I love knowing things ahead of time because I love to plan. I’m okay with nice surprises now and again, but mostly I just want to sort everything out and come up with the most efficient and amazing plan possible. If we are driving somewhere together and you are directing me, I don’t want to be told step by step—I want an overview before we begin driving and then to be told a couple steps at a time so I can be prepared.
Having four kids and being married to the wonderful man I chose has definitely helped me mellow out a bit when it comes to planning. At least with making firm plans—they have to remain constantly flexible. I’ve slowly begun to realize how little control I actually have, and it’s been quite a journey of surrender. However, I’m glad I’ve gotten better at surrender because it helps me live much more peacefully.
This weekend I helped a dear friend undertake a major organization project. Like entire-two-car-garage-filled-with-stuff major. I was excited about it—almost giddy with my planning. I like to help people in any way, but project management is like a super fun game to me. I recruited some willing helpers and we optimistically tried to tackle that garage on Saturday.
Holy cow did I underestimate the amount of stuff we needed to go through! We made huge progress on Saturday, but the project was far from tackled. More like firmly nudged. I went back over Sunday afternoon to do some more sorting. Two of her kids were there and all four of mine, so we got stuff done in between breaking up toddler fights and shoving food in kids’ mouths. It was nuts and by the time we left my boys were cranky!
The reason for all of this sorting and organizing is because of donations that Maiya has received for her NeedMeetersCLT ministry. When she first started, having a few garbage bags of clothes in her garage was no inconvenience. The donations came to her, and then she quickly turned them around to those in need. However, things are beginning to happen much more quickly and the garbage bag method isn’t quite working so well any more. Before she knew it her garage was packed with stuff, and how can you get that pair of size 10 shoes to the woman who needs them if you cannot even find the shoes amongst the piles?
I felt called to help her and so I listened to that calling. However, the reality of the calling isn’t glamorous and what it looks like keeps shifting. Because of my habit of surrendering expectations it’s okay, however, the part of me that likes to plan and control has to stifle some panic.
I’ve laughed quite a bit this weekend. Not at jokes, but at humanity in general. We pray God, show me your will for my life and Lord, I want to serve you. We pray these things before we undertake a task, waiting for the answers to be revealed before we move. However, it is my sincere opinion that God keeps things hidden from us because He knows we would run away terrified if we truly knew what He has planned! He knows that while our intentions may be good—we are weak and under-resourced. That’s a good place for us to be—because it means we have to rely on Him—but in certain moments we often forget about His strength in our weakness.
All He asks is that we take one step in faith at a time—we don’t need to know where we are going. It’s usually better that we don’t know because we mentally can’t handle it yet. Each step in obedience is preparation for the next step. We just have to start walking!
Coming from me, the “learning to let go” control freak, that should mean a lot. I had no clue what I was getting into when I listened to the whisper that I was supposed to help Maiya. I still don’t fully know what I’m in for. It’s okay though. I’m excited to be a part of something that is clearly being blessed.
I spent a lot of years not doing very much walking, and instead doing a whole lot of asking God for a bigger picture. Much more recently I’ve come to the conclusion that since life isn’t really about me, it’s also not really about me needing to understand everything before being obedient. I’m more confident in taking daily steps of faith because it’s become a habit and I’ve seen the blessings that come from it. And when things don’t go how I expected them to go—it’s okay. My obedience is my responsibility—the outcome is not.
What about you? Are you hesitating to do something that God has laid on your heart? Are you waiting for a bigger picture when you should really just be acting on the first step He’s revealed to you? The opportunity to obey doesn’t last forever, so perhaps it’s time that you set aside your fears and just start walking! God can accomplish His will with someone else, but wouldn’t you like to be a part of what He is doing?
If you aren’t sure what your first or next step is supposed to be then open up the Bible and begin reading. What are you convicted of? Start there and see where it takes you!
Just like my crazy afternoon with Maiya, your obedience may be messy and feel like chaos in the moment. But that doesn’t mean you are doing the wrong thing. Obedience isn’t always easy. It requires sacrifice. Obstacles are opportunities to prove to God that we are truly dedicated to doing what He has called us to do.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micah 6:8
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” – Isaiah 58:6-7