The blogging world is conspiring this morning – but whether it is for or against me I have yet to determine.
One of the devotional blogs I read today discussed how to give our anxiety to God, another discussed the idea of being a living sacrifice, yet a third opened with an image of crime scene tape and encouraged readers to get rid of overflowing problems before something worse could occur.
All of them are applicable in so many ways, but at this point my mind turns to one particular topic: the sabbatical and its continuation or its transformation.
After a year of finding very few opportunities to transition back to the working world, several have appeared like an old newspaper, on my doorstep – covered in day old trimmings and potato peels, but still showing opportunities that do exist.
And I am faced now, with questions:
- Why are these the available opportunities?
- If I accept these am I settling for less than I wanted, or does God want to teach me something? (Humility, a new perspective, an unseen connection to what I already enjoy?)
- Should I redirect those people who have been praying for me so that their prayers are more specific – or is that a rejection?
- Do I want to take the step backward that some of these seem to be – is it worth it to face again the stressors that I so flatly rejected when I began this journey – or am I just being intimidated by the memory of them instead of trusting God?
Some opportunities place me squarely back where I came from – which does not seem a good decision for so many reasons – the income is adequate, but I stayed there too long once before, trying to convince myself that I was stronger than the negative, make that toxic, atmosphere.
Others challenge my ideas about where I belong in my field. Really, God, that might be where you want me to be? (Said with crinkled nose as I pull a smelly potato peel away from the paper.)
Yet others provide opportunities to minister in ways that I could connect to as a woman, a mother, a writer, and a friend, that would allow some flexibility of scheduling, but that would not necessarily have the income level that I was looking for.
Others could provide income, and a modicum of flexibility, but it’s uncertain how much of either.
I can see all of them as beneficial in one way or another, and as detrimental in one way or another.
I know I need to ask more questions about some of these opportunities.
Honestly – I feel like Honi, a Jewish profit whose life is described in the book, The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson. I look at the opportunities, and see that they are sort of what I’ve asked for, but I have to say , “not for this kind of rain have I prayed.”
Honi prayed for rain during an extreme drought. He spoke those words when the drizzle came, when the nice shower came, and even when the downpour came. He continued praying for rain, and letting God know that he wasn’t accepting less than a deluge – and that not just of water, but of God’s own presence as it flooded the land and the hearts of the people.
Life’s circumstances often make it seem important to do something now. But we can forget that praying fervently is something – that crying out to God for his provision and blessing is something more – and drawing our circles in the parched earth demanding the certainty of God’s blessing is something entirely different.
So my bench is shaking today – mainly because I’m bouncing my feet with a nervous kind of tension and excitement. Can I be like Honi, or am just the little man in the old joke. The one where the floods come and he refuses human help three times because he is certain that God will help. When he drowns and gets to Heaven, he asks God why he didn’t come. God says, I sent a man in a rowboat, the coastguard, and a helicopter pilot – what more did you want?
I know that God will guide my decisions – and redirect them if necessary. So the biggest decision – is simply to continue to follow Him – no matter where He may lead.
God, I pray today, not only for an amazing solution, but for your presence, the wisdom that comes only from hearing your voice, and the peace that only you can give. You know who you created me to be, the lessons I have yet to learn, and the plans that you have for my life. Help me to see with your eyes today, God. Help me to know that you are with me, able to direct (and redirect) my steps as many times as it takes. Hold me close to you and help me to listen to your heart that is so full of love for your people. You heart that encompasses the world and everything in it, that knows every need great or small, and from which the promise is made in your word that you work all things together for the good of those who love you. God, you give us the love with which we can love you – our place under your wings is secure and warm. Your presence fills the throne room and we stand in awe of you. Thank you, Lord, thank you for your presence.