Written by: Sarah Oates-Walker
From the basement I hear my daughter yell, “ Mooooooooooooooooooom, Moooooooooooooooooooom, I NEED your help! I can’t find the blue slinky!”
“Use the pink one,” I yell back down the stairs.
“NO. I want the BLUE one!”
“Check the toy box.”
“I did and I can’t find it! HELP ME find it!”
After a lot of yelling out directions to her, I eventually headed downstairs myself, to find the missing blue slinky. That’s when I realized she was just standing in the middle of the room looking at the toy box from a distance.
I looked into the toy box, moved a few things around, and within seconds, BINGO, found it! Clearly she had not even lifted a finger to find it. She “looked” but she didn’t bother taking any steps closer to the toy box or put in any work of moving things around to find what she had been looking for. She was waiting for me to do all the work for her.
As I pondered my mild frustration with her laziness, I felt like God was showing me that there have been times when I do this exact same thing. Like my daughter, I cry out for direction; I will continually go back to Him for further guidance, but then sometimes I fail to follow through with my actions to complete the task. Sometimes my prayers have gone unanswered, not for lack of an answer, but because I was too timid to step out in faith with my actions. I wanted God to do all the work for me.
Then there have been times when I will pray just a little and then charge ahead in my own efforts, and forget to seek His will for the right course of action.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Isn’t it interesting that God says, “apart form me you can do nothing!” It sounds funny because I can do a lot of things without him, but if I am doing them without His direction, my efforts will be fruitless.
I once had what I thought was a great idea of having a “Mom and Tots” program at my church. I immediately put the wheels in motion without a second thought – and admittedly, without much prayer. This “Mom and Tots” idea failed miserably! For weeks, it was just my daughter and I, sitting alone together in an empty nursery.
If I had stopped to pray a little more, I might have gotten a clearer sense of what God wanted. As it turns out, it was a great idea, it just wasn’t an idea for right then, and it wasn’t an idea for me. A friend of mine started up a similar program in the church two years later and it was super successful – our church was filled with moms and their little ones!
I did everything I could to get the program up and running – except to wait on God for His guidance and direction. Even though I worked really hard, I actually accomplished nothing. It was very sobering to see all my hard work produce no results!
Like with so many things in this life, there needs to be a balance between two extremes. I need to learn to wait on God for His will in my life and in ministry. I also need to take steps of faith myself in order to walk out His will.
I know there will still continue to be times when I am timid, and times when I am overly enthusiastic. The important thing is that I always keeping striving to hear God’s voice and follow His direction as best I can. Hopefully, with time and maturity, I will become bolder, more patient, and have the ability to discern God’s voice a little better each day.
“ Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”