Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in this situation. It’s Christmas and you’re with your family. It comes time to exchange presents and you get one from that distant relative that you see maybe once a year. You know, that one who you’re pretty sure has 2 kids and lives somewhere in Nebraska, but you probably couldn’t pick her out of a line-up if your life depended on it. You start tearing the paper off the package with a genuine smile on your face, anxious to see what they’ve picked out just for you. You open the box and suddenly you’re using every muscle in your body to keep your smile painted on and not go bug-eyed. You pull out the gift, hold it up for all to see, and with what little will to live you have left, you muster up a “Thank you so much! I love it!” We’ve all been there!
And right now, this is where I’m at with the Lord! A few months ago, He started my little family on a journey that would take us through a roller coaster of emotions, and test our faith to the nth degree. It involves us leaving behind the place we’ve called home for 12 years and relocating to the Nashville area. With much excitement, we began making our plans. We got our house ready to sell and put it on the market, I began looking for new career possibilities, my husband began working out details to work remotely with his job, and then I took what I thought was going to be the final major faith step before He would release us to make our move. I quit my job. In case you missed that . . . I quit my job! MY JOB!!!
The job that has been a source of joy and purpose for me for 12 years. The job that allowed me to tap into all of my different giftings. The job that had been tailor made just for me. I quit it. I gave them a date and everything, just knowing that things with the sale of our house were going to go quickly and we’d need to be freed up from anything tying us down here in Texas in time for that. Fast forward to right now. I’ve transitioned to life unemployed and our house has been sitting on the market for almost 2 months, waiting for an offer. And only God knows how much longer we might sit here. Surely He realizes that we now only have 1 income, right? Surely he knows that what tiny bit of savings we do have will deplete in record time if something doesn’t happen soon. Surely He understands that there really aren’t any other steps of faith we can take to show Him that we’re serious about being willing to make this move. So what is He waiting for?
I’ve had a number of sweet friends tell me to try and see this next phase in the journey, whether it’s long or short, as a gift – a time to refresh, and enjoy some down time before things get crazy again. So that’s where I’m at. I’m sitting around the family circle, holding up this “gift” to the Heavens, and through gritted teeth saying “Thanks God! I’m not sure I really asked for this, and I’m still not completely convinced that I even want this, but thanks anyway!”
So what do we do when we find ourselves here? How do we fight the dialogues in our minds waging war?
My right brain is saying “Give in to it! Embrace it! Seize this opportunity to rest and refresh!” While my left brain is saying “You can’t afford to waste anymore time! You have to be responsible! You need to get this house sold yesterday and figure out how you’re going to pay your bills tomorrow!” All valid points! All reasonable arguments! So which one is right?
I began scouring the scriptures for something to cling to, and it turns out, I’m not the first person to be asked to step out in faith with very little guidance outside of the fact that God will be with me.
Noah, Abraham, Moses, Mary, and the list goes on. All of these people were given a task or journey but the steps were revealed on a need to know basis only. Each story unfolded differently, but one thing they all had in common was that they made the most of each day. Sometimes “making the most” lead to them taking steps that may have been outside of the intended path, but the Lord was always faithful and gracious to get them back on track.
This mental shift is what turned everything around for me. Instead of viewing this season of unknown as a source of crippling stress and anxiety (neither of which, by the way, are from the Lord), I need to make the most of each day. Some days it will look like exploring options outside of selling our house in order to move. Other days that will look like being still and spending time in solitude with Him. The next day might be filled with examining our spending and figuring out what needs to stay and what can go. I am certain there will be days where I get a little ahead of myself, but God, in His mercy, will steer me back. He knows our hearts and our intentions. He can tell when we are acting out of faith and when we are acting out of defiance.
And if my heart needed more proof, just this morning I felt lead to look for that popular verse that says “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights . . .” I couldn’t remember the reference so I searched it and do you know what I found? The address is James 1:17.
This scripture caps off that famous passage about trials and temptations. Coincidence? I’m inclined to think not. It’s almost like the Lord knew that when we enter seasons of trial, our hearts will lend themselves to being tempted to doubt and will need that sweet reminder that the transformation taking place in the process truly is a gift.
It’s these truths that are moving me to a place where I’m becoming more and more receptive to this “gift” rather than resisting it with every fiber of my being.
Have you ever had a “gift” season, or are you in one now? How did you manage? What did you learn? Please comment and join the discussion.