I’m a bottom line kind of person. So I will begin by telling you the secret:
“Do the last thing God told you – until the next thing God tells you.”
It sounds simple, maybe even easy, but don’t let that fool you! Keep reading or, if you’re like me, you might still spend countless hours agonizing because you (we) don’t know what God wants for us.
Thanks to Josh Earls’s sermon this Sunday, I know the secret (see the bottom line above).
Maybe you will see yourself in this: Up until I was about 32 years old, I wasn’t able to recognize God’s voice. Yes, I can look back now and recognize some of the ways the Spirit has led me. But if you had asked me back then, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate why I made a particular decision or how I “just knew” I was supposed to (fill in the blank).
Then, for the next 16 years, I’ve lived in the dash: God speaks; I note it; but eventually, I fall back into the way I had been living – until the next time God speaks. And the cycle continues…. This is what I call “living in the dash.”
I don’t know about you, but it’s not very often that God breaks into my regularly scheduled living. That means the dashes take up most of our lives. And if we aren’t careful about how we live during the dash, we will spend far too much of our time in misery; agonizing about what we are supposed to do or why we are experiencing something. Can you relate to that? For what feels like just a few moments, there is clarity. And peace. Then life happens and, before we know it, we feel lost again.
Tonight, I took out a planner. The next time I hear from the LORD, I will write it down. So maybe this planner will be almost empty. But the next time I feel lost, confused or adrift, I can look at the last thing God pointed me towards and get back to working on it as soon as I am able. This isn’t to minimize the real issues and struggles we must face. Instead, I believe that by continuing to do what God had called us to do, our feelings of loss, confusion and frustration will be tempered by the realization that we are not alone. There is meaning and a divine purpose for what we are facing right now. Especially when it doesn’t feel like it!!
Photo by: Austin Chan.