Have you ever felt like you were being pushed onto a new path, but you didn’t know what the next step would be? An unexpected event comes along and changes your situation, and you have to learn to adapt quickly. For many of us the pandemic has changed all aspects of our lives, from the way we work to entertaining friends and family. A few years ago, my life changed and I had to take my hands off the wheel and walk by faith not knowing what each day would bring. I went from having a grand plan to having to take each day as it comes; no great plan to ponder, and I felt like I was blundering around in the dark. I can remember thinking “how am I going to continue to be creative with all this mess around me?” and I feared that the days of making music, art and writing were over. I had to reaffirm my commitment to journey with God in whatever season I found myself in, and that started with trusting that he would guide me step by step.
One of the first things I had to let go of was planning. I literally had to abandon it, because no matter what I planned, it wouldn’t happen. At first this was frustrating, and I began to think that I had done something wrong, that maybe I had made a mistake and was missing what God had said. It took me some time to work out that walking step by step each day wasn’t a bad thing, but that it would bring me greater freedom as I trusted God for his guidance and provision. This wasn’t punishment, it was a time to travel a new path so I could learn new skills; in one sense it was promotion as I graduated to a new season. I soon found that by giving into the new flow of life and going with it, God brought several opportunities to me that would never have normally crossed my path. The key was trusting that God would bring the right opportunities at the right time even though I couldn’t see further ahead with the plan.
With abandoning the planning, I also threw out the measuring and analysing of success that had drained my life and made it laborious. There was no immediate plan for me to set as the ideal and nothing for me to measure against. This felt daunting and at times I felt lost as there seemed to be no direction, yet I learnt to see the value of what God was asking me to do regardless of what anyone else thought. We get obsessed with planning, achieving and succeeding, and by doing this we miss so much of what God has for us. I learnt that success is doing what we he asks us to do.
In the process, I learnt a lot about God’s ways, and I discovered a whole new side to me; skills and characteristics that I didn’t know that I had. Through trusting for the daily steps, I was able to develop myself without the pressure; there was no more confinement. I found more of God and in turn, more of me. By daring to ask God what he wanted me to do, I could become the artist and person that he wanted me to be. Ironically in the wilderness period of my life, I have created and achieved far more than in previous seasons. By being open to the Spirit’s leading and being obedient, I thrived in the middle of a famine and wilderness.
When we look at the life of Joseph, we know that he had a vision of the far off future, however for thirteen years as a slave and a prisoner, he lived on a day by day basis. He could only see as far as his next task, meal or sleep, yet he trusted that each day would bring him to his divine destination. Strangely the day to day grind of the thirteen year period was a fast track training session in learning the Egyptian language and culture; Joseph also developed the character needed to work with Pharaoh.
The crux of what I’m saying here is that obedience brings blessing and enlargement in our lives. Obedience is never easy and involves a high degree of trust on our part. If we choose to obey, we can experience so much more than what God has for us. Often his choice involves an acceleration of experience and skills that we feel unequipped for, however this is his way of preparing us for greater things to come. If we want to be unique and reach our full potential, we need to dare to obey and step out into the unknown. It’s not so much that our faith is blind, more that we trust that God can see where he is taking us. Our dependence on God’s plan will lead us to his glorious vision for our lives.