Wednesday, February 7, 2024

What You Are Doing

While we are holding onto and letting go of what God is doing in His plan for our lives, we cannot ignore that there is another movement in His purpose and plan - and that is what we are doing. 

I have often said that the only thing I am ever responsible for doing is the next faithful thing, whatever that is. And I believe that. And I believe that the next faithful thing doesn't always look like it's connected to the big thing. It doesn't always look like it's connected to the big vision. 

But it matters. 

God has a big plan for your life, but He has a lot of little plans, too. He has a lot of things He's putting together and working together. There are a few things going on here. Sometimes, He's preparing you for the bigger thing, the other thing. Sometimes, He's just blessing you. Sometimes, He's giving you opportunities. Sometimes, He's using your opportunities to help fulfill His promises in someone else's life. 

Whatever is going on, we can know for sure that it is good

And that's a little bit of the problem, too. 

Because what I've found in my life is that while I'm busy doing the next faithful thing and finding that it is good, I'm tempted to believe that maybe God has abandoned the vision He once gave me. Or that I was wrong in interpreting it. Or that I messed it up somehow. 

The next faithful thing, whatever I'm doing, can be so thoroughly good that I'm tempted to believe that maybe this is the real thing that God has for me, the fullness of what God has for me. And when that happens, I'm tempted to throw myself all in on that, invest everything I've got, abandon everything else, and pursue it wholeheartedly. 

But...what happened to the dream? 

It's funny to me, and one of the things that prompted my writing about this this week, how things just keep circling back and God won't let me forget. 

I am in a good season, a really good season. It is a blessed season full of peace and rest and joy and confident assurance. I am happy where I am, and I know that God's goodness permeates this entire place. It's nice to be able to breathe a little easier for the first time in a long time, just being in a good place. And I have been talking as though God has this for me - and in a sense, He does. This is exactly where God wants me to be right now, and He is making it good

Then, I was scrolling through social media the other day and saw an image that sparked in my heart a dream God gave me twenty years ago. A dream that, for many years, I threw myself wholeheartedly into but couldn't make work in my own timing and my own power. And you know what? God's still working on that. That's something He's still doing. The way that image tickled my heart, I know that's something He's still working on. 

That doesn't change the goodness of this season or the truth that this season is exactly what God has for me and where He wants me to be. I am doing the faithful thing, and it's what God desires of me. But even this faithful thing is not the whole thing, and I can't let myself lose sight of both. I have to figure out how to hold onto - and let go of - both. 

I was reflecting on some of the friends I made in seminary, and if you looked at our lives right now, you'd think it weird that just a few years ago, we were all seminarians, studying for the ministry, preparing ourselves to serve forever. And these are gifted men and women, absolutely gifted. But...a very small percentage of us are in "formal" ministry right now. A very, very small percentage of us are making our bread and butter in the Word. Does that mean the time, money, energy, etc. that we poured into seminary was a waste? 

Of course not. 

Because in our lives, there are two movements at work - what God is doing and what we are doing. Seminary is something we were doing to prepare for what God is doing, but so is the current faithful thing each one of us is doing. That's never a waste. 

In fact, it is good. 

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