It has been quite a while since I felt moved to share a personal experience in church. But today, for whatever reason, God has put it on my heart to share this, so share I will.
It's funny. The last 2-3 months I have been struggling, flailing, floundering, and failing, I have been trying to push forward, trying to "get ahead", trying to find a way I can go back to work so we can have more money. Trying to move forward, grow, bring something more into our house, provide more than I do. Be better than I am.
Trying, fighting, struggling, failing.
The reason? I have been doing all this alone. Not in conversation with my family or friends, not in conversation with my husband or kids, and certainly not in conversation with God.
Almost in silence, I was trying to achieve things, and not even I was sure of what it was, I was blinding ploughing forward, irrespective of everyone and everything else around me.
I thought, if I could get "there", wherever there was, that "things" would be better. Pretty vague huh?
To be a Christian, to me, is to accept Jesus as our saviour, to accept He sacrificed all on Calvary, so that we could be free from sin. Part of all that is also accepting God as the author of our lives. And so, I should want only to follow His path.
This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. (Isaiah 48:17 NLT)
Obviously blindly walking along is not what I mean. One cannot just blindfold themselves, sit at the wheel and drive, with Faith steering the car safely. Rather, to follow Gods path, to follow His plans for our lives, we need to stop. We need to listen. We need to pause our lives every once in a while. We need to pray for direction.
Every author uses the Semi colon (;) in his books. Its a point where a sentence could end, but instead, after a pause, it continues. Its used to pause, refocus, to take note of what has been said, and then continue on with the sentence. To make you reflect on where the sentence has been and where it is going. Emphasis.
It is ok, in fact it is good, to use the semi colon in our lives. To pause, reflect on what has been and what may be ahead. To stop and listen. Get direction. So you can continue on the right path. To pray for guidance so that you take the next steps on His path, and not just your own path.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT)
And that is what I have failed to do. Pray. And that is why I have failed in trying to get "there". Without Prayer, without consultation with God, how can I know where this mysterious "there" is? Clearly I want to follow His path, but I am never going find it on my own, in my own time, by myself.
Today, for a moment I paused, as someone at church, giving a communion message, made me stop & think. I could almost hear God say "FINALLY!!". And, in almost a rush of revelation, as if I would quickly start trying on my own at any second, He revealed some very important insights to me.
For God to reveal the next steps in my path, OUR path in fact, I must pray. We must pray together. As a couple. As a family. For us to know where next to tread, we must first consult with God, together, so that we take the right path, not only for ourselves, but for our family.
I must step outside my comfort zone. Individual prayer is something I'm used to. It's safe. If I say the "wrong" thing, I know God won't judge me as he looks beyond the words to my heart. But I worry about judgement from others, even my own husband. So I avoid praying with others.
And as if all that wasn't enough, at the end of our service, our Pastor brought up Baptism. I have not been baptised. Our church seems to love doing baptism in winter & I don't want to get in the freezing cold water & be baptised in the middle of winter. So I have never put my hand up & mentioned I would like to be baptised. But God clearly said NOW is your time today. It is not about my comfort, or about the temperature of the water. It is about cleansing my spirit, giving myself to God and His purpose for my life. It is about pushing further into relationship with Him. And so, despite all these negative thoughts rushing through my head, I said "really? *sigh* Ok then".
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. (Ephesians 4:5-6 NLT)
If feel you are struggling in life, maybe it's time to use a semi colon. Have a momentary pause, to reflect & to pray & to listen. It may not be what tou want to hear, what you are looking for, but I can guarantee you if it is His path for your life, it WILL have a fantastic ending and you will definitely be happy!