A Lesson In Leavin’

If you’re a 2000’s country fan like myself, you most likely started humming Jo Dee Messina’s hit. Rather than dive into the mushy details of this hit breakup song, I’d like to dive into the details of leaving God’s will – ouch.

Not too long ago, I received some of the wisest wisdom on God’s will. As a warning, this is a rough paraphrase of what I was told, but here it is all the same.

“God’s will is a lot like a highway with guardrails. If we travel along the lines, we will find that God keeps your path steady and clear. If you start to veer towards your own direction, you will grind up against the guardrails and experience the pain of disobedience.” 

And honestly, God is quite clear about this in His Word. For Matthew 7:14 says, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (ESV)

I don’t know about you, but I love to create my own twists and turns on this path of life. In fact, just over a year ago I created one of the sharpest u-turns in life that God undeniably used for His glory; but first came the pain.

I was selfish, sightless and restless for God’s plan with me at Warren. I had been in the role of Wellness Director for three years and then came the wonder. Was there something else?

As an enneagram 7, I have perfected the game of “What’s next”? I’m always looking for something to do or something to try. My feet love to run and my mind always follows. With minimal insight from God, I applied for a job at another wellness facility. When I got the call offering a job that seemed “perfect”, I thought, surely this is the Lord. Let’s roll with it. A mere two weeks later, I pushed ahead with a fresh start telling others this was what was next for me.

Over the next seven weeks, I endured a job and an environment that was clearly not made for me. I beat against the guardrails, haaaard. Yet, I would blindly come out the other side, cherry-picking scripture like it was meant for me in that season. Telling myself, just keep going. You’ve got this. You know what I mean, don’t you? The truth was, I was so set on having it myself, I forgot who was really in control. Who really had it.

After a series of extremely humbling events, I found myself stopped at a four way. Sitting in a seat across from an intimidating boss wanting to know what my outlook was for working there. I heard it. So. So. clearly.

Aren’t you tired of driving? Quit. 

Trust me. You may not know what tomorrow holds, but trust me. 

With crocodile tears in my eyes, I resigned from my role at what I thought was my dream job. I had no idea what was ahead, but I knew that I could finally let go of the reigns and hand them back over to God. I could go straight instead. I could breathe again.

That ripped off band-aid resulted in the clarity to God’s true plan for my life. I could see so clearly once I took off my rose-colored glasses. I saw the pain I had caused others. I saw the neglected gift I had left far behind. I saw the work family that had poured into me for years. I saw the disobedience. I saw myself for what I wanted instead of what God wanted – and it was ugly. u-g-l-y.

Approximately one year later, I found myself sitting in a chair from a leader whom I’ve respected for years. With tears in my eyes, I proclaimed the goodness and grace of God – a result of trusting in His plan.

Listen, I’m not here to debate free will vs. God’s plan. I’m just telling my story that God does have a clear plan for obedience, and if we fall outside that road, we will feel the repercussions. I’m grateful for this story. It taught me a whole new perspective on ministry and my heart for Warren, but it most certainly taught me about a lesson in leavin’.

And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. -Deuteronomy 28: 1-6 (ESV)

 

Pray with me this morning:

God, we are messy humans. We love to be in control, but we also know that your way is the best way. God, would you search me and know my thoughts. Would you put to rest any feelings of restlessness and remind me of your goodness. When I start to veer toward the guardrails, redirect my path. You are an almighty God who has written out my life – you are the best kind of author. Remind me of that, Jesus. Thank you for your grace when we go astray. Thank you for your forgiveness and for your love. You are everything we could ever need, Father. We love you, Amen. 

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