Complete obedience to the Lord is a scary thing.
There. I said it . . . And lightning didn’t strike me. I’m still sitting here typing away.
You know, it’s preferred by most people that Christians just be honest with them about their struggles and pain. We seem to have gotten this incredibly wrong idea that Christians have to appear perfect all the time in order to “make God look good.” I’m not sure where the notion that God somehow can’t “look good” on His own without our help came from. Certainly not the Bible.
Our family recently had some major change in our lives as a result of following what we felt the Lord was leading us to do. Our decisions were made solely on the consideration of what God would have us do. My husband and I sought the Lord diligently throughout the whole process to be sure we were taking steps that were guided by Him and not our own ideas and ambitions. This all sounds so “godly” and, dare I say, “perfect.” . . . It wasn’t.
It was HARD. It was challenging of our faith and our marriage and our family dynamic. At times, we fought. Many times, we cried. Always, we prayed. It was UNCOMFORTABLE. It made me want to just stop the world from spinning and jump off. It was SAD. We had to leave some things behind that we truly cherished because we cherished obedience to the Lord more. It was UNCERTAIN. I think the uncertainty was probably one of the most scary parts for me. It required a moment-by-moment trust in the One who was orchestrating everything because I had absolutely NO control over these particular circumstances.
But is was also REWARDING. Over and over again, we have seen confirmation that, yes, we really did receive instruction from the Lord to take these steps. It was EXCITING. There is nothing in this world more exciting than joining hand in hand with the God of the universe to accomplish a goal. It was incredibly FAITH-BUILDING. When your day-to-day experience is seeking the Lord for the next decision, which builds upon the last decision, you learn to trust the only One worth trusting more than you ever have.
I got to a place in the whole experience where I didn’t even know what to pray anymore. I knew in the very core of my spirit that God was moving where we were headed. I just couldn’t see the steps. And I didn’t like it. I didn’t like not knowing the “how” of things. I didn’t like having to wait until the 11th hour for every single move to become clear. So I started saying one simple prayer that sustained me.
“Lord, please, just show me the next step.” I couldn’t handle anymore than that. If I would have seen every detail of all that was about to unfold, I would have been so overwhelmed you would have found me in the corner babbling and drooling. But I knew I could handle just knowing the next step. This simple prayer completely changed me. It gave me the faith to trust the Lord with all the details. It gave me the strength to take every single one of those steps He was showing me with obedience and gratitude for His movement in my life.
Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Lamps don’t light the whole room. They just light up the path in front of you. I’ve learned through this experience that it’s not necessary to know the whole picture. God’s Word will show us what we need at the moment. And nothing more. Because we can’t handle the rest.
So, Christian, tell the truth about your struggles. Because in your truth-telling, you just might help light the way to the next step for someone else. Your commitment to honestly sharing the real struggles you are facing might just encourage someone to trust the Lord with their journey. But if you shine up your story and make it look falsely perfect to “help God look good,” you might be responsible for discouraging someone on the edge of taking their leap of faith. They may look at your “perfection” and think their imperfections don’t measure up. God doesn’t need our help to look good. He already shines all on His own. And the coolest thing is, He shines by using imperfect people to do miraculous things in an imperfect world.
I encourage you to be REAL with others and let them see the amazing things your amazing God can do with a willing vessel.