Getting ahead of God only makes more trouble in the end

Last Friday didn’t go the way I expected. And I mean, in a major way. I’d spent all day Wednesday and all day Thursday helping a friend get ready for a Seder Meal, and it was so much fun! But it was time consuming. But I knew I’d have all of Friday to catch up on work stuff.

I got home from the Seder Meal around 11pm, and I’d just gotten into bed and was almost asleep when a gust of wind hit the house so hard that I thought my bedroom windows would shatter.

I laid still for a moment, because usually with wind gusts, they die down a second after they hit. But this one didn’t. It kept blowing–and blowing–and blowing, and the windows were in danger of shaking apart in their sills. That’s when I realized it wasn’t going to stop.

So I jumped out of bed and scrambled down to the main floor of the house where my parents were also up, and that’s when we heard this massive crash outside. And then the power went out.

No big deal. Power outages are fairly common in the country, but it wasn’t how I’d planned to spend my sleeping hours on Thursday/Friday. When it became clear that the power wasn’t going to come back on, we settled back in to sleep. We got a few hours in, and when we climbed out of bed, the power was still off. When the sun was up, we tried to assess damage (which was minor), except for the machine shed across the drive that had lost its roof (it ended up in the yard).

We waited. And waited. And waited, and still the power didn’t come back on. Wichita had been hit severely too. Lots of folks had damage. Lots of folks were without power. But my grandparents in Wichita? They still had power. That meant they had running water and internet access. And I desperately needed to get some work done.

So by 2pm Friday afternoon, my folks and I decided to go into Wichita. It worked great. Went in. Got a little bit of work done. Got an okay night’s sleep, and we came back out to the farm Saturday morning. And guess what we found?

Yup. The power was back on! Hooray! It was great news! … and then we discovered that the power had come back on 3pm Friday. It had come back on an hour after we left.

Figures, right?

Shabbat candle at the 2015 Seder Meal, Andover, KS

Shabbat candle at the 2015 Seder Meal, Andover, KS

Today’s verse is Micah 7:7.

As for me, I look to the Lord for help.
I wait confidently for God to save me,
and my God will certainly hear me.

Too often I run ahead of God. I want what I want, and I won’t wait for Him to tell me what He wants me to do. I’ve followed the Lord long enough to know how He reacts to my stubborn heart. He lets me go my own way for a little while until I’ve worn myself out, and then He gently leads me back to where I started.

That’s how He does it sometimes. Other times, He smacks me on the back of the head, and I can almost hear Him say, “Really? Again?”

It’s not easy to take our plans to God. You have to stop what you’re doing and turn them over and then stand still while you wait for Him to show you what He wants you to do. Granted, sometimes you don’t have time to wait, and you have to make a decision immediately. It’s in those times you need to make sure your heart is in the right place and that you’re seeking God with everything you have.

But in the moments in life where you have a choice to make and you have time to think about it, it’s really tempting to just run ahead of God. It’s easy to base your decisions on what’s right for you instead of what God says is right.

It’s so much easier to just pack up and go into town where you can have an internet connection. But is it really easier? Or is it just busy work so you can feel like you’re accomplishing something? If we’d have stayed put, we would have had power without having to pack everything up and carry it into Wichita.

In the end, it probably cost us more money, and I know it cost us extra time and frustration and logistical issues. How many times has that same scenario played out in my life? I run into an unexpected obstacle, and I face a choice–to do what I want to do or to wait until God tells me.

It’s not easy to wait. Even if you’re actively waiting, you still feel like you’re not doing anything (that’s a lie, by the way).

Now, in this instance, I did get to visit with my grandparents, and that was great. But what about the next time I run into some inconvenience in my life? Will I remember to ask God what He wants me to do? Or will I just do what I want because it seems to be the easiest option at the time?

Think about it now. Decide where you’ll go for help now before you need it. And don’t be afraid to wait on God.

A wheat field before a storm at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Get excited but let God do His job

When I think I’ve figured God’s plan out, I get really excited about it. I’m not very good at concealing positive emotions. Any emotions, actually. Forget the sleeve. I wear my heart on my forehead.

And that’s good. I think God wants us to be excited about the things He’s doing in our lives. But there’s a difference between being excited and trying to take over.

A wheat field before a storm at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

A wheat field before a storm at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Proverbs 19:21.

You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

I probably shouldn’t post about this because it’s work-related, but it really made me think. So I’m going to anyway. My office got word a few weeks ago that we will be moving locations at the first of the year. We’ve been in a really iconic building in downtown Wichita for a number of years, and it was decided to move to a different downtown location with more space.

Everyone is really excited about it! Where we’re moving is a little newer too, and it’s a beautiful building.

Well, yesterday we got an email asking people not to go try to visit the new office location. Apparently some folks were so excited about moving that they tried to get into our new office space to look around. I’m guessing it’s folks who want to scope out the layout and lay a claim on where their desks will go. Or it could just be curiosity. I won’t deny I thought about trying to get in and look around. That’s why I laughed so hard about it, I think.

The email that went out made the comment that we don’t have the right to be in the new office space until after the first of the year due to safety issues and other considerations. And the first thing I thought of was how often can we say that same thing about God’s plans in our lives?

So many times, God reveals bits and pieces of His plan for us, and it’s really easy to get excited about it. After all, God’s plans are always exciting. But the more excited I get about what God is doing, the harder it is to keep my hands off.

I’m a control freak. I want to be in charge. I don’t like being in charge, but I stress less when I at least know what’s coming so I can prepare. But God doesn’t work like that. He wants us to remember that He’s the one in charge, and we have to trust Him. But does that stop me? Not usually.

Before I know what’s happening, I’m sneaking into a new office space that I haven’t got a right to be in, trying to stake a claim on an office area that I have no say about in the first place (no, I wasn’t one of the people who did it).

God knows all the ins and outs of His plan. He ought to. It’s His plan. And we get the opportunity to play a part in it, but that doesn’t mean we can grasp for control of it. And the more we try to control it, the more foolish we look.

I mean imagine how silly people would look wandering around that empty office space talking about which office is going to be theirs. They don’t know that for sure. At this point, we don’t even know what floor we’re on for sure. So any sort of declarations or planning is useless.

What has God revealed to you about His plan for your life? Is it exciting? Are you excited about it? Great! Hold on to that. Don’t lose it. Be excited! We don’t have enough true joy in our lives, and if Christ-followers actually got excited about what God is doing, maybe more people would understand how awesome God is.

But just because you’re excited doesn’t give you the right to try to take the reins from God. Believe me, you don’t want them. Trying to take the wheel when you don’t know where you’re going is just going to cause trouble and confusion and frustration, and that can only delay God’s plans for your life.

So stop interfering and let Him work. It’s tough, I know. But trust Him.  God is the only one who can handle the reins of your life, so leave the driving to Him.