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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Okay...move or stay?

So many of us want to know with a certainty the steps we are taking toward a certain goal are "perfect" and "ordained" as the right steps to be taking. Without this overwhelming sense of assurance, we just don't want to move.  It is like the glue of uncertainty holds us fast in the exact spot we are in until we just finally either give up on ever moving off that spot or just find we no longer have the desire to move.  Uncertainty can have a paralyzing effect if we allow it - but it is 'us' who allow the uncertainty.  A lack of clarity is not from God, it is usually because there is some kind of conflict of emotions within us which give us this internal challenge to know when to move, how to move, where to move.  One thing I have learned is that if I don't take the chance, I may miss the opportunity.  Yes, I have been a little too eager on occasion, kind of paying a little bit of an "extra price" because my timing wasn't perfect, but I have never been sorry.  Some things didn't go as well as planned, or as smoothly as hoped, but even in the bumpy times, I have learned so much that I don't regret my decision to 'move' when I felt it was the right thing to do.

But there are some things that you cannot be sure of. You must take a chance. If you wait for perfect weather, you will never plant your seeds. If you are afraid that every cloud will bring rain, you will never harvest your crops. (Ecclesiastes 11:4 ERV)

On those occasions when I have held back, withdrawn from clear direction I had received, or just been plain too stubborn to move, I found I realized an unnecessary outcome - disappointment.  There are just somethings in this life we cannot be entirely certain about.  For example, when we need to merge into oncoming traffic on a busy intersection, we can wait until forever to find that moment in time when we think the coast is clear and we can successfully merge our car into the flow of oncoming traffic.  We don't know for certain no one will change lanes at the last minute, forgetting to turn on their blinker to notify you of their intent to do so.  We don't know fully what lies in our blind spot.  We often take a chance on just doing the best we can to mitigate the circumstances we 'can' control, and then we merge (make our move).  It isn't much different in many of the decisions we make in life everyday.  We take a chance, make our move, and plan for the best.  Sometimes we hit the mark, sometimes we don't. We have probably all had one of those close call experiences, but there is even something learned in the close call - not to do that again!

There are clearly times when God tells us to stay put - these need to be the times we don't question his wisdom, nor his timing.  We just need to stick it out like he has asked us to and see what comes next.  Have you ever noticed God often asks us to stay put in the times when we kind of feel like "we've got this one, God"?  It is probably why he has told us to stay put - because "we" don't need to be the ones "getting this one"!  He needs to be!  God knows we want to handle some things in life which are best left up to him to handle, but he cannot contradict our will - if we are going to do it in our own strength and know-how, then so be it.  If we are willing to wait for his direction, then we will be utmostly blessed!  The choice is often the hardest - walking the line between thinking we've got it covered and waiting for God to give us clearer direction.

There are equally as troubling times when we just don't know with any sense of certainty that a particular move is the right one for us.  I think this is how I feel almost any time I book a vacation somewhere these days.  I need to get away to refresh myself and be both a good worker in my job and a great caregiver to my elderly mom.  It is those times of respite which actually renew my energies to do both.  Yet, my mom is aging and her dependencies upon me are greater and greater as the end of her life draws closer.  When I finally do book the timeshare, make the travel plans, and then begin to anticipate the trip, there is a sense of excitement which builds.  Why?  These are times God has ordained for me to get this renewal.  They may not be easy to take, but they are oh so rewarding.

Whatever the "condition" of "decision" we may find ourselves in, we need to remember a couple of things.  First, God doesn't bring confusion - it is our own mind and heart which does that.  He isn't the author of confusion - it is often the outside influences, internal conflicts, and the like which give us the greatest sense of unease.  When we clear our minds and center our hearts, we often find we can get his clear direction.  Second, God doesn't want us outside of his timing for our lives, but he also doesn't resist our will and determination to do things our own way.  He will caution us (sometimes loudly), but he won't stand in the way of our stubbornness.  There is a lesson to be learned here - we can resist his warnings, but we will always pay some price when we do.  Lastly, to just not do anything is as big of a waste as doing something in our own strength. This is where faith is built.  When we take a step we know God wants us to take, even when we don't know all the ins and outs of how it will be accomplished, we are learning to lean hard into his arms and trust him with the "ordering" of those steps.  This may the best lesson we can learn!  Just sayin!