Thursday, July 26, 2012

Where to?

This picture may appear odd and random at first glance , but it caught my attention nonetheless. I'll come back to the reason why in just a minute. See , I've been experiencing an intense season of decision making. The summer chaplaincy internship is quickly approaching its end and the next step has remained a mystery.

As the time of reckoning has come closer and closer I have become increasingly urgent in my prayers for guidance and the heavenly wisdom promised in James 1:5. Then I waited, and waited...and waited. I had sought to surrender my own will and preferences. Now I waited for a word from God. But what would it look like? How would I know it was Him and not the advice of frail humanity? I believed firmly God would make a way by opening a closing doors according to His will. What remained a mystery was how I was to recognize the opening and closing of these doors of opportunity. For a time there was only silence and a generalized unsettle feeling. There was nothing for me to do but wait.

During this time the Lord clearly led me to read Isaiah 50:10 again, reminding me to trust in the Lord and rely upon my God even when walking in darkness without seeing the next step. Eventually, at the proverbial "eleventh hour," the Lord fulfilled His promise and gave me the long sought after answer along with a profound peace. Even now, it is hard to explain how the answer came. It was a intricate and delicate balance of common sense, advice from friends/family, sense of sacred calling and inner peace. I had many positive, God-honoring options laid before me, but only one felt right. Do we base our lives and ministries off of feeling? No way! It would be like trying to make a roller-coaster car the foundation for a building. But the peace that God imparts goes beyond simple feeling, it is a state of the soul given by God that "surpasses all understanding".

The reason I like the picture is because of its various exits. A staircase up to a door in the wall seems to be the only exit. However, the mirror along that same wall shows a better exit to the room, complete with open doors. To me, this symbolizes the diverse ways the Lord leads in lifes. The choices that seem most obvious to us may not be what God has in mind. Commiting to follow God wherever He may lead sometimes feels scary, but ultimately its the adventure of a lifetime. It reminds me of the song

"God will make a way, where there seems to be no way,
He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me.
He will be my guide, hold me closly to His side.
With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way!"

photo source:


Laurel said...

I'm so thankful for God's leading! :) Miss you, Heather!

David Skau said...

I'm glad His leading has been clear! (And curious to know what it was!)

Family Recipes said...

Thankful. So very thankful.

Katie Roddy said...

So glad you have His peace within you.

Joel said...

That's inspiring, Heather.

I like that picture too. Allow me to spin my own parable out of it :) I frequently go to great lengths to head in the direction I think is right, even though I'm really just leaning up ladders against closed doors. If I would just pay closer attention to God's mirror, I would be able to see my path clearly. And sometimes, that path lies directly opposite where I think I should go!

I'm in a valley of decision as well, and one resource that has really been a blessing to me is the chapter in Education called Lifework. I'm sure you've read it, but just now it's hit me in new way. It's so incredibly relevant, so power-packed... Here's one of my favorite lines (numbers added): "To 1) do our best in the work that lies nearest, to 2) commit our ways to God, and to 3) watch for the indications of His providence--these are rules that ensure safe guidance in the choice of an occupation."

Heather said...

Joel: thank you for sharing the quote. What a wonderfully simple 3 step plan for times of decision making.