In the summer of 2011 I came back to Alabama for a month-long visit. It was then that I began to feel a weight in my chest, a pulling of sorts. God was calling me away from Wisconsin and back to Alabama. I resisted this call for a while, rationalizing and making lists of reasons why it wasn’t practical. It didn’t make sense for me to move across the country and away from my family. It didn’t make sense to take a low-paying job and move in with almost complete strangers. I didn’t have a plan. I was out of my element with no one to rely on. But that weight just got heavier and heavier until I gave in. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I didn’t know if I was making the right decision.
I didn’t have a plan, but God did.
Three years later I can tell you that it was the right decision. I have grown as a person. I’ve had to learn how to be on my own, how to do things as an adult. But some days I don’t feel as if I’ve accomplished much of anything in these years. At the end of last year, I began to feel very unhappy with my position. My job was monotonous and I felt as though I wasn’t making a difference. I was making just enough money to pay the bills and saw no way to ever advance in life. How was I supposed to move out on my own if I never made any more money? I felt stagnant, like I was wasting my time. And also that I was running out of time… I began to feel pressure to make some decisions.
I was struggling with what to do. I was praying for direction but didn’t feel like my prayers were being answered. What was God’s will?
I took a second job, mostly out of fear of being in debt forever and never being able to “move up” in life. I quickly realized that working all the time is not God’s will for me. Not only did it exhaust my body and mind, but it took away from the only opportunities I have to be involved in church and ministry. The weight of being outside of God’s will kept growing and growing and inside me, until my heart was so heavy I couldn’t stand it anymore. I kept rationalizing:
There is nothing wrong with having two jobs. God doesn’t want me to be in debt. If I can just work really hard for a few years….
Those are all true statements. But I was feeding myself lies. The truth was that I was running away from what God wants me to do. I have been gifted with a testimony of healing and a song in my heart to sing. I am wasting Gods gifts by just sitting on them.
At a singles’ conference I attended last year, one of the pastors of my church said something so simple, yet so profound that really stuck with me:
“What if God’s will isn’t hidden?”
Think about that.
What if God’s will isn’t hidden?
And when I stop to think about it, I realize how silly it is of us to think that his will is hidden at all.
Why would God hide what he wants for our lives from us? God loves us. He does not take pleasure in watching us stress and worry. He says multiple times in scripture that we should not worry about tomorrow. He says to ask and it will be given to us, to seek and we will find. So where did we come up with this concept of God leaving us in the dark?
If God’s will isn’t hidden, then why don’t I know what He wants me to do? The pastor pointed out that if we are living out what we KNOW God wants us to do (things clearly commanded in the Bible) then we will never actually be out of the will of God. He used an analogy that made a lot of sense to me: “When walking through the woods, when is the only time you have to ask where the trail is? When you’ve ventured away from it!” I’m not sure where that analogy originated, but it makes a very good point.
When is the only time I need to ask what the will of God is?
When I’m not in it.
The world around us says we need to have a 5 year plan and begin implementing the steps toward a goals immediately or we are wasting our lives. I easily bought into these lies just like the rest of the world does. I’ve been buying into the world’s lies too often these days. I say I live in faith that God will provide and that I am holding out for his best, but my actions do not always add up with that. When I am walking daily in the known will of God, He will always reveal his so-called “hidden” will to me.
***All of the above was written as a draft in April. (So if it seems random and unfinished, that’s why.) A month later, God began to reveal His “hidden” will when I met David. I started to see how all of the pieces of my life that previously had made no sense, now suddenly fit together to make a beautiful work of art.
God is directing my steps. He does not hide Himself from me. Even when I feel lost, I need only look beside me to see that He is there. My life is no accident. Nothing that has happened was in vain, not even those days that felt wasted. Now I look ahead to what else God has in store for my life, to the exciting, fulfilling days and to the monotonous, seemingly meaningless days.
There is so much I still don’t know, so many steps I still have to walk in faith. But now I see my past through the lens of my future, and it gives me hope that all of my current unknowns are going to work out just fine.
2 Corinthians 4
” We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed…Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are
achieving for us an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”