There’s a popular saying among Christ followers that “the best place to be is in the center of God’s will”. I wholeheartedly agree, however I’ve also tasted and seen being in His will but not at the center. It almost sounds like an oxymoron and a lot of people may lead us to believe that you can’t be in both. How can you be in His will and not be in the center of it fully? Funny you should ask.
Recently, I made a big move from FL to TX solely for the purpose of God having called me to do so. He didn’t say why then and I’m still waiting to know why now but He definitely told me to. Obviously, the doubting Thomas in me avoided praying about this for quite some time – 2 years to be exact – only to now reside in TX. Why do we do that? We avoid the inevitable knowing that God always gets His way in the end. haha. I’m thankful for His grace and patience with me. I’m sure I’m one of his “special” children.
Anyways, in 2015 when my roommate at the time challenged me to pray and I actually decided to obey, I began to get flooded with confirmations. All of a sudden all of the license plates I saw in FL were from Texas. True story. I’d randomly be out after work with coworkers and spark up a conversation with someone sitting next to us who’d be from TX. True story. I went on a mission’s trip to the remote mountains of Peru when big Greyhound-like bus with the word TEXAS drives by me on my last day. True story. I mean, I could try to deny the will He had for me but the confirmations wouldn’t allow me to justify it. Not only that, but knowing me as well as He does, God made sure to provide all of my confirmations with witnesses! My friends were always around and knew the situation so He made sure accountability was always in the mix.
Well, I now reside in TX without a clue as to why but I know I fulfilled His will and I’m in the center of it, right? WRONG!! I moved here, yes and I know that He will honor that step of faith. However, even though He also told me which church to go to, I explored others because His choice wasn’t what I was looking for. You hear the “me syndrome” in that last statement? It wasn’t what I was looking for. So, I went to other churches. Texas has so many great churches that I felt like God could easily be pleased with me going to any of these other ones with modern sanctuaries, live broadcasts for the days I don’t want to leave my bed, thriving YOUNG adults ministries (I emphasize young because the one He called me to has a predominantly older congregation). Surely, my will is God’s will because I’m already in Texas right? Wrong Arlene WRONG!!! When am I going to understand that partial obedience is still disobedience? Well, I learned today! Not really today, today but I like saying that phrase.
Six months into living in Texas and I’m finally in the state He wanted me in and in the church He wanted me in but have I overexerted myself to explore the city or be a faithful servant at the church? With full transparency I tell you that the answer to that is no. I have no real reason other than I’ve mourned my last season longer than God has asked me to. This is a recent revelation from a single’s conference I attended even though I didn’t want to attend it. This is proof that He can use anything to speak us including my attitude in all of these matters. He’s gracious and patient enough to wait for me, but He also unsettles the nest while I delay. Each day that goes by, the bible-study that meets on Sundays that I keep saying “next Sunday” to, doesn’t happen. Justifications always follow. There’s probably more examples I can share, but I’m veering off the point.
My point is that I believe we can be in God’s will but not be in the center of it if we don’t fully surrender our thoughts, desires and will to His. I know enough about God to know that He didn’t just send me here to sit in my house. He didn’t open the doors, provide the finances, the apartment, the new car, peace of mind (both my own and my family’s) and the ability to work from home with my FL company just to say “I did it Lord. I followed your will. Here I am in Texas and routinely going to the church you told me to.” It’s not His style. He has a purpose for everything, even during this time that I’m acting like an Israelite lost in the woods. I pray that like the Israelites, I don’t make my journey longer than He intended because of disobedience. I pray that anyone else in a similar scenario of “half obedience” find comfort in the scriptures where He says He plans for us. Plans that are for a future not of harm and that He will complete what He has started.
I know it can be a hard process. Boy do I know. We’ve made it this far though. We know too much to just ignore it all and run backwards. Who can run backwards anyways? Effectively? You’re not alone and I do commend you for the steps of faith you’ve taken thus far. Let’s continue moving and falling forward not backwards. You’re in good company. Go out on a limb and invite someone to lunch or coffee. Be ready for unresponsiveness but don’t let it define your attitude in moving forward.
Just think, we can be just one step of obedience away from our promise land where blessings flow.