Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Show Me the Way

The computer desk is dusty. Papers from months ago are stacked and there are cobwebs hanging around the bookshelf above. I haven't sat down here in ages. I'm waiting for inspiration, for God to give me something to write. But I've not been waiting well. I believe there is such a thing as waiting well. Opening your heart, listening, looking for direction, these are actions that go with good waiting. That hasn't been my MO lately. Don't misunderstand, I haven't been running around. I've been here, but I have filled my head (and so my heart) with noise. I've busied my fingers with my phone and ipad, filled my ears with television and radio.

In a way, I've been daring God to show me how He wants to use me in this chapter of my life. I go through an ugly cycle of not wanting to hear, afraid He might want too much of me; feeling guilty about that; then wanting to hear; pleading; getting frustrated that answers don't come instantly, that there isn't a giant arrow pointing me the way; and even getting angry; and so, not wanting to hear. Back to the beginning.

Today, I don't know what is next. I feel a bit stuck, still wrestling with my dad's death. The sadness is hanging over me, and I know there is more sadness to come. Then I remember that verse in James 1, "when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." Ugh. How?! I can get hung up on the joy thing in verse 2, thinking I must somehow manufacture joy, be happy that I'm in a struggle. The key is in the next verse. It saves me. Verse 3 says, "For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow." Rather than focusing on making joy, I want to try to pay attention to growth. Growth brings joy.

Here we are, Spring is springing everywhere today in the Chicago area as we enjoy our third or fourth day of sunshine and temperatures above 60. It's glorious, and things that have been growing are actually blooming. I don't know that I'm quite blooming, but a lot of growth happened with my daffodils before they opened up this weekend. And there's more growth (and blooming!) still to come with the late Spring flowers. So perhaps I am growing, coming up out of the dirt, still fighting to get through the old leaves from last year.

In the past when I've asked God to show me what He wants me to do, or where He wants me to go, I've asked Him to open doors for me, show me the way. And He did, I remember His clear answers when I was trying to figure out where to go to college, when I was searching for jobs post-college, and when we were looking for a church family to join. The other day, I had a thought that while I'm waiting I should go ahead and take some small steps forward, in one direction or another, and ask God to close doors that are not where He wants to use me. This is not the same as sitting and waiting for Him to just lay a path before me. Maybe this is waiting well? I am actively moving now, asking for redirection, rather than expecting a wide open, well-marked, full-of-signage path. As it says in Proverbs: "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps."

I think I'll start by tidying up this desk.


Sheila said...

I get it, Julie. I really do. I read this article last week and it made sense to me. I think what I really took from it was to take a step. A step, but not necessarily alone... include others. They can help us clarify & join us in figuring it all out.

"when you sense god calling you to do something for the good of the world, you must take a step forward. don't sit waiting. {of course, unless god also asks this of you} but, if not, take a step, any old step will do -- call someone, write out your idea, make a plan. it's often in the steps forward that god provides -- more people, more resources, more clarity"
Thanks for sharing your heart.

Judy A Knox said...

I have heard this concept explained using the analogy of a boat. If the boat is just sitting in the water, moving the rudder won't do anything. Once the boat is moving, even a small adjustment of the rudder will change the direction of the boat. If we get moving, God will take the rudder and point us the way He wants us to go. Good luck with that desk!