Stepping Out Of The Boat
Stepping out. Taking a risk. Making a bold move. It all seems so exciting at the time. Until you throw your leg over the side of the boat and realize you aren't walking on water. Then it gets pretty dicey.
I knew someone who was handed a potentially life changing gift--a six-figure inheritance. Because they had an idea for their own business and hated their job, they "kinda, sorta, hoped" it was God's way of showing them to resign and launch their own thing. It was a hop, skip and a jump right over the side of the boat into deep dark water and they sank like a cement block. Eighteen months later--money gone and lots of trauma.
In the "World of Faith" it is important to guard against living in cities like Presumption, Feelings, Foolishness, Wrong Timing and Wishful Thinking.
Almost twenty years ago I came across a neighborhood that I felt God was giving the green light to move to. I was so enamored with it, I didn't stop to ask, "WHEN?" At that time, I couldn't swing it financially, but I would see the name of the community a couple of times a day, so I figured it had to be God, right?
Hearing What We Want To Hear
At the ladies' prayer meeting I belonged to I even mentioned it the following week. One dear sister came to me and said, "Don't limit God. Stay open to His leading. Don't lock yourself into one house or one place." If I'm being totally honest, I didn't want to hear that. The next Sunday during praise and worship in church, I heard this word in my spirit, "Anthem." I also heard the instruction to drive behind the grocery store I shopped at.
That afternoon I ventured behind the store--oh so briefly--and convinced myself nothing was there for me to see. I'm a natural-born explorer. Had I even driven one more block I would have seen a neighborhood called, "Anthem".
But I didn't want to see it. My mind was made up. I already thought I had heard from God and I didn't want any interference on my radar.
I threw my leg over the side of the boat and offered to rent a house in the neighborhood that I was sure God first showed me. The offer was rejected and the disappointment was intense. A few weeks later I saw an ad for another house...in Anthem. The deal was clinched in thirty minutes.
Six years later I didn't rent a house in the first location, the door swung open for me to buy it. At the time, it was a depressed housing market. But before the ink was dry on the contract the market bounced back and skyrocketed. It has been my home for almost ten years now. God meant for me to live there, but just not yet. There were things that needed to happen. There was a right time to do it. He was adjusting, shifting, making things advantageous for me--and it took time.
We can wrangle, twist and manipulate Scripture to say almost anything we want to hear. That is why when we believe God is leading us in big, life-altering, directional decisions--stuff involving lots of time, money, energy, emotion--we ought not "feel" rushed. God doesn't push. He leads.
No Pressured Decision-Making Here
I'm a morning person. So I don't even make big decisions after 2 p.m. I'm not at my best by then. By that time of the day I've probably expended lots of creative energy and I'd prefer to save the big stuff for first thing the next morning.
If I feel pressured into doing something or giving an answer--then the answer is "no". It will stay, no, until I've had time to pray, think and make my pro/con list if necessary. Don't laugh! I was once interviewed for a job by the owner of a company--an extremely hyper individual. I was offered the job immediately, but my peace gauges were spinning. So I made a pro/con list while I waited to see how God was going to lead me.
At that moment, the con's greatly outweighed the pro's. I turned it down. Many months later I sensed the leading to see if the job was still on the table. It was. THEN, I felt the green light from God and with that came the ability to handle the things that would go along with it.
Are you feeling pressured to make a decision? That can happen when life seems stagnant. We can experience that heebie-jeebie, I've got to do something feeling. It can make us hear things God isn't saying, it can cause us to flip our Bible open and randomly let our eyes fall on a verse and think that is the answer.
Faith Meets Common Sense
Here is what I've experienced: if God is calling me to step out of the boat, He will provide the plank for me to walk on. Sometimes people step out and then their basic needs are not even met. When we do not have basic needs taken care of--we cannot be creative, maintain a healthy self-esteem, or even feel safe. God does not call people to let go of the rope they are holding onto and not make the next rope available.
Many years ago I knew a single mom who was the associate pastor of a small church that could not pay her. She felt it was the right set-up because she could bring her young daughter to work with her and not have to pay childcare. She sincerely believed it was a God-thing. But her only income was a meager child support check once a month.
Her and her daughter suffered greatly--inadequate housing, unhealthy eating habits, unreliable car. The people in the church donated clothing to them. I personally witnessed her throw her briefcase across the church sanctuary one day out of frustration. All along she thought God was leading her to live this way. She was absolutely miserable!
Finally when her daughter started school, the extra expense was too much and she was forced to get a job. It changed her life. She was still able to fulfill her assignment at the church just fine, and their entire lifestyle improved.
I just wonder how many times we want things to be a certain way, in a certain time frame, with a certain group of people, so we talk ourselves into it. Then we attach God to our plan as nonchalantly as we would tag a friend in a Facebook post, thinking that validates our decision.
This has been on my heart for days. Just prior to writing this blog I opened a devotional by Joyce Meyer, "New Day, New You." Here is an excerpt from today's message:
"When we want something very strongly, we can easily convince ourselves that it is God's will for us to have it."
Is there something in your life today that you REALLY, REALLY WANT? Have you convinced yourself that God wants you to have it? Or have you convinced yourself that God wants you to have it NOW? The devotional went on to say that she has things she has been waiting for, for 15 years. Remember my house story? It took six years to get to my "promised land".
If you are living a life that is sub-par. Basic necessities unmet. Security threatened. Fearful. Making knee-jerk decisions.Take some time to worship God and offer Him control of your life once again. Ask Him to lead you out of whatever unpleasant waters you may have jumped into. He extended His hand to Peter and He will do the same for you!
Proverbs 14:27 TPT says, To worship God in wonder and awe opens a fountain of life within you, empowering you to escape death’s domain.