Doing the hard thing is never, hear me on this, it is never the easy thing. I know this from personal experience. Most recently I had to make a very, very hard decision. It cost me sleepless nights, lots of tears, distraction and a very reluctant step forward into what I believe God led me to do. It would have been easier to continue in what I had been doing for a long time. Because of my passion in this area, I had to wait for a “sign” on which direction to go. Sometimes, even in the things we love, the things we are committed to doing, the things we are called to do, we find ourselves in a place of having to step aside from that thing we love….maybe only for a time, but maybe forever. It’s not God’s sick joke of calling us, then snatching away that very thing he has called us to. It’s about obedience. Doing the hard thing, when we know it’s what we are supposed to do. For those 2 months I struggled, analyzed, and wavered, I was anxious and in turmoil over the right decision all the time. Then I told God to please let one of the people I trusted to say something that would be like a huge “ding” going off in my head when I heard it. And, so it happened, in an unexpected moment, over a casual lunch, someone I love spoke truth to me in a calm and loving manner. I remember staring at them at a loss for words. In that moment, I knew it was the sign I asked for, and clarity and peace filled my heart and mind. I was able to make the decision, clearly verbalize my thoughts and feelings to those involved, and step away in peace. Yes, my heart does still twinge when I think of how things will change. But now I am curious as to where God will lead me.
We humans are so fickle. We long for change or something new, then we struggle with everything in us when change occurs. We are distraught and afraid of what the change will bring in our lives. But once the change happens, we act like it was the best thing ever! I believe that God uses change in our lives, sometimes, to make us seek hard after Him, to learn about obedience, and to trust Him on another level.
So here I am. Finally at peace. No longer struggling. Curious as to what is next. Thankful He hears and sees me, and responds to me in all the details of my life. He has proven to me once again, He is faithful.
Walking with Christ is about obedience. It is about surrendering your own will and desiring the will of God for your life. It is about throwing off the old and putting on the new. It is about creating in me a clean heart. It is about doing the hard things, even when we don’t want to. It is about walking in the spirit and not walking in the flesh.
Yesterday I did something that I didn’t want to do. Something that I believe God was prompting me to do. I’ve chewed on it for a long time. It meant choosing to be obedient. Choosing to suck it up and do the right thing. Taking the step was difficult. First I had to play the conversation over and over in my head to formulate exactly the right words. Then I took a deep breath and made contact. Then I waited.
It didn’t turn out as I thought it would. In fact, it didn’t go any further than making contact. The other person didn’t want to engage. I retreated, a little confused with God. So for the rest of the day I pondered it over and over with the Lord and came to a final conclusion. It had been about obedience. That is all. I took a step toward obedience and did what I thought God was telling me I needed to do. The amazing part is this, I now feel free to move forward without continuous thoughts of needing to do the right thing. He just wanted me to be willing to do what was hard, and to actually take action toward doing that hard thing.
Not everyone would understand this situation. Not everyone has all the details. But that is okay. It is not about everyone. I am putting it to rest. I have done all I need to do in this situation and can move on.
God is good. He knows us so well. He knows exactly what we need. He knows what it will take for us to continue on in this journey with Him. Obedience. When I was thinking about this blog post I kept trying to remember a verse that I thought was about being obedient to Him. I searched and searched with the words I could remember. Then I found it…..and it wasn’t about obedience. It was about trust. I laughed because trust is the ongoing thing He has been teaching me for the last year and a half. Complete and unwavering trust. But I guess they go hand in hand. Trust and obedience really are the same thing!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Let us go to Dothan…” I read those five words again. Confirmation! I was twenty-eight and God was about to change the course of my life. During my quiet time that day, I had prayed for a confirmation of whether to take the job listed on our company’s job boards. When I read those five words, I knew God was telling me to take the job in Dothan, Alabama.
I interviewed over the phone with the Vice President and she hired me on the spot. Now I had to tell my family and friends that I was moving! This would be difficult, because I knew very little aboutDothanand I didn’t know one person in this small town! How could I make everyone understand that I had heard God clearly and regardless of how insane it seemed, I knew I had to make the move.
While my friends and family were skeptical, they supported me because they loved me. There were moments when I doubted the decision myself to move, but God was going before me working out the details. My grandparents lived in a small town forty-five minutes outside ofDothanand I decided to put most of my things in storage and live with them until I found a place to live in town.
The night before I left, many of my friends from church got together and had a surprise going away party for me. I could no longer hold back the tears and for a moment I thought of backing out of the move. But one of my dear friends put her arm around my shoulders and made a speech about my courage to follow what God was telling me to do, despite the uncertainty. I realized God was confirming that I was making the right choice and that He had a plan.
I drove alone to my new home, praying the entire three and half hours. I listened to worship music in an effort to dispel my anxiety. The first night was comforting and familiar as I spent time with my grandparents. They cooked a special meal and talked about times they had set out to follow God and the blessings that followed. I slept well, confident that I had heard God and was on the right path.
After one month of working at my new job and finding a church to attend, I met an elderly lady who lived alone. She was looking for someone to rent her spare bedroom and through a series of events I found myself sleeping in the home of someone I barely knew, in a town I knew very little about, asking God if I was still on the right track.
I wish I could say that I never wavered in my calling, but after three months and a severe case of homesickness, I decided to quit my job and head back home. I talked at length to my boss, and after praying together, she allowed me to give a month notice. I was relieved. Perhaps God had only wanted my obedience on this journey. I had learned to rest in Him through my isolation during the past few months and had focused on His Word and my quiet times with Him.
During those few months I made friends with a couple who were involved in the Student Ministry in the church I was attending. They had asked me over and over if they could introduce me to a friend of theirs who was single. At twenty-eight, I had experienced my share of blind dates and I was done with awkward and uncomfortable dates with men I knew nothing about. I politely refused their requests. But, their persistency wore me down and I finally agreed to a casual get together at their house. I firmly added stipulations to the meeting. If I changed my mind at the last minute, they would make excuses and not be angry with me and if I felt uncomfortable, I could leave at any time. They agreed and the time was set. I was thirty minutes late and the guys had left to pick up pizza when I arrived. This gave me time to relax a little and chat awhile. That evening went well as we ate pizza, played pool and watched a movie. My new friends were true to their word and invited several other singles to make the evening comfortable and relaxing. The friend they were set on introducing me to didn’t say much the entire evening and I assumed he was not impressed. I wasn’t upset, because I enjoyed the entire evening of fellowship and I knew I would be going home soon.
Two days later I received a call at work from the guy my friends had introduced to me. I was surprised by the call, but agreed to lunch. That lunch was followed by a long phone conversation that same evening, dessert the next evening and a date on Friday night. From that first date we were inseparable. It didn’t take long for us to realize we were in love.
I continued to move forward with my plans to move back home and my new love understood and agreed to drive on weekends to see me. We prayed about our relationship and asked God to show us what He wanted for us. Within a month of our first date, he proposed, I accepted and we were engaged!
I moved back home and began making wedding plans. My friends and family again were a little skeptical about my decision to marry someone I had known such a short time, but chose to support me. Five months later we married and this year we celebrate twenty years of marriage.
Many times God calls us to do something that isn’t comfortable or convenient. Sometimes His plan seems to make no sense. But when we choose obedience in the face of uncertainty, we can experience blessings that will be with us for a lifetime. I have no doubt that God ordained for me to move to Dothan some twenty odd years ago, even for a brief four months. He worked out the details every step along the way. I am thankful everyday that He is involved in every aspect of our lives, including getting us in the right place at the right time to meet Mr. Right!