Spiritual maturity is not knowing what to do with your whole life, but just knowing what to do next.
As long as your heart is set on pilgrimage, don’t be afraid to tell your feet to just keep walking. It is easier for God to turn you when you are moving than when you freeze. Dare to take a step. Or in the words of Henrietta Mears, “It is difﬁcult to steer a parked car, so get moving.”
It is easy for me to say this with complete conﬁdence because I have experienced God’s faithfulness for nearly forty years. And yet I understand because I distinctly remember having this same struggle in my season of new beginnings.
I was fresh out of college, newly married, in a new city, with no job experience and no connections. I took a bookkeeping position in the accounting department in a church. I was diligent but utterly miserable. It was an incredibly tense atmosphere that tied my stomach in knots. Conversations were rare with all of us counting money, but when anyone did talk, it leaned toward gossip. As much as possible, I kept my head down and my mouth shut. But even so, I couldn’t avoid the slights about my past, my clothes, and even my marriage. After work, I’d run into our apartment, almost knocking John over when he tried to hug me, in a mad dash to use the bathroom.
Baffled, John would ask, “Why don’t you use the restrooms at work?”
“I can’t,” I would protest from behind the closed door. “If you walk out of the room, everyone talks bad about you.”
I’d learned the hard way that there was mean—and then there was church-lady mean. I wasn’t willing to take any more chances than I had to.
Finally, John had enough. “Lisa, you need to get another job. You hate it, and I doubt that bookkeeping is a lifelong career for you.”
At the time, John was working as an engineer, and the little bit of money that I earned was just buffer income.
But I was afraid to quit. I had lost my very ﬁrst job out of college. Fired straight out of the starting gate. I was afraid I’d disappoint God if I left a job that was in any way related to the ministry. Afraid of what the people at work might think and say. Afraid I wouldn’t be able to get another job and afraid I’d have to go back to waitressing. Afraid that I’d be a constant ﬁnancial drain on our marriage and never make any meaningful ﬁnancial contribution to our household. I was afraid to leave and afraid to stay. Afraid was my normal.
So many fears had me utterly frozen.
I could have just listened to John and quit. I could have pulled the submission card and hid behind John and announced with full conﬁdence, “My husband doesn’t want me working here anymore so I’m quitting.”
They might even have been impressed by how submissive I’d become. But it would not have been an honest or even an obedient approach. John would have served as a shield for me to hide behind. Ultimately, I, not John, would have to live with the consequences of my choices.
In pursuit of some direction, I set some time aside that weekend to pray and hear from God. I’ve learned that God has no problem speaking to us through the Scriptures, and I needed a promise to carry me forward whether I stayed or moved on to another position. Sitting cross-legged on our bed with my Bible in my lap, I closed my eyes and prayed. I began by spilling out everything: my fears, confusion, frustration, and inadequacies, and a prevailing sense of hopelessness.
I asked the Holy Spirit to lead me, quieted my soul, and listened. Almost immediately in my spirit, I distinctly heard both a Bible chapter and verse, but I pushed back. I was afraid to look up the verse because it was from an Old Testament weeping prophet that I avoided reading. I questioned myself. Was I making this up? Did this book in the Bible even have that many chapters? Trembling, I opened my Bible to check out how many chapters the book in question had. There were more than fifty. I took a deep breath and opened my Bible to the book of Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11, and this is what I found:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)
You probably knew what I was going to ﬁnd, but I did not. In that moment, these verses became a personal assurance that I was seen, my prayers were heard, and my fears were understood.
Our Father was saying then to me what I believe he is speaking now to you, “Baby girl, I have a plan. Don’t be afraid. It is a plan for good and not harm. This plan is not limited to you or your now. It’s bigger than a job. My plans extend to include your future and hopes you don’t even know how to put into words yet. I’ve got this.”
That’s all I had, but it was more than enough. God had spoken. What a relief. I didn’t have to figure everything out. And guess what? Neither do you. Hear me: the God you can’t miss hasn’t missed a thing.
He knows the pain. He knows the discouragement. He knows how you’ve failed. He knows how others have failed you. He knows the fears that have frozen you. He’s heard their whispers. He’s heard the plans they made for you.
But none of that matters. Their words are like dust that is blown away by the wind. It is the Word of the Lord that will prevail and endure forever.
He will blow their vain words away like chaff as he establishes his plan. He laughs at the treachery of the enemy and uses what was meant to stop you as obstacles that prepare you.
His plan will prosper your soul, bless the work of your hands, and cause the legacy of your life to thrive. There is laughter in your future. Dare to hope because God’s plan is so much greater.
Lisa Bevere appears this Monday and Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Godmothers by Lisa Bevere. Copyright ©2020 by Lisa Bevere. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Used by permission.