Tag Archives: God’s will

God’s Will and Shoe Shopping

Alas my foot finally rubbed a dime-size hole in the side of my favorite pair of flats. These were the shoes I wore proudly for five-plus years and got compliments every time. These were the shoes in which, though they were pricier than most I owned, I didn’t hesitate to invest. When I noticed holes wore through the inside of them last winter, I turned a blind eye because I loved them. Though they always came untied, I never hesitated to bend down and retie their bows. No shoe matched everything better than these shoes.

Now without my perfect flats, shoe shopping is more difficult than ever. No flat seems worthy of filling its empty slot on my shoe rack. I’ve searched high and low, and not one meets the high expectations I now have because of my perfect flats. And though shoe shopping is difficult, I only wish parts of my life were as easy as shoe shopping. If only I could walk into a husband store. A salesperson would slip my heart into a heart measuring device, pull up some possible matches on her register, and pull some of those candidates from the back room for me to try on. I could take them out of their boxes, turn them around in my hands, examine their quality, and try them on for size. I know, I know. There are things out there like that. For instance, online dating sites. Each of these advertises that they can find you a perfect match, but I’ve tried and they can’t. In fact, they match me with non-matches, saying things like “A what-if match!” I’m sorry, but if I’m looking for Nordstrom quality I’m not going to walk into Payless Shoe Source!

Before I knew God, I mean, really knew God, I would have settled for any Joe Blow off the street. I had never experienced the unconditional love of a perfect heavenly Father, but now that I have experienced it, it’s like my perfect flat. I know what real love feels like and its difference in quality to that of lust or a crush. Since man can never live up to God, of course I’m not searching for perfection. I have taken the time to pray and think through the qualities of God’s love and character that I most love and appreciate. Those qualities are what I hope to find in a husband. I’m looking for the perfect flat of a man. Someone who, just like my perfect flat, complements all my favorite things like faith, family, volunteering, trying new foods, hiking, etc. Now that I’ve experienced God’s love, nothing will ever compare. Fortunately God’s love won’t ever wear out as my perfect flat did, but perhaps there is a husband out there who mirrors some of my favorite God-qualities. And maybe there’s another shoe that can fill my perfect flat’s slot in my shoe rack, if only I wait just a little while longer.

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What are you Holding Onto?

Recently my pastors have given a message series on “Discovering Your Story”, teaching how to discern where we fit into to God’s story. The series has been both challenging and enlightening to me, and has brought some inspiration to my little dry spell the last few weeks. (Sorry for that.)

The last message in the series follows Moses in the book of Numbers as he struggles with the complaints of thousands of thirsty Israelites. It reminds me of the wife who spends well over an hour preparing a lovely dinner for her family only to receive complaints. Moses must have been thinking, as I sometimes do, “If I’m following God’s will then why am I stuck here with these people I don’t particularly like right now!” And yet, despite his anger and frustration, God still provides him a way out. How gracious!

God tells Moses to take his staff, speak to a rock and it will pour out water. Why did God ask Moses to take his staff, the staff that he used during the plagues of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and much more? Earlier in the story of Moses, in the book of Exodus, we even read that God had commanded Moses to strike a rock with his staff to pour out water. At first you might not think anything of him bringing his staff. You might think the staff was like a magic wand, that it needed to be present for miracles to happen. Perhaps Moses needed the staff because he was old and bent over. The Bible doesn’t say why he was told to take the staff if God didn’t want him to strike the rock this time, but my pastor’s message suggested that Moses and the Israelites needed the staff as a reminder of all the past miracles God had done through the staff just as we need to be reminded of all our past answered prayers.

As I pondered on Pastor Ed’s point about the importance of remembering God’s goodness, I realized that if we aren’t holding onto the promise of God’s goodness, we are holding onto something else. Sometimes we complain as the Israelites did. Sometimes we turn to money, substances, or material things to solve our problems. Sometimes we avoid our problems, and there are even times that we blame God. In all of these instances we have let go of our gratitude, our memory of God’s faithfulness, his past victories, and turn to something that can only provide a temporary solution. This is why it is important to hold onto the metaphoric staffs in our lives.

While holding onto these past promises, as Moses did, can help us follow God’s will for our situation, we still stumble from time to time. This is because God made us in His image, an image that very much experiences emotion. We see it in God’s Old Testament interactions with Moses and the Israelites. It seems Moses is constantly begging God to show mercy in his anger. Jesus also demonstrated emotion as he cries at the death of his friend Lazarus. We see it in Jesus’ anger at the vendors in the temple. We even see it in the creation story of Genesis as God thought his creation of man was “very good.” God would not deny us our emotions, just as he would not deny Moses his anger as he approaches the rock in the presence of disappointed Israelites. This is where Moses needed to practice the self-control talked about in the fruit of the spirit passage in Galatians 5. This is where he needed to take a moment and put aside those emotions in order to follow God’s will. Instead Moses lashes out in both words and actions and destroys his chance of ever entering the Promised Land.

Two of the lessons we can learn from Numbers 20:

  1. Take God’s goodness, answered prayers, and promises with you in all you do as a reminder of His faithfulness.
  2. Decisions should not be made by our emotions but God’s will. Practice self-control in all situations no matter how emotional.

How will you practice these lessons today, tomorrow, this week? We all have to make tough decisions in emotional situations. Most big decisions are emotional. Do you find yourself making life decisions based on your emotions?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I pray your will be done, not mine. I don’t have a way to see the big picture, but you do, so Lord, I give every decision little or big to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wise Words for my Future

Earlier this week a wise friend set me free with this statement, “You and God have a good thing going. I, too, feel there are some big changes coming up for you. Just know that not everyone in your life is going to respond positively to those changes, but if those changes are from God it is better to do His will than to please others.”

As the week progressed, I kept going back to that statement, feeling freer and freer to be who God has made me to be and to do what God has purposed me to do. I’m sure, if you have been reading my blog regularly, you have sensed my utter frustration at closed doors in my life. Part of my frustration is feeling that change is coming and not seeing the manifestation of that change. My thinking is, ‘If God has told me change is coming, why hasn’t it happened yet?’ I feel like the child in the back seat of the car screaming, “Are we there yet?!?”

The fact is we aren’t there yet because if we were it would mean running red lights, passing on double yellow, violating laws of physics. The same goes for life, sometimes if we rush to our destination, not only have we been reckless along the way, but we have also wished away our day, our week, our life to get to our final destination, death. I’m guessing that’s not truly what we want, and I’m guessing we probably don’t want the consequences of reckless living: broken hearts, stressful thoughts, and tired (possibly sick) bodies.

In the past week I have made a decision that affects every part of my life. As one friend explained, God knew that this would be a good foundation for change. When we set out to do a large project, we don’t try to develop the product right off the bat. We must first make a plan, from the ground up. If our project doesn’t have a strong foundation, it will fail. In the same way I feel God placing that foundation for further growth in other areas of my life.

This 34th year of my life has started off with a bang! I’m so excited (and yet terrified) about what God will do next. A change is coming God willing.