This week a friend encouraged me that in a time of prayer for our family she felt like God gave her the word “digital journaling”. She believed God wanted to encourage us to be willing to be raw and open about what He is doing in and through us.
I received that word and am here to say that God is working, helping me to identify areas that need to be more closely focused on His face and asking me to set aside some good things for His best things. Conceptually it sounds amazing and holy and pure and right. In reality, it’s not so easy.
OBEDIENCE OVER UNDERSTANDING
Recently our family attended The Send in Orlando, Florida. Perhaps I will write in more detail about the event itself in the future, but for the purpose of today’s topic, I’ll hone in on a specific aspect that was encouraged by one of the speakers—an invitation to enter into a 40 day fast.
As I prayerfully reflected on what might be the best thing for me to fast from, the answer that rose up in my heart was a little unexpected: fast from social media and step back from building my health coaching business. Immediately, I recognized the time that this could free up for focused prayer and study in God’s word as well as pouring more into those closest to me. However, the subsequent wave of thoughts has required more soul searching.
If I step away from my business for 40 days:
-I’ll lose traction and my consistent investment of time will crumble.
-The women I work with may feel abandoned.
-What will be left when I return?
I admit that through the lens of traditional business thinking, this is not a wise move. However, I’m willing to be a fool for Christ. Either I’ve heard Him correctly or I’ve misunderstood His voice. Regardless, I believe that He will stay true to His character of asking for obedience rather than understanding and rewarding faithful fumbles over logical defiance.
I also return to the fact that I began coaching because of a desire that I believe that God kindled: to encourage women and be willing to share my heart in the process. In reflecting on this truth, I am reminded that if God led me into something, He must continue to be my guide.
SEEKING GOD’S PROVISION
Several weeks ago my daughter and I began reading through the Bible together. We’ve made it through Genesis where repeated stories of self-glorifying decisions provide endless conversation opportunities (i.e. incest, rape, circumcision, murder, polygamy, deception, betrayal, etc.) and hard to pronounce names (i.e. Zillah, Tubal-Cain, and Naamah).
It was through our study in the book of Exodus that God showed me something new. When the Israelites were finally able to leave the clutches of their Egyptian masters, they did so in God’s timing and by following His leading. They brought with them great plunder for God had “given them favor in the sight of the Egyptians so that they let them have what they asked.” (Exodus 12:36)
As they journeyed into the wilderness, they brought these treasures. Later, Moses met with the Lord on the top of Mt. Sinai to receive instructions for the building of the tabernacle. God’s next steps for His people would require the use of the gold that He recently provided through the Egyptians. I love that he preplanned His blessing to equip His people to fulfill their future needs! However, rather than waiting for God’s direction and leading and instead of seeking God’s vision for their provision, the Israelites chose direct defiance and used the gold to create their own vision in the form of a golden calf. What a tragic misuse of their gift!
It’s somewhat laughable to observe their error from the objective pages of Scripture. Yet, an honest evaluation will reveal that it is embarrassingly easy to duplicate this same error in our own lives. How often are we gifted money, talent, time, resources, loved ones, ideas, or plans only to turn them into an idol of our own design rather than earnestly seeking God’s vision for His giftings?
The Israelites were too quick to act, too sure of their next step, too certain that Moses was dead and they needed to step in with a solution. Instead of waiting to be led by God, they ran ahead with their own plans. Instead of seeking direction, they sought their own desires.
This I believe is at the heart of God’s desire for me to slow down and pull back. It’s a time to meet on the mountain and inquire of His heart. A time to intercede for His people and seek forgiveness for wrongdoing. A time to realign my heart with His desires until self-sufficiency is replaced with deeper dependence. In short, to set aside some good things for His best things.
Can you relate? Have you observed the misuse of God’s gifts? If by chance you feel called to “meet on the mountain” and realign your heart. If so, let me pray over you: “Lord, you are greater than we can understand. Please draw us close to you. We want to love you more. We want our desires to be aligned with your best for us. Help us in our weakness. Give us insight into how to best use the amazing gifts that you have put into our lives to best serve you and those you love. You are so, so good.“