When the "Next Thing" Scares You to Death
In the last four years, our family has faced an inordinate amount of changes and transitions, including 3 overseas moves, and in the last year alone 3 career changes for my husband and I - one for him and two for me.
Much of my mental, spiritual, and emotional energy has been spent praying over the "next thing." When we were unable to return to Ireland, when we moved to Vienna, when we were unable to remain in Vienna, when we started our new jobs stateside, and when I was laid off at the beginning of the year our prayers and seeking all turned to what was next. The next steps, the next locations, the next trainings, all occupied my heart and mind almost to the exclusion of everything else.
At times, when God has revealed that ever-sought-after Next Step, it has been utterly terrifying - and yet exciting because there was no doubt God was leading in that way. It's funny how when you know God is the driving force behind a situation or change that terrifies you, peace underlies everything and anchors the heart and soul during the chaos of transition.
However, perhaps the most terrifying of circumstances is when you have no earthy idea what the next step is. You've prayed, you'd sought wise counsel, scoured the Word, and prayed some more. Yet the heavens seem eerily silent, as if to say you have the freedom to choose the next path.
For me, it's the freedom of choice that I find most paralyzing because I want to be sure the desires of my heart are in line with His, and that I'm seeking to make much of Him in all things rather than myself. In times of uncertainty, it can be difficult to distinguish between those.
In my desire to do my due diligence and explore the options laid before me, I tend to wind of clawing and scratching and fighting tooth-and-nail for guidance, certainty, or a stable solution that won't wind up costing us in painful ways in the future.
Recently, a friend of ours offered us a verse of encouragement, but it was in a translation we had never heard before. I'm sure many are familiar with Psalm 46:10, which reads, "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth."
The New American Standard, however, says, "Cease striving and know that I am God." Our friend said it literally means to drop your hands to your sides.
Doesn't that just give you a cleansing breath of fresh air?
Friends, we don't have to strive to claw out an option or force the hand of fate in our favor. We don't have to hustle our way into obedience.
Cease striving. If you know the next step and it scares the tar out of you and your fighting to keep your fear in check? Cease striving. Release that fear and let Him guide you one step at a time. If the path before you is veiled in the fog of uncertainty and the next step is hidden from view, so you're digging and desperately fighting for some light? Cease striving. Stop fighting. Find the freedom that lies in waiting fully upon Him, recognizing HIs goodness.
Then, dear friend, when He says move? Move! Take that step. Make that call. Fill out the application or submit that letter of resignation. But in the meantime? Cease striving, sweet sister. And rest in the knowledge that He is God and nothing you can do can undo His goodness or Hi love for you and your family.
Where do you fall on the scale today? Are you striving? Will you drop your hands and let Him work, even if you can't see his labors?
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