There is a whole world that revolves around organizing “stuff,” allowing us to manage our time. We have all seen or heard of the shows that help us de-junk and re-evaluate the things we have brought into our homes.
Yet as much as these people come up with ways to organize life, all of us are still striving in some way to make the most of what we have. It can be overwhelming. Especially as we get older, it seems the goal is to have more goals.
If I just had a better calendar, day-timer, filing cabinet, Blackberry, etc… or if my children would just… then things would go so much smoother.
But I have realized something regarding this subject. Those who look for things to help them be more productive would be just as productive with or without them. And those who think these things are going to make them more productive are usually fooling themselves. Maybe true, maybe not. The key might be the person and not actually the thing.
I have come to accept that there will always be more to do in a day than can possibly be accomplished. I also realize that there is a continual decision that is made on my part about what I will put my efforts toward. I have heard and read many suggestions about just saying no, about having goals that are reachable, and on and on. So I have found a rhythm, you might say, to the craziness of the world, and made it work for my life as I see God wanting me to work.
God has made His plan clear to us, but it is our choice how we allow Him to use our life. It becomes difficult when we do not see how His plan is working out for us. These are the times when we need to look at everything before us and realize what our work is. We need to remember that God is all-powerful. There will be struggles, but He has prepared us to handle these.
Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert, your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world (I Peter 5:6-9).
To have an attitude of humility prepares our hearts to be open to His plan. He understands our anxiety and takes this into account. To be of sober spirit would require us to not panic in life. Be calm, but also be aware that the devil is looking for any weakness and he will attempt to convince you that you cannot accomplish the task. We must be firm in our faith and know where our confidence lies.
So with this in mind, what then do we do when we find that God has placed something in our life that is in no way clear what His will is? These things can come completely out of the blue and unexpectedly. Not only is it unexpected, but there could be many options to choose from. The big question being: What does He want me to do with this? As always, we must look to His Word for guidance.
Recently the life of Gideon has been on my mind a great deal. We expect struggle, but what about the things that we could walk past, maybe expecting someone else to take care of?
Then Gideon said to him, “O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about saying ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” (Judges 6:13-16).
Have I not sent you? How often have you wanted to look around, waiting to see who else will take care of a situation? What if we feel there are a lot more people who are far more qualified than ourselves? God answers Gideon that so clearly, it stings. “He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” “But the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you and you shall defeat Midian as one man” (Judges 6:15-16). God is our success. So long as God is with us, we will succeed in His plan.
When we pray to God, we are to pray with confidence. Yet as our life falls out before us, we doubt what we should do. No, it is not always clear and sometimes we hesitate. But He has given us all that we need to do His will. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
He speaks to us and aches when we do not listen. “Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29).
He makes it clear to us what He expects.
So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. you shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess (Deuteronomy 5:32-33).
As Gideon continued to do as the Lord commanded, he still had doubt, he still had fears. Just as Gideon only knew as much of the plan as God chose to tell him, we have been given the same consideration. As much as we feel inadequate or maybe even as unmotivated as Jonah, God has a plan for our lives. We may think we know where He is leading us. But that can cause us to look away and not focus on where we are standing.
We are warned to stand firm in our faith. It is our choice to see the path that He lays before us or choose to look to what we desire. We are warned what happens when “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). Over and over God has shown us that He is the only way.
Acknowledge that God has placed something in your life, humble yourself, and realize your place as Gideon did, but then realize who God is and all that He has in His hands. Then keep your eyes focused on the Lord.
Acknowledge your fears and allow God to ease and comfort your heart. Praise Him for all the blessings He has given you and all those blessings you do not see. Then thank Him for placing these struggles in your life that at one time seemed to be more than you could bear.
By Julie Oehlert