I've lost track of how many people in the last three weeks have asked me what I'm going to do when my 3-year contract is finished here at Rosslyn...in June of 2014.
A friend posted a comment about taking life one step at a time as a lesson learned from the book of Joshua.
Another friend told me he will "still enjoy this season" even though he has no idea what God has in store for him past the end of the year.
While it doesn't bother me at all for people to ask what I'm going to do in two years (I have no answer for that question, by the way!), if I focus on it too much, it can very quickly cause me to become anxious about the future. I'm a planner. I like calendars and lists and organizing people and events to make things happen. The thought of showing up to school without lesson plans is almost more than I can handle! I also DON'T like NOT knowing how things are going to work out, so having to speculate about the future isn't something I particularly enjoy. However, one thing I have learned in my life is that things WON'T always happen the way you think they will...and I have also learned that following God's leading is always better than following your own plans.
As humans, I think it's our nature to want to know what lies ahead so we can plan, be prepared. There are certainly Biblical examples of planning for certain things, such as Joseph planning for years of famine by storing food in times of plenty (Genesis 41), the ant storing food in summer to be ready for winter (Proverbs 6), or Jesus planning for His departure from earth by teaching and investing in his disciples, so they would know how to carry on without Him.
Clearly planning can be good a good thing. However, we have to realize that there are times when God is going to call us to trust Him one little obedient step at a time, without knowing or understanding what lies ahead. Even if the little step means big changes, we have to just trust Him step by step. Too much focus on OUR plans, or impatience about where we are in life, can keep us from "enjoying this season" of life if things aren't just the way we want them to be, and our plans can then become an idol--demanding our focus and commitment away from God, and causing fear and anxiety in the meantime.
I was prompted to write this tonight as I was listening to the Passion White Flag album. The song that kind of tied all these things together for me was Chris Tomlin's "No Turning Back." (Click here to listen.) Much of the song is just the repeated lyrics of "I will follow You, no turning back." Listening to those words helped me remember how I got here in the first place, reminded me of God's faithfulness, and brought to mind all these ideas of "one step at a time."
The verse that keeps coming to mind is Proverbs 16:9:
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD
determines his steps.
I borrowed the title for this post from Rich Mullins' song of the same name. It helps me to remember that sometimes, MANY times, the best way to approach this life is one step at a time. No turning back.
"And step by step You'll lead me,
and I will follow You all of my days."