Everything is about to change.
Two weeks ago, in the third post of my series on contentment, I wrote that I had another decision to make regarding my career.
Usually this is where I stress and panic, unsure of which direction God wants me to go and worried that He won’t clue me in.
This time I prayed about it with faith. I did my best to be confident that God would come through and guide me. But as each day passed without a word from heaven, my confidence slipped.
I realized this on Monday, after I read the story of David and Goliath in my morning devotions. David’s confidence in God really struck me. A whole army was quaking in fear, and David said, ‘What’s the problem guys? Impossible odds are nothing when God’s on our side!’ (Okay, that’s my paraphrase, but you get the gist. The whole story’s in 1 Samuel 17)
Then he grabbed a few pebbles and went to face the giant alone. Just him and God.
That’s what I call confidence.
So I prayed for confidence. I realized that if God was happy with either path, they must both lead to fulfilling his purposes. Neither would be a mistake. And I decided that if it was offered to me, I’d take this new opportunity.
On Tuesday, I did get an offer. I took it. Now I’m saying goodbye to my kids at the boarding school (which is very sad) and preparing to start a new job as a training content developer (which is exciting!).
Even though I believe God led me to this decision, after making it I’ve been attacked by fear. The change back to full-time work means I have to give up being a mentor at a local youth program, give up working with the boarding students at school and I won’t have as much time to write my books. It seems all the places where I thought God was using me are disappearing. And with them, so is my David-like confidence.
It all adds to an old fear I’ve had that God isn’t using me. This one goes back a few years, and stems from a general frustration that I can’t see much good happening in the world because of anything I do. My childhood church never grew. My youth group kids backslid. The first girl I mentored dropped out of the program and stopped talking to me. I often get frustrated that no matter what I do, my life seems completely ineffective.
Yes, some positive things have happened. I saw dozens of people convert on my mission trip to India. Some of those youth group kids stopped backsliding and turned to God again. But it feels like my list of positives should be longer than that.
I have a friend who gets used by God all the time. This person is a leader in the church, also runs effective independent ministries and always seems to be getting really specific instructions from God. No one would ever doubt that this person is getting used by God.
Why does that never happen to me?
While mulling this over, God’s revealed several possibilities.
- If God uses me in an obvious way, that doesn’t require much faith. It’s easy to have confidence when you can see everything going right. This situation could be designed to grow my faith.
- If this isn’t some type of faith-building exercise and God really isn’t using me, there are three other options:
- God doesn’t want to use me. For some reason He has decided that He will have plans for everyone else in the world, except me. (I’m starting to see how ridiculous my thoughts are.)
- I have some sin stopping God from using me. This could be a possibility. Have I been jealous of someone? Arrogant? Or is my sin just a big fat lack of faith? I’m going to pray that God will show me if there’s anything that needs changing, and that He keeps helping me with the faith thing.
- I am not obeying God, so He’s not using me. I don’t see anywhere in my life where this has happened (except for sometimes not obeying his command to have faith), but again, it can’t hurt to pray that God will show me if there is something that needs fixing.
The idea that God has decided I will be the only Christian left out of His plans is clearly a silly fear being thrown at me by the devil. But it’s one that’s been effective for a long time.
But let’s look at the truth. The truth is, God loves me and has included me in His plans. However, I don’t always see His plans or understand them. I can also be held back by sin, fear, faithlessness and disobedience.
So it looks like the answer’s pretty simple: Have faith that God’s plans will prevail, and that I am a part of them. Pray for help in clearing my heart of disbelief and sin. And then have some more faith while I keep moving forward!
What about you? Have you ever struggled with this issue? How did you deal with it?
Oh, and did you want to hear the end of last week’s story about the person breaking into my house?
Turned out, it was our housemate. We’d gotten home late, seen her bedroom door shut and car in the drive and assumed she was asleep. She had actually been picked up by friends and we’d locked her out.
Next time, she knows to call out loudly and let us know who it is!!!
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