coffee with Jesus

Steps In Faith

I have been spending a good amount of time fretting over school and whether or not it’s the best choice for me and my family.  I desperately long to make the choice He wants me to make, be where He wants me to be, study what He wants me to study; or not.  My ultimate concern, in all of this to school or not to school, is that I not make myself too busy to be available for Him and the ways He wants to grow me this fall.

Here’s the thing I kind of forgot: my God is able.

Okay, I didn’t actually forget that God is the creator of the universe, above and beyond any human limitation, undeterred by the word impossible.  I didn’t forget that.  What I forgot was: it’s less about being where God wants me to be and more about doing what God wants me to do where I am.  It isn’t so much where I go that matters because He can use me anywhere.  I’ve been so focused on me making the right choice that I forgot to remember that He doesn’t expect me to always know the exact plans for my life.

God doesn’t expect you and I to make the right choices all of the time.  We can only see what we can see.  He put our human limitations in place, he’s certainly not going to condemn us for having them.  When I worry about making the right choice, I put myself in control.  I give myself the power to do well or not.  I bring myself to a place of authority, burdening my human shoulders with the weight of all consuming right vs. wrong.

What’s better than assuming I’ll ever always make the right choices?  Trusting God to deliver me in all situations.

See, when we take steps of faith in an effort to grow in our relationship with our Maker, He’s going to provide.  It’s not about what path is the right-est one.  It’s about what intentions are the purest ones.  Stepping forward with an open heart softened to the instruction of our Lord is much more important than where that step brings you. 

As Proverbs 16:3 reminds me:

“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.”

The Passion translation reads:

“Before you do anything, put your trust totally in God and not yourself.  Then every plan you make will succeed.”

I read this like an if/then math equation.  If you put your trust in God, then you will succeed.  I’ve italicized the points that brought it home for me.  Anything.  Not the right thing.  Not just the correct thing or best thing.  Anything.  Before you make any move, put your trust in God and not in your own ability to make the right move.  Trust God to deliver you, don’t trust you to deliver you.

Every plan will succeed.  Again, not just the one plan you’re trying to choose.  Every God honoring plan.  Will.  Succeed.  He doesn’t say probably will.  He doesn’t hint at might succeed.  He doesn’t say there is one and only one way to get you to a successful plan, and you must choose it.

He says every plan you make will succeed if you put your trust in God and not in yourself before you do anything.

That verse released me from so much unnecessary pressure to live a perfect life.  And thank the Lord, because me and perfect, we don’t mix very well.

Instead of trying to trust myself to make the right choice, I need only to trust God to turn any choice into the right choice.

A few verses later, Proverbs 16:9 drives it home:

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”

And the Passion translation:

“Within your heart you can make plans for your future, but the Lord chooses the steps you take to get there.”

Another sigh of relief.  Here’s the thing, we all have dreams.  And some of the better dreams are God ordained, planted there on purpose before we were even old enough to recognize them, because He saw what He had created in us and deemed how we could best glorify Him.

I have a dream to be an author.  God planted that dream.  I could barely write before I was creating stories and essays for fun.  Writing has always been my escape, my release, my awakening.  That’s not something I could cultivate without God’s say so.

You can water the earth all you want, but if there’s no seed, nothing will grow.

IMG_18211

So my dream, my future plan, is to write a book.  To be a published author, ministering through the written word.  And for a hot minute, that dream became my excuse to avoid school.  Who needs a degree when you have the talent?  And if that’s true, if the book God intends for me to write does not require any further knowledge in the area I am arranging to pursue (Psychology), then He will shut doors and alter my plans and redirect my steps.  #becauseProverbs16:9 

However, after godly counsel with a handful of women who have my permission to speak into my life, I am beginning to see that a book without more biblical knowledge would fall flat.  And the Christian perspective on Psychological behaviors is going to be incredibly useful in not just writing to, but reaching, women; touching the places of their hearts and minds that are closed off, barricaded out of fear and doubts, and inspiring them back into the lives that they were designed to live.

 So once again, as I scour the pages of the book of Proverbs for wisdom and direction, I settle upon 20:18, Passion translation:

“If you solicit good advice, your plans will succeed. Don’t charge into battle without wisdom, for wars are won by skillful strategy.”

The way I read this?  The promise I took from it?

Noel, you have done what you can do.  You have put God first, your heart is open to His teaching, you desire to know Him more fully.  You have sought the council of godly, honest women who know and love you, and they have all said it’s good.  Don’t attempt this book without the wisdom to back it up, because you are in a spiritual battle and you need the absolute truth of God to fight it.  The war we’re in today, the war for the attention and loyalties of men and women, the war to save souls, requires strategic, knowledgable planning.  First, God’s wisdom.  Then, war.

But this isn’t just a promise for me and my life.  My hope is not that you’ll read this and walk away knowing what I’m going to do, this fall.  My desire is for you to read this post and understand that God is speaking these words of life over each and every one of you who reads it.  The promise is not mine alone.  It is the living word of a living God who’s only expectation and want is for you to want more of Him in your life.  Just Him.  Only Him.

My aim in writing this is to link arms with all of my fellow Jesus freaks, and take bold steps in faith because of the sheer conviction we have that our God is able and He is good.

What decision are you wrestling with today?  Were these verses helpful?  

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