Have you ever been confused as to whether it is your responsibility or God’s responsibility to make something happen? Man, I have definitely struggled with that. It’s like, okay, I know that He’s not going to drop what I want in my lap, and I’m supposed to use the giftings and abilities He’s given me in order to chase after it. Life involves hard work, and I have to work hard to get what I want.
But then sometimes it’s like, wait, life is not supposed to be about always hustling and grinding. Jesus never hustled or grinded. He just lived life as it came to Him, and followed His Father’s promptings, and wasn’t ever stressed about it. And He’s an amazing role model. And so I need to just chill and trust Him to bring it about if He wants it for my life – if He thinks I’m ready and can handle it, and if it’s part of His perfect plan for me.
On different days I feel different things as to what I should do with a current desire or goal. And for sure, sometimes I have gone my own way in an attempt to accomplish things I thought would greatly benefit me. Honestly, I just became fixated on the possible benefits, didn’t really check in with God about whether it was a good idea, and just moved forward with a full head of steam. Unfortunately, I was always disappointed (and annoyed) by the end result, and wished I hadn’t really spent my time and energy in that pursuit.
Sometimes I have gone my own way in an attempt to accomplish things I thought would greatly benefit me.
I also know that I have sometimes been really intentional – and even daring – about just waiting on God (like trusting Him for Rachel instead of fumbling through relationship after relationship, and waiting for Him to lift me up in my career instead of angling and scheming to make it happen). And that’s felt so wonderful and so right. Like, how it’s supposed to be.
And remembering that provides me with a much-needed (and much-welcomed) reminder: if it’s something that He has for me, I’m not going to miss out on it because I failed to take it and run with it quickly – as long as I’m doing life with Him day by day.
If it’s something that He has for me, I’m not going to miss out on it because I failed to take it and run with it quickly – as long as I’m doing life with Him day by day.
It seems like these decisions – and making the best choices with what to do and what to pursue – hinge on staying really close to Him. Recently, I was reading a story about the Israelites that hammered this home for me. They’re out there in the wilderness after having fled a life of hard labor and slavery, and trying to get to Canaan – the Promised Land. This was their ultimate objective – as it offered spaciousness, fertile land, and peace. I would imagine that they would want to get there as fast as possible. I definitely would. I would be like, “Let’s hurry up already, we’re burning daylight, the sooner we get there, the sooner life will be awesome!”
But that would have been unwise.
Specific to the story, God’s presence came as a pillar of cloud during the day (which went ahead of them as they marched onward) and a pillar of fire during the night (which illuminated their path and led the way). If the pillar stopped, they stopped and set up camp. And they stayed there – whether it was two days, a month, or a year, because His presence was there. This is just crazy to me. Two days, a month, or even a year in the same place, when we’ve got somewhere to get? I feel like I would be fuming internally, with thoughts like “WHAT IS THE HOLD UP?!! What is the point of just putzing around here, doing nothing!? We’re wasting so much time!!!!”
When the pillar lifted and started to move again, the entire camp got up and moved with it. Even if it was the middle of the night, they packed right up and hit the road again immediately. I would have been like, “What the pez! I’m trying to sleep, this is insanity, can’t we just go when everyone wakes up at a normal time?! Or, like, on Monday, the start of the workweek?!?!”
While the Israelites sometimes did rush ahead of God (and experienced the delay of their destiny as a consequence), in this case they were really intentional about staying close to the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire. They knew they needed to be wherever His presence was. Even though they had this gigantic, life-altering goal – to reach the destination of their Promised Land – they wanted to stay as close as possible to their Heavenly Father, their Provider and Protector. I’m sure they wanted to get to Canaan in a timely manner, but when God decided not to move, they didn’t move – for as long as He wanted. And when God decided to move, they moved – until He decided it was time to stop again.
This is so convicting. This is not my norm.
My norm is: 1) identify a goal 2) start working hard to achieve it 3) pray that God will bless my hard work to achieve it 4) achieve it as fast as possible, according to a schedule and timetable that suits me. My desire for efficiency, speed, productivity, achievement, self-sufficiency, and convenience, then, gets in the way of me staying close to God and following His leading.
My desire for efficiency, speed, productivity, achievement, self-sufficiency, and convenience, then, gets in the way of me staying close to God and following His leading.
And in doing this, I’ve accumulated a bunch of accomplishments and awards, but have missed out on what is way more important and fulfilling: the wonder of simply abiding in Him. In the safest and most secure place there is. Not rushing ahead, not falling behind, but perfectly positioned to receive His guidance, graciousness, wisdom and unconditional love. Knowing deep down that He’s got me and He’s got my future, and that I don’t have to worry or senselessly spend my life striving or doing everything on my own.
I can know deep down that He’s got me and He’s got my future, and that I don’t have to worry or senselessly spend my life striving or doing everything on my own.
What’s the point of trying to get somewhere without Him? Your efforts will inevitably fall short or ring hollow in some regrettable way. What’s the point of achieving something while missing out on the deepest, truest intimacy there ever was? You end up never satisfied, and always chasing a feeling that never actually lasts.
You know this from experience.
I do too.
Let us go at His pace, and let us stay as close to Him as possible. This is the sweet spot. This is where I always want to be found.