Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's next, what's now and the faithfulness of God

I've been writing a lot about what's next in my life. I wrote about it again here. My journals have had this one common theme for months: what's next? I don't know.

Over the weekend I got some very much-needed quiet time away from my family. I sat at Panera with my notebooks and my coffee and I journaled it all out, because sometimes that is the only way I can think clearly - with a notebook and a pen, pouring out my prayers in ink.

God was really faithful and He met me there. You might say I stumbled upon a link, but I'd say He led me to a website with some really good questions to ask when you're at a crossroads in your life. I wrote them down in my journal and have been pretty much talking about them ever since. This post about re-launching your life was really good too. I also really connected with post about setting goals that mean something more than just a to-do list. What are my goals right now? I don't know. 

I mentioned the other day that I listened to a live-stream of Joy Prouty's keynote address at ClickAway (I am so thankful that I was able to listen to it for free!) I spent some time searching through the archives on Joy's blog to find this post. Here is my favorite quote (the emphasis is mine):

for the last few years, we have felt so tied down by the high cost of living, never having any money in savings, working so hard and never being able to enjoy the downtime because we are so tired and, just simply, being sick of always feeling overwhelmed and busy.

I really connect with that. It feels like that is where we are at, we are just getting by. We are just making it paycheck to paycheck, weekend to frustrating, boring weekend. This is not the life that either of us particularly wants it is just the life we have stumbled into. But what changes do I feel like we need to make? What exactly is causing me to feel like this? I don't know. 

Here is another quote from Joy Prouty's blog post:
we are making a choice to stop putting off our happy life and we are going to jump right in.

I feel like God is loading the bases and here I wait on the edge of my seat, asking God - when are you going to move? When are things going to change? Where are these changes going to take us? What do you want me to do to help things along? When I ask these questions all I hear is crickets:  I don't know.

I read this verse on Monday and it was so comforting:

1Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it. Psalm 129:1-6 (ESV)

So much of my struggle, when faced with a decision, is the fear of getting it wrong. Knowing that God hems me in, and remembering how He has done that for me in the past, is a huge comfort to me. It reminds me that God is a God who opens doors and closes them. He gives and takes away. Sometimes this is terribly frustrating. When door after door slams in your face and you just want to scream at Heaven, yeah, that is definitely not easy. But when I look back at how God has hemmed me in I am overcome with thankfulness. He has kept me on a good path.

God has also been reminding me that He is God. I am not the one calling the shots - demanding to know the plan. He is God and He really really values faith. Believing Him when I can't see what happens next. Believing Him when I can't see how this is going to turn out. Believing Him that this is going to be good. Even though I don't know how or when.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 (MSG)

I feel like God is reminding me to do what is in front of me. To live this life that I have right now with all of my heart. Not with one eye to the future, not worrying about what is next, but being faithful with the life I have now. He is reminding me that when I am asking these questions about life I am in a position to listen. Maybe the answers and the direction isn't coming as quickly or as easily as I'd like it to, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I just need to keep asking, keep seeking and keep listening.

Today on Instagram I came across this:

In order to go deeper, sometimes we have to get comfortable in the very uncomfortable places. We have to make our home in the dark corners and ask the questions we don’t want to ask. This area of transition is where deep calls out to deep; the cracking open of our hearts at the foot of the cross. It is where we scream, and yell, and face the loneliness head on. But, it is also where we find redemption, and the map of freedom road. (By Mandy Reid via Mind Full Collective)

As I went through today I found myself singing this song (I don't want to be a flame, I want to be a raging fire. Tired of my will, my way, Your calling's higher... I want to be moved!!) it is my heart-cry in this season.

In another song she sings "you can't find the answers till you learn to question... you're insecure and it clouds your perception. so stop and listen and learn I'll listen and love without condition."

So yeah, I've basically been listening to Ginny Owens a lot this morning - when I got to this song, the one I posted below, I felt like it was the perfect one for the end of this post. The perfect spot to end all the questions and to lay down everything - the anger, the angst, the uncertainty, the questions and just sit in surrender.

and since I'm here I'm listening to this too (Be Thou My Vision - performed by Ginny Owens, who is blind. Beautiful.)

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