Thursday, November 30, 2017

When you don't know what to do...

Has life ever had you in a situation where you felt like you didn't know what to do? Perhaps as a mom or a wife or at your work place. Maybe even as a child of God. I've sure experienced that; more than I care to admit. But, awhile back as I was walking through yet another one of these situations, God gave me a plan. It has blessed me and my prayer is it will equip you as well.
The first phrase to come to mind might sound funny to you, but honestly it wasn’t a real surprise for me. “Give Up!” That seems a bit crazy because we teach our kids to try hard and chances are you were to taught to never quit, but friends there is a time and a place for giving up. As women we need to give up trying to do it all and to figure everything out. Another way to say it is we need to surrender and the important thing to remember is who we are surrendering to. We are yielding to our heavenly Father who created us, loves us and has a purpose for us. We are giving up so that we can obey Jesus’ command in Matthew 16:24. Here we read, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Friend, when we follow Jesus we give up control. As we let Jesus lead, we are no longer in charge. Sometimes this feels scary, I know, I’ve been there, but if we call ourselves disciples we should echo Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live in the body, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” This dying to self isn’t a one-time thing or a when I want to action; it’s day after day, moment after moment choice we must make. When times are good, when days are bad, when walking in faith is a joy and when life leaves us defeated. We must give up…our dreams, our plans, our ways, our fears, our time, our kids, our everything so that we can put God first.

Giving up is the what, but you may be asking yourself, “How?” We find our answer in the Word of God. The verses I encourage my kids to hide in their hearts come from the living and active Word of God that is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. It can and will equip us to do what we need to do. Scripture will also teach us about God and help us get to know Him better so we can trust Him more. We can’t just encourage our kids to read, study and memorize, we must abide in the Word as well!

Immediately after I give up, there is something else I need to do – “Look up!” Surrendering without seeking will leave me defeated and drowning in the mess around me. Awhile back I was organizing our schedule, which includes Awana’s, junior high basketball, elementary basketball, wrestling, life on the farm and so on, and I found myself getting overwhelmed. I’m a planner and a list maker, but sometimes that can become my focus. I know it’s good and necessary to organize and be prepared, but that day as I sat with a calendar and three schedules the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart that it’s more important to look up than it is to look out.

Friends, I know we are busy and schedules are crazy and we can be tempted to look in many directions, but we must heed the words of Psalm 121:1-2a. We read, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord…” I don’t know about you, but help is something I know I need. I need help raising my kids, teaching them, disciplining them, being the wife God created me to be, being patient and the list goes on. Friends can offer help and self-help books promise it, but God is faithful to always provide it. So again the what is “Look up!”, but the how is through prayer and seeking the Lord. Friends I know our to do list is long and our work is never done, but prayer is our most important work. We can and should pray for our kids, but we must also seek God’s will for us as parents too. He will provide answers and direction, we just need to ask. 

Finally, after we “Give Up!” and “Look Up!” it’s time to “Step Up!” Sometimes this is the hardest piece of the puzzle. We know what needs to be done, now we need to do it. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Life brings so much joy, but it also brings work, frustration and some tears. Walking in faith is not easy, but it is good and friends, we must remember it is so very important! Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This verse says much, but I want to focus in on two key words tonight…good works. It doesn’t say easy, enjoyable or fun, but instead good. The things we do as a wife, mom and disciple of Jesus are good and they require work. It takes effort and perseverance to build God's kingdom and train up our children, but it’s good and God will equip us to do just that.

So again, the what is “Step Up!”, but what about the “How?” In my 17+ plus years as Christian and 14+ years as a mom, the thing that’s helped me is fellowship with others. Sharing struggles, seeking advice and walking together with sisters in Christ has been priceless as I walk this road. Their words, prayers, wisdom and example help me do the work I need to do. When I struggle it can be tempting to be silent and Satan wants me to think I’m all alone. But Hebrews 10:24-25 states, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Just yesterday as I prepared to share this message with a group of moms, God gave me a few opportunities to practice what I was preaching. I was coming home from basketball practice and my 14 year old son was driving...if you ever want to feel the need to "Give Up and Look Up" just wait til your teenager is behind the wheel. I wasn't worried about his speed and reckless driving, instead I was in a hurry. Before I could say something I'd regret or encourage him to do something I don't want him to do, God pricked my heart and reminded me of the message I was about to share. I silently gave up, whispered a prayer and got home when time was short and did what I needed to do. Like my daughter said in a recent play, I realized, "Hey, it works!" 

Friend, I pray the next time you don't know what to do the Holy Spirit will remind you to "Give up, Look up and Step up!" Let's keep pressing on and walking in faith, our Heavenly Father will also show us what we need to do and equip us to do it!!

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