Standing Still.

Stand still and let God move.  Standing still is hard to do.  When you feel you have reached the end, He'll make a way for you.  Stand still and let God move.  - The Isaacs.
 The words to this simple chorus have come to mean so much to me in the past few months.  I had been praying diligently about a decision I needed to make.  It was something that I had my heart set on for a while and it was just within my grasp.  However, during prayer in my morning God time, I felt very clearly that God was telling me to simply stand still.  In the past, I've watched as Christians (myself included) have made poor decisions based on a mere feeling that they accredited to God.  So I begged and pleaded for certainty and confirmation because, after all, this decision affected my life and I didn't want to mess up.

For weeks after that, everything seemed to be a confirmation.  I write little notes to myself in my Bible and as I was flipping through the pages one day, looking for a verse that I was discussing with someone, I came across a note scribbled in the margins.  I had written it long ago and had actually forgotten it even existed.  The note said, "Standing still is often seen as a sign of weakness.  But patience = trust in God."

If that weren't enough, I found on a continual basis that the author of Psalms was reminding me to wait upon the Lord.  Messages during church services we sang in encouraged patience in God's will.  Suddenly, without knowing what I was petitioning God for at the time, people began sharing their testimonies with me.  Testimonies about how God had spoken to them and how they had obeyed; about how their answer hadn't come quickly all the time, but to rest assured that it had come.  And because my Father has a wicked sense of humor, I even encountered His message in a fortune cookie: on the back of the fortune, it read, "Learn Chinese - to wait".

At this point, I had to acknowledge that God had given me direction and I had the choice to obey or not.  I'm not going to lie to you; this was difficult for me.  I had worked my entire life towards a certain goal.  Now that it was accomplished, God was asking me to not look so far ahead.  To instead make my goal whatever He set before me.  I admit to looking towards the ceiling and asking, "Are You crazy?!?  I'm just not built that way, yo."

Funny how we seem to think we know ourselves better than the One calling us to His work.  I spent some time feeling pretty low and down on myself.  Anxiety approached and began plaguing the most sacred of all places of my life: my sleep.  My dreams were sprinkled with little nuggets of disappointment from others and I even dreamed once of avoiding someone simply because I didn't want to talk about what my life had become in 15 years.  I joked that I was uneducated, unemployed, and useless.  And that God wanted to keep me that way. 

But I knew somewhere deep in my heart that I couldn't disobey God when He had spoken so clearly.  I was fearful of the repercussions if I didn't do as I was told, and so I listened.  With clenched fists.  And shaking hands.  And tightly shut eyes.  As if the moment my decision was made, I would have to watch as my entire life was flushed down a shiny porcelain expressway.   

Obeying meant putting my own expectations in life on hold, if not giving them up completely.  It meant withstanding the sometimes harsh criticism of people who wouldn't understand.  It meant giving up my life in exchange for the one He has for me.

Matthew 10:39 states, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."  I admit that I always worried about this verse because I thought it meant physically losing your life.  And although that is one interpretation, I've learned that it also means letting go of what we desire in life so we can accept all that God has for us.  In this case, we have to lose in order to win. 

So, even though it's difficult at times, I have decided to boldly exclaim the words of Michael Olson's song with my whole heart: I'm gonna give my life away, expect nothing in return.  If that's a price that I must pay, that's a lesson I will learn.  With every breath I take, I'll take Jesus at His word.  I'm gonna give my life away.

And as amazingly difficult and confusing as that sounds, I can tell you from experience that there is nothing more freeing than allowing your life to rest in the hands of the One who created it.  I have no idea what tomorrow holds for me.  And that's exciting.  He has assured me on different occasions that He knows what He is doing and that this waiting is by His design. 

So although I began this journey with clenched fists, trembling hands, and eyes closed to the horror of losing my once-cherished dreams, I am now walking this path a little differently.  My fists are no longer clenched, but are relaxed and open.  My hands have lost their tremor and are now reaching out, and finding, the hands of my Father.  And my eyes?  They're no longer closed, but are comfortably resting on my Savior as He guides me, day by day, into this beautiful life He has made for me. 

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