No, I’m not talking about the redneck variety, although my husband has certainly earned a few in his lifetime. I’m talking about the spotlight from heaven that highlights life’s path. The shining beam that when accompanied by a chorale singing a harmonious “ahhhh” signals-this is God’s plan for me!
But, it’s just not that easy!
With all the choices we are faced with on daily basis, it sure would be helpful to have a celestial sign, signaling “Pick ME!.”
I generally don’t have too many problems following signs. Recipes and directions that list more than 3 steps generally do loose me. A simple sign though, will garner my respect. As a card carrying “rule follower”, I try to be very vigilant to do what is expected of me. However, I’m also impatient. I have been known to daydream and am not always the most observant. These quirks often lead to surprising moments and situations that could have been avoided! So it was this day, after a series of “oops”, I was exasperated at my inattention to detail!
Pulling into the car wash, not usually a challenge -but it can be if you are me. As I crept into the wash bay, I knew it was time to stop when my front left tire hit the metal pad. However, the sign ahead kept blinking “ENTER, ENTER”. Continuing to edge forward, I coached myself that certainly the sign would soon blink “STOP”.
Rather, it kept blinking. “ENTER ENTER ENTER”.
Inching ahead, until the back tire was now on the pad, the light finally changed colors and we now had a blinking “STOP”.
I reasoned to myself, “Oh, so this car wash wants my back tire on the metal pad thingy” (obviously I have no business in this type of car wash). I sat back and relaxed as the huge plastic fingers begin to move over the front, jiggle over the middle and then off the back of my van. They continued to jingle and jostle in my rear-view mirror never again touching my car.
The cherry on top? The manager telling me I made a mistake- ya think?
Then as I left, I sat through a light and the lady behind me laid into her horn-so embarrassing. Still red from my prior failings, the kids and I headed to the YMCA. Once inside I headed towards the restroom. Walking past the first bath room-”Girls”, I reasoned the next bathroom will be “Womens”. Without even looking- I turned in at the next pod, marched in and immediately came face to face with a young teen boy in a towel (thank goodness!). Immediately, I turned around and decided to hide for a bit and contemplated never, ever returning.
Obviously, I missed the signs. We all do sometimes. Looking back we can see that maybe we didn’t make the best decision. Maybe, we creep forward in life waiting for the brightly colored “STOP” or “ENTER” as we are faced with a dilemma. We may even reason with ourselves that our decision makes sense only to find we really messed up! Straining ourselves we look for a sign-what is the right answer? Adding to the pressure, as believers, we deliberate and ask God-what is His will for my life? We just don’t want to mess things up. We want to be where God wants us.
Moms have the great ability to instill certain phrases in our heads that we can never shake. Resonating often in my head are:
“Details matter, Chere.”
“In or out!!!”
“Buy it only if you love it”
Lastly, “God has a plan for you.”
That may be true, but as my mother’s encouragement rang in my ear into my adult years, depression began to set in. Choosing to be a stay at home mom, I wondered if I was fulfilling His plan. Should I be working more? Should I stop working all together? I began to obsess and then quickly became depressed, as there was no clear sign that I was where God wanted me. I must be failing Him and me! Bitterness found it’s way in as I wrestled with my current circumstances.
One of my favorite authors is Karl Haffner, author, pastor and master storyteller-I love his book Destiny. Who you are and what you’re here to do (order here). Pastor Haffner shares a story similar to mine and maybe yours. A student, unsure of the decisions he had made and the ones still ahead, he questioned God’s will for his life. Should he pursue ministry or something else. Karl wisely answered with this:
“We may be asking the wrong question, I always tell students that rather asking what is God’s will, rather think about asking “How can I know God.” No matter your job description, if you continually ask, “how can I know God?” and then pursue that passion, you can live in the center of his will. God will guide you to His work He has for you, and He will equip you to do it. No matter who signs your checks, God is wanting you to respond to a higher calling then what the world can offer-whether you are a preacher or printing press operator. Whatever you end up doing, glorify God in it. So long as we live in Jesus, connected to Him, we need not fret about the future.
Asking the right question was a new way of living and released me from much guilt, confusion and discontent. Since then, I have fell back on this truth many times.
Working from home as a business manager working medical claims is something I never envisioned. The thought of being a landlord (gak) never once occurred to me. Leading out in cradleroll (Sabbath school for the littles) is certainly not a passion of mine. I thought I would always be a nurse. Sometimes though, life takes you down a path you didn’t expect or even prepare for! Despite my expectations, finagling and future decisions-I know I am living out God’s plan when I seek to know Him. Funny thing is, when I focus on Him, peace is always quick to follow. When my heart and brain have called a truce- I make better decisions. It’s a win-win!
“ The restless search for the will of God is a sure sign that you are out of it! The will of God is not a mysterious set of sealed orders we search for and receive if we happen to hit on the right formula. Rather, the will of God is a relationship with Him in which He discloses His purpose, power, and plan for our lives-and in that order.”
Relax then! We can debate right versus left. We may miss the signs, but let’s make sure we don’t miss out on His presence! Any other way-is halfbaked!