. God will be with you in very endeavor, effort and opportunity. Take the steps you're afraid to take. You'll never be alone.
*For more information on my book, Beyond Being Good, please visit my book page here.