My mom spent hours helping me memorize Bible verses when I was a little girl. Praise God for it! That imprinted it on my heart; however, I pretty much understood very little of it. What seven-year-old can dissect the Shakespearean Bible lingo of the King James Version? Praise God, a friend, the Martin Luther of NIV, entered our lives years later and delivered us. (That was a joke. I believe God can use whatever translation to speak to the hearts of men: Russian, Spanish, Shakespearean English, etcetera, but it will reach your core when it is a translation in the language YOU speak daily.)
That was when my eyes were finally opened. I began to untangle these words written inside this leather cover. It was no longer just a book for good luck that I kept on a shelf in my room. This was becoming life—out-and-out addictive to me. I found myself craving more and more. I wanted to discover who said this verse that I’d heard and what were they talking about. At that point, I realized it was too late, I couldn’t simply back out of this relationship. I was falling in love with this God who wrote this incredible love story for me.
Many years into my relationship with God, I began to notice a nudging inside of me. I would want to do this, but something inside of me would make me feel like I wasn’t supposed to. Sometimes I didn’t listen—usually I regretted it later when it didn’t pan out like expected and sometimes I found it was even dangerous for me to not listen; however, the more I listened and obeyed, the louder this inner voice seemed to grow. Hmmm, this was getting just downright weird.
Could it be that God was actually leading me from the inside? I had heard people say that they “heard” God, and I had heard Jiminy Cricket say, “Always let your conscience be your guide.”
Was this nudging just my conscience, or was this something greater going on inside of me? And if this was actually my conscience, then how did it know when danger was eminent? So, I decided to dig into the Bible, like Indiana Jones on a mission. I had to find out if I had some kind of conscience super powers or if God was actually doing this nudging.
Proverbs 16:9 (NIV) In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Or, (NIRV) In your heart you plan your life. But the Lord decides where your steps will take you.
This verse seemed to resonate with me. It was like David wrote in Psalm 139:16 that God saw his unformed body and determined every day of his life before he ever lived a single day.
Seriously? This God is DETAILED!!! I mean, I struggle to get matching socks on in the morning, and yet this God that loved David this way also loves me—so much so that he not only lovingly took care of me in the womb, but planned out every day of my life before I ever came out of that womb. THIS IS WILD!
Then suddenly, this rebellious streak rose up in me. Wait a minute! What if I don’t want to live that plan? What if HIS plans don’t line up with mine? I mean, I have some pretty big ambitions. What if God’s plan for me is to be the trash pick-up person? If this was who was calling the shots in my life, then I needed to get to know Him way better.
So, along with my Bible reading, I learned to couple time where I just talked with God. There were times I’d talk with Him in the car while I was driving. There were times I’d walk and talk to Him. Sometimes I’d share my struggles and my victories. Other times I’d share my fears, my hopes, or my dreams. I found myself talking a lot to Him.
Then one day, instead of telling God everything about myself, I decided to listen to God about myself. “What is it you want from me? Why did you put me on this earth? Why did you even make me?”
I sat there in silence for moment. Oh great! I broke Him! I must have overwhelmed Him with all my questions. He did’t even have an answer.
This is the part of the story where I’m reminded of the Thunder Mountain Railroad rollercoaster at Walt Disney World. Just before it blasts off, it says, “Hold on to your hats, folks! Cause this here is the wildest ride in the wilderness.”
I can’t say that I heard a booming voice that day. I can’t say God mystically overtook my mind. What I can say is, that day, I made the choice to stop being so selfish and only looking for what God could give ME or the good plans He had for JUST ME. It was rather, a moment in which I surrendered my plans and committed to God I would follow His.
I figured, if He took the time to plan out each day of my life—and His plans are to prosper me and not to harm me, plans for a hope and future, just like He planned for the children of Israel in Jeremiah—then His plans had to be a whole lot more trustworthy than mine. Seriously, I was pretty blessed to just get my plans together enough to pack my lunch for work.
So, there I was—a blank slate, trusting in God with all my heart and not depending on my own understanding. I seemed to be just waiting. Was I nuts? What was I waiting on? I wasn’t even sure, but then IT HAPPENED! BUT that is whole other story.
Years later, I heard Mark Lowery, a comedian, say, “If God called you to be a garbage man, you’d have to step down to be president.” That always makes me laugh because there is so much truth in it. You would be miserable and a horrible leader being president if that were the case. You know where you’d be amazingly good at your job and perfectly happy? Trash pick-up.
So, one final thought, God wants to be so much more than just a GPS in your life. He can nudge and guide you, and He even gives you the choice to not obey, if you so choose—of course you’ll go a rougher path. Let’s be honest, He makes His plans knowing the final outcome. You can even decide to come back once you realize your mistake, and He WILL reroute you back into His plan because forgiveness and love are just His nature.
True story! Turn off the GPS, and ask God to be your autopilot instead. His plans are so much greater than ours, and we will never find true joy seeking our own desires for our lives. It’s in our surrender that we find true freedom and joy, and then comes the most exciting adventure of all. So, hold on to your hate, folks. THIS HERE is the wildest ride in the wilderness.
Lead on, God!