What do you do when you don’t know what to do? When the plan you thought you had turns out not to really be the plan? When the mission changes and the once narrowed focus seems broad, unfamiliar and uncharted?
Honestly, the calling has always been so concrete in my head. Black and white – this is what God has gifted and called me to do. I could always picture it. It was always there. But, the further I get into following Jesus, the further I get away from the concrete plan I used to see so clearly. As my eyes adjust to focusing in on Him only, the rest sort of blurs in the distance.
It’s grey out here, grey and abstract and unknown and it keeps me on my toes. Like a child ducking behind a parent on an intimidating path through a crowded place, I find myself comforted by His shadow. Instead of having a lot of answers I am filled with questions. Do I go here? Say ‘yes’ there? Pivot a little to the right? March a little left?Dependent and discerning and discovering.
“As you do not know the path of the wind or how a baby is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the maker of all things.”
With all the unknown of the future my confidence is found only in the posture of my present. It’s not in figuring it out, crossing my t’s or dotting my I’s. It’s Jesus. When I don’t know the way, He becomes the way. And in case you don’t already know this for sure, He is the best way. Surrendered to Him, there is nothing this world can offer and also nothing it can take away. I’m tempted to look at so many things but with my eyes fixed on Him, He becomes everything. In the safety of His wings the angst inside my chest goes away because I don’t have to figure it all out.
I will work. I will reap. I will build. I will write. I will teach. I will lead. But I won’t figure it out because I am no longer interested in asking God to bless my carefully calculated plans. Why spend so much energy doing my own thing, hoping He takes notice? (He will notice by the way because He is a really good dad and that’s what really good dad’s do. They notice the work of their kids.) Instead of my plan and God’s blessing I long for God’s plan with His presence because His presence is the blessing.
The Father is always working. He’s always doing something, somewhere. Transforming, rebuilding, restoring, renewing, rebirthing. He’s a jack of all trades. And His heart is not to work independently. Though He could do it easier without us. His heart is to be with us, to build with us, work alongside us. Together as a team it stops becoming about the destination and it starts being about the process. It’s like yard work with your kids. There are so many added complications to handing your eight year old a shovel and putting them in the dirt. Unless you are grasp the bigger picture you won’t for a minute be able to enjoy the process.
There’s a lot of new things in my life right now and a lot of old things that aren’t there anymore. The new life all around me is evidence of God’s grace and redemption. In Christ nothing dies in vain. However the plug gets pulled, our redemption leaves God with all the glory. The pain of the past made it hard to visualize the promise of the future. But we are beginning to see His promises more fully now. We are feeling them, gleaning them and preparing for the overflow.
Today is evidence of the good in surrender. Letting go feels like death, but in Jesus death is the beginning of new life.
I’m tempted to think I need a plan in place for what to do. I’m not, not working, but I’m also not profusely planning. Instead I have a relationship ahead protecting and purposing me for the next phase of His new thing. Instead of trusting more in what I know, I’m trusting more in who I know. When I had a newborn with her first ear infection, I didn’t crack open my, “What to Expect, When You’re Expecting,” book of answers. I called my mom. Over the phone she helped me navigate the unknown of new life. The next morning there she was, standing at my back door with breakfast. She called off work to come and be with Dave and me so we could get some sleep. Because this wasn’t new to her my relationship with her was a necessity for finding my footing.
Relationship is everything. When we don’t know where we’re going or how we are going to get there or what exactly we will be doing along the way, we find strength by being present in the relationships surrounding us. Jesus is relationship. He’s about being present – fully present and from the posture of presence, He accomplishes more than those producing endlessly around Him.
What happens when ministry and calling and the Kingdom become more about the posture of being present rather than the posture of pushing forward? This morning I had breakfast with one of my favorite people. We met to check in about ministry things unfolding in our discipleship groups at Anthem House (our church plant.) We ate, laughed, talked and pressed into what Jesus might have in mind for her group moving forward, but then we lingered. Being together was filling and in our lingering we accidently discovered what the Father was doing. Through an unplanned conversation- a road we hadn’t met with the intention of going down- we found a common theme in our marriages and the Lord broke through with revelation. It was funny because as soon as we realized it we laughed and thanked the Father for His agenda and our transformation!
In the drivenness of the past, we might have missed it, but in the present stillness of community and covenant relationships the work of the doing takes a back seat to the presence of the being and with that the Lord easily breaks through. I just happen to believe He accomplished more in those unplanned moments than all the previous moments before.
This is where we learn to become comfortable in the uncomfortable. The wind blows wherever it wants. We cannot see it. We only see the effects of it. To work wholeheartedly unto the Lord, to work hard, but to follow the Spirit harder. Changing with the wind is not easy, but it’s what He does. It’s how he leads and it is perhaps one of His greatest invitations. Can we follow Him over our plan? Can we posture ourselves under the shadow of His wings and not be lured out by the temptations of the world? Can we work will all our might on the things in front of us, but trust with all we have that when they are not there anymore it’s not necessarily because He has stopped working, but might be because He has moved on?
I’m not all that confident in what I am doing but I am overly confident in who I am doing it with and partnered with Him the insecurities of the unknown fade away and the presence of the known takes over.