As I started writing this, I was sitting on a deck in Florida overlooking the Indian River. There was a nice breeze blowing off the river as I watched the sun come up. Heaven right? So why was I feeling anxious? Where was my peace and joy in this beautiful setting? Let me explain.
We went to Florida to the town I grew up in on a scouting expedition of sorts to see if this may be the place we would want to retire. A lot has changed since I moved away many years ago and my husband had only been here a couple of times and never for more than a day or so. We like the idea of getting out of the cold and being closer to the ocean and our family that lives close to this area. We’ve been talking about it for quite a while and decided it was time for us to check it out. So you make ask, what’s the big deal? Why was I torn? I’ll be honest…..I don’t know.
Have you ever been there? Looking at your future and not being sure of what you should do? You see, I am a planner. I haven’t always been. When I was younger, I was very impulsive and due to that fact I made a lot of bad decisions. So now….I plan. And if I’m not careful, anxiety can creep in when I don’t have one.
That’s where I was. Torn and miserable. Anxious because I didn’t know what we should do. Stay in Tennessee or move to Florida. I wanted God to just make the choice crystal clear right then so I could start formulating a plan. But He didn’t and still hadn’t at the beginning of this post. For the first few days there, I kept going back and forth. Oh, I’d prayed about it, and prayed, and prayed….but still nothing.
Don’t we all do that sometimes? Want an immediate answer from God and get frustrated when we don’t get it. Why does He make us wait? I think it has to do with a little thing called TRUST. If He answered us immediately we wouldn’t have to trust Him. Our faith would never grow, we would never develop patience or self control, we would never know what it was like to be able to have joy while we wait or how to have peace during uncertain times. These are all traits that as Christians we need to develop in order to live as God wants us to. So therefore He has to make us wait sometimes.
So, this is where I found myself as I sat watching the sunrise. Here I was in a beautiful location yet I was miserable. As I sat there on the about the fourth day, God reminded me of Matt 6:25-34 where Jesus instructed us to not worry about what to eat, drink or wear and to not worry about tomorrow for today has enough trouble of it’s own. He also reminded me of Philippians 4:6-7 that says for us to be anxious about nothing but pray about everything and God will give us His peace. Well, I’d been doing that, right? So where was my peace? Then He gave me James 4:13-17 which speaks specifically about moving to another town. I thought I’d been including God in my plans…but had I really?
Have you ever heard someone say “Take your prayers, problems and worries to the cross and lay them at His feet”? Well, I was taking them to the cross and laying them down but the problem was, when I was finished praying, I’d pick them right back up again and carry them with me! I wasn’t leaving them with Jesus and trusting Him with the decision. I just kept picking them up and toting the load myself and wondering why it was so heavy a burden!
Finally, it was as if God had to tell me “I can’t do anything if you don’t leave it with me. Drop it here, leave it and go enjoy yourself. I’ve got this!” It took some repenting and some tears but I was finally able to do just that. And guess what…I had fun! I was able to have peace and joy about everything and just let God take control! AMAZING! Nothing in my circumstances has changed, but my attitude had. Don’t get me wrong, there were still decisions that needed to be made…but not right then. When the time was right, God would show me what HE wanted us to do. Until then I just needed to take it day by day, serving Him in what I knew He wanted me to do in that moment.
It’s so important during times like these to learn how to make plans but hold on to them loosely all while keeping an ear tuned to God, listening for him to speak to us. Setting goals and making plans are good and necessary but only if we are willing to adjust them to suit God’s will for our lives. We have to be willing change our plans if He directs us to go in a different direction.
Thankfully, He is patient with us and understands we are human, emotional and sometimes stubborn! To make it easier, let’s break it down in to a few steps we can take when setting goals and making plans.
1. PRAY FIRST!
Ask God what He wants you t do. If you have an idea yourself….tell Him. Include Him, ask Him what He thinks. Set goals but again, hold them loosely in case God wants you to change direction.
2. WAIT FOR AN ANSWER
Don’t stress about it! Trust that God will answer. Keep doing what He’s already told you to do and believe with all your heart that He will guide you in the right direction. I highly recommend you memorize Jeremigh 29:11 and know He has a plan for you and that His plans are ALWAYS best!
3. OBEY IMMEDIATELY
Act as soon as God tells you to! Don’t hesitate! It’s not being impulsive but obedient. Or if God says “No, I don’t want you to do that”, release it and let it go. Don’t hold on to your plan hoping God will change His mind.
We are now back home and we had a wonderful vacation! I was able to relax and really enjoy time with family and friends. Oh and by the way….God finally did answer….on our last day there! It looks like we’ll be staying in Tennessee!
I hope this will help you as you set goals and make plans for yourself and your family and will make your life a bit easier. When we make Him a part of everything we do, trust Him to know what’s best for us and obey what He says, we can be assured we are in the center of His will and that’s always the BEST place to be!
Please let me hear from you if this was helpful and you can always sign up to receive the latest posts! Until next time!