I love a good checklist, don’t you? For groceries, to-do’s, the year ahead – it doesn’t matter. I function best with a plan and a list.
It wasn’t always this way. I used to fly by the seat of my pants more often, moving in whatever direction seemed best at the time. (Ah, carefree college days…) But now the unknown is more likely to stress me out. If, that is, I’m focused on my own goals and agenda.
That’s the interesting thing about following God…learning that he has his own agenda for you and being put in the place to choose God’s path or your own.
I’ve learned that there is a spectrum of Christians. There are Christians who love God, go to church, and are kind to others. They do their thing, go on their way, and love God in the process. And that’s okay – that’s where they are on their journey with God.
And then there are Christians who truly believe that God will guide their way if they let him. So they make as much of a plan as they can, but then sit back and let God guide their way.
Over the past ten years or so, I’d say I have morphed from the first type to the second. And let me just say what an adventure it’s been letting God lead.
Sometimes I’ve felt crazy. Sometimes others have thought I was crazy. You have to be willing to be thought of as crazy by others when you decide to let God pave your way. After all, you don’t have sound logic to back you up, aside from sheer trust in the Lord and his ways.
A man by the name of Noah comes to mind. He had the crazy-sounding faith to build an enormous ark in the middle of the desert, working day after day in the hot, dry sun as onlookers laughed at the seeming ridiculousness of the situation. All because God told him to, whether it made sense to him or not. (Check out Genesis chapters 6-9 for the whole story.) And it’s a good thing Noah was faithful, or else the entire population would have been wiped out.
Five years ago my family and I packed up and moved to Valparaiso, IN to help plant Rolling Hills Vineyard Church http://www.rollinghillsvineyard.org. What a great and challenging experience it was, though it did include a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. (Okay, not much blood…if any.)
It truly was an incredible experience! So when my husband, www.chipmattis.com , and I both felt God leading us to Bloomington, IN four years later, you can bet that many people we had grown to love in the church community we helped to build “disagreed” with our decision. It was tough.
But here’s the thing. It wasn’t our decision. It was a hundred percent God’s. In fact, I have a backlog of journal entries to demonstrate all the ways God was preparing us and those around us for our move to Bloomington, months before we were even in on his plan for us.
It’s clear as day to Chip and me that God was paving the way, but I’m sure there are still a few people from the church we left who think we’re crazy for moving “for no reason.” And that’s okay. Maybe someday they’ll understand. Regardless, we aren’t seeking man’s approval.
(Side note – sometimes it takes time for God’s reasons to unfold, but you can bet when he directs you that he has reasons even if he hasn’t unveiled them all to you.)
We followed God’s lead and moved to Bloomington a year and a half ago, and truthfully there have been plenty of difficulties and disappointments. But they pale in comparison to the overwhelming peace we have, knowing we’ve followed the Lord. We’re adjusting and adapting, slowly making friends and settling in. Good things take time, right?
God’s timing cannot be rushed, and as utterly frustrating and sometimes maddening as that fact is, it’s a truth that can’t be changed. BUT, we find rest for our souls remembering that he knows infinitely more than us and he loves us so much that he will always guide us down the best path if we’ll give him the trust and permission to do so.
God is a gentleman. He won’t force his ways on us, but he’s ready and waiting to lead us down the best path for us as soon as we give him the go-ahead.
And just because it’s the best path, it doesn’t mean it will be an easy path. We’re still human beings living in a fallen world, after all. But during the difficulties that will inevitably arise for all of us, we can move forward in life knowing that God’s will is being accomplished through us. And that’s a peace and confidence that is unrivaled by this world.
So I’ll stick with my check-list making ways…when it comes to groceries, Christmas lists, and other non-life altering decisions. But when it comes to the path of my family’s future? I’m giving God the pen and letting him make his own list for me.
My goal is to exercise ark-building sort of faith.
What about you? Is God calling you in a new direction? Is he asking you to change jobs, move, or reconsider the plans you made for your own life? I encourage you to listen. Seek his voice. Seek his word through the Bible. Seek wise counsel from Christians that you trust.
His perspective beats our limited view every time. Not only that, but he LOVES you more than you can even imagine. Which means he wants the best for you.
Following God is an adventure, for sure. And making the choice to follow God’s lead is something you will never, ever regret. Making the choice to disregard God’s lead…now that’s a life of regret in the making.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear from you – please share your thoughts in the comments below, and also let me know if you have an idea for a future blog topic you’d like to see me cover. While you’re at it, don’t forget to sign up with your email address so you can get future posts delivered directly to you!