God seems to be highlighting something I think of often and helping me apply it to different aspects of my life.
"A lot of the time, I don't know what I'm doing..."
That may sound like I'm lacking in confidence... but truthfully, it has been one of the most freeing admissions of FAITH that I have ever made. In an effort to explain, I may come across as foolish or naive. I will say that preceding every choice or action, there was a "nudge." I believe that with all these things, God nudged me into it. I think he uses where we are, including our naivety, to get us to where he wants us to go... For example:
When I was younger I bought a one way ticket to Alaska to try and get on a fishing boat. I got there with no money to my name, no experience as a fisherman, and no connections there whatsoever. All I knew was that I wanted to go to Alaska and see what I could learn. When I was dating my wife Jen, I didn't know what marriage was supposed to be like, I just knew I wanted to marry her. When we bought our house, we had no CLUE what we were getting ourselves into, haha...When we found out we were going to have our daughter, I didn't know how to take care of a kid, all I knew was that I was terrified and ecstatic all at the same time!
You get the point.
Most recently, being at the Palm House has caused me to think this a lot. There are new programs to be created, teams to be built for those programs, and construction projects to finish on the house. There are kids getting bullied, single moms not able to pay the bills, families houses burning down... There's all kinds of problems and tasks that I don't feel like I'm equipped to deal with or have the answers for.
The amazing thing about walking with God is that we don't have to know all the answers. We don't have to undersand everything. Truth be told, we CAN'T know what to do all the time.
But God does.
There are two verses that come to mind when thinking about this:
Romans 8:14: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
God wants us to rely on Him to lead us. He wants us to trust Him to show us the way. We don't have to worry about the outcome... we just have the priviledge of giving our thoughts and questions to Him and getting His peace in return! Along with that, it is so powerful attaching gratitude to our thoughts. Just that act alone changes our whole perspective! What if we truly felt thankful for the unknown, the difficult, the scary or overwhelming things, because of the assurance we have that God will guard us with his peace beyond our own understanding!
Now, I love starting my prayers or questions with, "Ok God, I don't know what I'm doing or getting myself into, and I really want you to show me what to do. You take the lead, and I will follow. Thank you for this opportunity to trust you. Please give me confidence and courage to move forward in whatever you lead me to do."
From that place, I can do everything in rest. I'm not burdened by trying to perform or create a certain outcome. I am simply myself walking with Him.
What has been consistent is this: It always turns out better than I could think or imagine.
Recently I felt like He wanted me to walk around the neighborhood. I didn't know why or what I would encounter, but I said yes, and started walking. I asked God to show me the way. A lot of the walk was quiet, and I just got to take in my surroundings and pray whenever something came to mind. After thirty minutes or so, I walked past a yard and saw several women talking and one of them was crying. There was a bunch of refurbished furniture for sale out front in the grass. I stopped and casually looked over the furniture. I felt like God wanted me to talk to the woman who was crying. I walked over to her and asked if she was ok. She said, "why, because I'm crying?"
"Well, yea," I said and smiled. She smiled back through tears and without hesitation just opened up... I listened, heard a few things from God, and then asked if I could pray with her... She said yes... so we prayed.
We finished and she gave me a hug and thanked me. She seemed lighter. I helped her move a piece of furniture outside, waved goodbye, and kept walking.
I didn't know where I was supposed to go or what I was supposed to do when I got there. God led me to this woman's yard when she was broken and discouraged and used me to speak life and hope into her circumstances. My prayer wasn't flashy and I may or may not see her again.