When the Only Choice is to Look Up and Listen

About a year ago, I came home from The World Race and had absolutely no plan. 

I was confident home was where I needed to be and that the pieces would fall into place in due time. It was a huge matter of trust for me, so I came home obedient to the call. A year later, however, I never believed that I would find myself in the same kind of position. I was recently let go from my job and I’m on the unemployment line again with no solid plan in place. What would usually throw me for a tailspin has left me with an unexplainable peace of mind. 

The only tangible difference between this year and last year is my confidence in that peace and knowing that it’s actually going to be okay.

This staying season has made me realize that peace and contentment only come from God alone. Peace only overflows with confidence and love from the Father. Many people have spoken the words peace and joy over me for years and I’ve never quite gotten the peace part. Both joy and peace are postures, though, just like gratitude. 

Peace has never been a posture I actively choose to walk inside. Until now.

Despite my desire to be at peace in the past, I have nearly always been far from it. I can’t give you a solid time I have ever been at rest and wholly satisfied with where God would have me or want me when I am stateside. Last year, I felt insurmountable peace about going home sitting in Nicaragua. When I actually got home, I didn’t keep that posture and fell back into old habits of victim-mentality and hang ups I was sure had passed.

Fast forward a year, I’m in a solid community, but have been let go from the job that brought security to me financially for the past four months. I’m immediately reminded of the story in the Bible where the disciples are on the boat and the storm is brewing. Instead of being at rest they’re all “Jesus! Wake up! The storm! How can you possibly be resting right now?” And Jesus just wakes up, snaps His finger, and goes “why do you fear with such little faith?” The wind and waters quickly subside, leaving what I would imagine to be a blue sky and calm water surrounding them. 

Jesus has been working on this idea of fear, rest, and confidence with me in unrelenting ways since the night of my almost-arrest. He’s been bringing me to these points in my life where all I can do is look to Him and hope for the best, in full confidence that no matter how things turn out, His will still reigns above all and it is good.

Fear, confidence, and rest have this weird way of intertwining all together. Fear is the symptom. Confidence and Rest are results of the healing medicine of peace and trust in what Jesus is doing despite the chaotic circumstances all around. There is no reason that I should have any rest inside my spirit at this very moment. However, what I know inside the depths of my heart is that He is faithful to provide when I need it most. The only thing I know to do is keep stepping forward and taking leaps of faith in obedience. His comfort comes when I am stepping out in faith and confidence with what He has given me to use.

He has given me a voice, He has given me insight to see and know things I normally should not. He has given me wisdom to share with others on a scale that’s larger than I can see or fathom. He is taking me places and opening doors I don’t even know about yet. He has given me words to share and a spirit of joy that is infectious and changes atmospheres when I am operating in that joy completely. He has given me a blank canvas to paint upon and make messy in the most beautiful way. He has given me feet to step forward with and a willing heart that’s open to be taught and to teach. These are only a handful of things I know to be true about myself that I have begun to own and operate in recently on a small scale. I feel the scale being shattered though, and that is good, because right now, I have no limitations holding me back.

My church has been in a season of rest this summer. I have marinated over this idea, and since doing so, have begun to see how rest truly comes from a place of confidence in 1. Knowing who I am and who I am not, 2. Owning up to those things and not wishing for something different or comparing my life to other people’s highlight reels, and 3. Stepping out into situations where we can operate in how the Lord has designed us to come alive.

The world needs people who like serving coffee and tea. The world needs people who hop on the back of a garbage truck and pick up trash at the ends of driveways. The world needs people who flip burgers and serve other people in restaurants. The world needs office workers, home-sellers, and retail workers. The world needs dreamers who dare to make their dreams come true. The world needs missionaries, teachers, dancers, singers, priests, speakers, governmental leaders, and entertainers. Everything has its place and everyone operates in what God created them to do differently. The happiest people on earth are not the people who are the richest, but they are the people who are doing exactly what they have been designed to do confidently and without fear of what other people think about their given talent, situation, or how they are choosing to live.

Many people are going to try and tell us what’s right and wrong and how to go about living, but listening to other people’s voices is ultimately what landed me in a full-time job I thought I liked at first and held out for because the money was nice. I really believed it would get better. But what ended up really happening was detrimental to my spirit and landed me in an unhealthy medium of hostility, lack-of-grace, and deep misunderstanding. I let out a sigh of relief when I was finally let go a couple weeks after I had begun the process of looking into things that would be better for me anyway. 

I am at rest. The Lord is giving me a solid do-over, and this time I’m going to pursue the things that allow me to operate in joy and servanthood, living in the faith and confidence that He’s given me. He ultimately rules and His voice is the only one I want to hear among all the white noise. 

Do you know His voice? Are you operating in your gifts and talents? If you are, keep at it. If you aren’t, what changes need to be made so you can walk confidently in the areas He’s gifted you in? If you’re wondering if you really can hear is voice, take heed, we are His sheep. He is the shepherd. Sheep know their shepherd’s voice when they are lead astray and need to be guided back to the pasture. I am confident of this, because I know His voice and He has constantly been faithful to be the shepherd that guides me back home.

One thought on “When the Only Choice is to Look Up and Listen

  1. “But what ended up really happening was detrimental to my spirit and landed me in an unhealthy medium of hostility, lack-of-grace, and deep misunderstanding.” Among some of the good stuff too, that pretty much sums up my feelings about my job. I have this deep sense of relief now that it’s over. And even now I feel like I should be doing the unemployed thing in a way that other people will affirm. But really it’s between, God, my husband, and me at the end of the day. And even though I’m not sure I can do it, I’m going after the jobs that capture my imagination, because money is needed, but so is doing work that doesn’t drown my spirit day after day.

    Also you should check out the first chapter of this woman, Osheta Moore’s book I’m an early reader for at this link: http://shalomsistas.com
    Love you Ashley!

    Liked by 1 person

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