I can’t explain how angry I have been at various occasions in my life when a meticulously planned course changed at the last minute. Obviously by the hand of God – because I don’t think that my OCD would have let any other “hand” get in there.
The topic of “life choices” has always been paradoxical to me. It is most certainly the thing I have yielded the most to God. I have often prayed about it, and yet it is still the thing I am most stubborn about. Ha! What a life!
I know I hear the voice of God, and I know that I’d be willing to shove anything aside to follow what He says, and that I have done that countless times. However, when people or circumstances come in the way, I’ve sometimes really battled to exude the patience a “good Christian life” required. I have often been left wondering why, if this is the route that God has set me on, he wouldn’t just let me go straight.
Listen, I’ve been a “believer” for so long, and have come so far, but I still battle every now and then. Just the other day, I was skyping with a good friend, and like we normally do, we were reading scripture that we felt that God was highlighting to us at the time, crying about how awesome the passages are, and then laughing at ourselves for crying. My friend kept dwelling on the first chapter of the book of James, and she is going through a season that could easily make any normal person depressed.
Here’s what it says:
“Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them; your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line – mature, complete and wanting nothing.
If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant you all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking.
The key is that your request be anchored by your single-minded commitments to God. Those who depend only on their own judgment are like those who are lost on the seas, carried away by any wave or picked up by any wind. Those adrift on their own wisdom shouldn’t assume the Lord will rescue them or bring them anything. The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your compass and leaves you dizzy and confused.”
(James 1:2-8, The Voice)
The footnote for that verse in my Bible was even more awesome:
- Wisdom, as James understands it, is the ability to live life well and make good decisions. Wisdom doesn’t come from old age or hard knocks. Wisdom begins with knowing and depending absolutely on God, who is never stingy when it comes to wisdom for those who seek it. He supplies all the wisdom we need when we ask. But when we try and go it alone – without God – trouble is around the corner.
This may sound weird, but I figure that the reason that I get so stressed out about plans changing, is because I pray and ask God for direction, deduce what I feel that He is saying from that prayer and then assume that what I see right in front of me is the “how I’m going to get there.” I think that’s what the Bible would call the “splinter of divided loyalty” that shatters one’s compass and leaves them dizzy and confused.
Over-thinking. Relying on self. Whata-whata. All of that insanely complicated jazz.
In his book Island, Aldous Huxley says:
“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly.
Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.
I was so preposterously serious in those days…
Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me…
to throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk lightly. Lightly my darling…”
In my opinion walking lightly is to give the yoke that we so often choose to bear, to Christ, and to take up his – which we know (because he told us in Matthew 11:30) is light!
How awesome are these two points by Charles Finney (Christ’s Yoke Is Easy):
- Christ’s yoke is easy because it is love’s yoke. It is good will universally to us. Every requirement is imposed upon us for our own good, and the highest good of the great family of which we are members (oh! Rid us of our selfishness!). Christ’s will is never arbitrary, never capricious, never selfish, requires nothing of us at any time without the strictest reference to our own higher good!
- His yoke is easy because he never prohibits anything, and never imposes upon us any restraint except for our own good, or for the good of the race to which we belong (oh my gosh, please read through Philippians 2:1-13). If at any time he restrains us, or deprives us of anything that we would like, it is love’s restraint. He sees that it would be injurious to the world, and consequently dishonourable to him; therefore enlightened love compels him to restrain us (or sometimes make the journey bumpy and include detours!).
Dosed with a whole lot of love!
“But whatever I used to count as my greatest accomplishments, I’ve written them off as a loss because of the Anointed One. And more so, I now realize that all I gained and thought was important was nothing but yesterday’s garbage compared to knowing the Anointed Jesus my Lord. For Him I have thrown everything aside – it’s nothing but a pile of waste – so that I may gain Him. When it counts, I want to be found belonging to Him, not clinging to my own righteousness based on the law, but actively relying on the faithfulness of the Anointed One. This is true righteousness, supplied by God, acquired by faith. I want to know Him inside and out! I want to experience the power of His resurrection and join in His suffering, shaped by his death, so that I may arrive safely at the resurrection from the dead! I’m not there yet, nor have I become perfect; but I am changing on to gain anything and everything the Anointed One, Jesus has in store for me – and nothing will stand in my way because He has grabbed me and won’t let go…”
(Philippians 3:7-11, The Voice)
I guess once you wrap your head around that being the reason for everything that we go through in life, you almost want to ask God to get on with it, quickly!
If you feel like you identify with what I’m saying, but find yourself at odds with this “God” that I’ve been talking about, I’d like to encourage you to please click on the banner below or the popup for more information!