When Life Isn’t Clear And The Answer Is “No”.
When Things Don’t Go Your Way
This week has been hard on me. I have been praying very specifically for God to make a decision in my life clear to me and reveal to me His purpose and will for my life. Part of me actually believes that if He did I would be like, “Oh ok that sounds great, I’ll do it.” But the reality is, the reason I can’t be included in the plan is that I would try to manipulate God into doing it my way. My way is the best way for everyone – of course. Could someone just tell God that on my behalf?
So I asked for God to close the possibilities to anything that didn’t match His perfect will for my life. Submission is easy for me to give lipservice to, but hard to follow through when it’s time to do the work of letting someone else make the decisions. So I continued to pray the same prayer for several weeks. I got a crystal clear answer to one piece of the puzzle. The total opposite of what I had hoped for. I cried. It was that real. I’m not much of a crier but this one struck a chord. I cried out to God.
The emotion of everything just started building up in my heart and my mind. I feel lost. I am so homesick God. Here I am walking around in a fog of purposelessness. What do you want from me?
I am working on obedience always. It’s just not my nature. In the program, when you disobeyed there were consequences. Natual or otherwise. In life there are consequences. Natural or inflicted upon us by others in authority of us or in a position to influence our lives.
If only everything was as clear as the rules of the program. It created somewhat of a monster in me, I’m afraid. There was no gray. Now I expect there to be a rule for everything, and for everything to make sense. How disappointing. Even my regimented corporate and regulatory roles are full of uncomfortable gray.
Obedience for me means recognizing and accepting that God’s way is best, and having the faith to wait for Him to show me what it is. The only thing I can control is my attitude and response. I will continue to thank God for His favor and movement in my life. I will continue to pray and petition God for His direction and intervention. I will continue to believe that he is doing something big with my life that I just can’t see.
Now to Him who is able to immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. According to His power at work within us, to Him be the glory and the power forever amen.Ephesians 3:20 NIV
I asked and You answered. I cried out for you and you answered me.
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I.
I am learning so much about perspective and gratitude lately. So I am trying my very best to move forward with gratitude. I am thankful for the resolution. The clarity I have received will lead to an even better outcome than I had hoped for, I believe that with everything.
Moving forward is great when you are holding a compass pointing North. The arrow steady and sure, leading you down the path you seek. Unfortunately, my adventure feels more like when they spin you around the hit the pinata. Yes, I am very happy to open my eyes and see all the new goodies that resulted, despite my fear and confusion. But in the dark, when the room is spinning, and you have a sick feeling in your stomach that this was all a terrible idea, it doesn’t feel like everything is going to work out.
Regardless of what you can see in the moment or your current perspective – move forward with gratitude. I am so grateful for:
- Regular meals
- A job
- Living in a Free Country
- The ability to worship God
- Wealth beyond what most of the world will ever see (you have this to be grateful for also if you make more than $2/day)
- My Children and Family
The list goes on and on.
No matter what, I can focus on the blessings of today and continue to pray over the unknown future.
In His Perfect Timing
My sister sent me a text of the books that she is reading now that she is finally done with her year of hell (aka LPN school – trust me, it’s really that bad) and has time to read for pleasure. One especially caught my eye and it looked like a really interesting book. So I used my last Audible credit to buy it. It’s called Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.
This morning while I got ready to clean the bathrooms, I decided to start listening to it. Walking down the hall with the Clorox wipes, the words she said literally stopped me in my tracks. I could not breathe for a second and my eyes welled up with tears.
I started praying about what God wanted, what would move me closer to His agenda and further from mine? …With one goal, to create space for God’s Kingdom to breakthrough.”Jen Hatmaker, 7: An Experiemntal Mutiny Against Excess
She was just introducing the book concept (which wasn’t at all what I thought it would be) and she started to talk about why she was doing this. You can read more about that on her blog here: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Jen Hatmaker Blog. She sounds a lot like me. She describes herself as; stubborn, bullheaded, extreme, and a serious food lover.
The experiment was, she was going to fast for seven months, each month a different area of her life. Food, clothes, media, possessions, waste, spending, stress.
What Does Fasting Have To Do With Anything?
Fasting is a way to say, push me closer to your Kingdom and farther from mine.
Fast: “An intentional reduction, a deliberate abstinence to summon God’s movement in my life. A fast creates margin for God to move. Temporarily changing our routine of comfort jars us off high center. A fast is not something we necessarily offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves.”
Is there room in my life for God’s Kingdom? If I’m who I say I am, there should be plenty. But I’m so obsessed with having enough and being where I’m supposed to be and doing what I’m supposed to do. I haven’t even noticed the shrinking space I have alloted for the most important thing in my life.
Then she said a verse, and it was so profound and given from God to my heart at the most perfect time of total brokenness and defeat. It tore through me instantly and I sat on the edge of the tub stunned by how deeply the verse moved me. I laughed because I felt peace and purpose all at once. Understanding, relief, and reassurance – that my mourning was meant to bring me back to God. To tear my heart to bring me closer to His.
Tear Your Hearts and Not Your Clothes
Return to the Lord
12 Even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.Joel 2:12-13 NIV
It’s Time For Self-Reflection
I’m so ready to examine my life for excess and then distance myself from the lie of needing more and more. I am doing some self-evaluation and well as asking myself some questions about my current situation:
- What am I not seeing in my life that I need to see, and how can I see it?
- Which areas of my life are excessive and need attention?
- What do I need to do about it?
- Am I leaving room for God’s agenda?
- What do I need to do to move closer to His agenda and farther from mine?
- Is there space for God’s Kindom to shine through all my junk?
In the Bible, fasting was directed in the following situations; mourning, inquiring of God, repentance, preparation, crisis, and worship. In the book, she fasts for two reasons, repentance and preparation. But I am going to fast for every single one. I am going to bask in the brokenness.
I will post an update on how and what I will fast. Some food and some media, I’m sure of that, but what frequency and how long, I’m not sure. I’d love to hear your feedback and would appreciate the support of anyone who would want to join me. Thanks for reading. Love, Nena.
Great insights and encouragement, Nena! Trust and obey and Trust some more…
It’s a lifelong process and journey for all of us.
Thanks for sharing!❤️
I always enjoy your posts Nina. I am interested in joining you in fasting. I am leaving for Florida to stay with a friend this next week and I have a cousin retreat the second weekend in November. The we have the holiday. January might be a good for the food fast. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
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