I turned the GPS off last week and I’ve been lost ever since. My failure to post on March 4th serves as evidence of this. Prior to that, I had never been so confident of God’s leading in my life. Never had I been so sure that I was finally headed in the right direction.
A few Sundays ago, my pastor called me up to the front of the church and prayed for me. After service, a sister stopped me and said that as she stood behind me while the pastor was praying, the Spirit told her to tell me, “Stop doubting what God told you to do. You’ll get yourself into trouble doing that”. Well, that’s exactly what I did. I allowed my inability to understand all that is taking place in this current season to cause me to doubt that I was hearing God’s voice at all. Then I took it a step further and began to question His existence entirely, ultimately coming to the conclusion that there is no God. While my stay in that mental space was brief, I am fighting to recover from the spiritual damage caused by my lack of belief and I write this post from a place within me that is desperate to find the way back to His voice.
Something I’ve learned about myself over the years is that if I’m driving to a place that I am only somewhat familiar with, it’s best that I avoid talking to certain people while driving there. While I am able to end some conversations relatively easily when necessary, others I cannot. I start off with my attention equally divided between the directions being provided by the GPS and the story being told by the person on the other end but moments later, having gotten waist-deep into the call, I become increasingly annoyed with the voice of the GPS talking over the voice I actually want to hear. In its attempt to re-route me, the GPS will begin talking more frequently – “Take the next exit…take the next exit…take the next exit” – until finally, I get sick of it and cut it off, certain that I can figure out where to go. It’s only after the conversation has ended and I have no idea where I am that I realize I missed my turn 11 miles ago.
How many times have we been so distracted by what we were doing or so certain of the plans that we have mapped out for ourselves that we talk over or downright ignore God’s voice when He tries to direct us? Remember, by turning on the GPS in the first place we are acknowledging that we don’t know how to get to our desired destination. God will often give us a vision of where we are headed but we only see the details of the journey as they unfold. Not having all of those details means we are to move forward even in the dark. Herein lies the true definition of walking by faith and not by sight.
Truth be told, I have gone through much of my adult life with the GPS turned off. This is the reason I was overjoyed when I finally found myself walking in His perfect will and, in an attempt to stay there, I have since began seeking Him at every turn. He’s given me a glimpse of where I am headed but I can’t seem to fathom why I have to go there and not somewhere else – somewhere that makes more sense. It isn’t a physical place but rather something He has let me know concerning His will but it bewilders me nevertheless.
Having grown up in the church, I’ve heard Proverbs 3:6 quoted so many times I can recite it standing upside down on a tin roof while unconscious.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths.”
Only within the last 5 days have I realized how difficult it can be to actually trust God with all your heart. This means trusting Him without reservation – nothing held back.
What does that actually look like, you ask? Complete, unwavering, absolute faith. The kind of faith that says, “God You’ve shown me where we’re going and though I have no idea how we will get there, I will yet follow Your lead.” It requires us to surrender everything we think we know and everything we think we understand about His plans for our lives and yield to them wholeheartedly. Not doing so is a sign that we only trust Him partially and partial trust isn’t trust at all.
We don’t have to navigate life on our own. Our Father desires to lead us in the way that we should go but when we act autonomously, He will not stop us. But thank heavens for His grace that causes us to come to ourselves. His grace that opens our eyes to our true condition, allowing us to see just how lost we are. Thank God for His love that seeks us out when we don’t have enough sense to seek Him first.
When we find that we’ve gotten off track, starting over can feel overwhelming but we must remember that we aren’t alone. We have a travel companion that has promised that He will never to leave us nor forsake us. The damage done while we were operating outside of His will won’t be magically undone but His grace will carry us through the rebuilding process.
I’d be lying if I said that the thought of relinquishing complete control of my future doesn’t make me a tad bit nervous. This is what Paul told the church at Philippi to do whenever they were overcome with anxiety:
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Phil. 4:6-7 MSG)
What I know from experience is that the real reason we talk over the God’s voice when He is speaking to us is because we’re afraid. Afraid of what He might tell us to do next. We talk over Him because He might tell us something we don’t want to hear. Or He might tell us something we do want to hear, causing us to doubt what we heard. What we must know, though, is that our Father has a vested interest in our success and well-being. Our lives are a testimony to unbelievers of His goodness, His grace and His love for His creation.
Psalm 37:23-24 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” What this means is that as long as we live in complete submission to Him, despite our failures, He will see to it that we arrive at the place He desires to take us to.
In hopes of finally laying our uncertainties to rest, I’d like to end this post with a prayer. One that will help us place complete trust in our Navigator, allowing us to progress forward in steadfast confidence.
“God, first and foremost we recognize Your deity and acknowledge that You are God. You are the Creator of the universe and the Author and Finisher of our faith. As we strive to live out Your purpose and plan that enables us to reach higher heights and deeper depths in You, we give You permission to create road blocks and dead ends on every road that You don’t intend for us to travel on. We surrender our will to Your will. We ask that you would block our path when we start to go the wrong way and redirect us if we already are. Father, please magnify our faith and reduce and silence our fears so that we won’t be hindered while trying to reach our expected end. In the name of Jesus we pray. Thank God. Amen.”