If there is one thing that I have learned in the past few years it is that when God tells you to go somewhere or do something, you do it. And you do it right away.
Last year, God laid Israel and Palestine on my heart so strongly. After a season of intercession over this place that I knew so little about, I was offered an opportunity to spend my summer there. It was amazing, beautiful, heartbreaking. The people there got stuck so deeply in my heart and I have longed to go back ever since.
When my company closed a little while ago, I was longing for an adventure, determined to do something purposeful with my time and so deeply desired to return to the Bethlehem area. So, I decided to go back. Over the last few months I have tried to get myself ready to go. And yet, something has stopped me – from fully feeling like I’m going, from buying my flights, from feeling peace. Doors have kept closing in my face, in regards to sponsorship, etc. I continued to push all this aside and press forward, trying to have peace to match my excitement.
But at a certain point, you realize that you can’t put it off until tomorrow – you actually have to buy your flights and then get on them. Every time I went to buy my flights, I felt such deep panic and anxiety I was unable to do so. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve cancelled out of Air Canada’s website. So, recently I started paying attention to this. After a week of a lot of prayer, questions, tears and having discussions with people that I love and trust, I have decided to be obedient to what I believe God is telling me for this season: “stay”.
It’s harder than I can even explain to do this. My word for 2012 was “Move” (see here), and staying put is counter-intuitive for me. I love to be moving, to be doing things. I love adventures, I love traveling. I love ministry. I love new things, new friends, new places. I love the neighbourhood I was to live in. I love Palestinian food. I was more than excited to put my skills to use in a new and exciting way. But, I also love being exactly where God wants me to be. I know that I never want to be outside of the will of God ever again.
How much do I trust God? Enough to move across the world if He asks me to? Yes. 100%. How about when He asks me to do the less-exciting, more unknown thing and not go?
I sent off the email this morning that changes the course of my life. My decision is made. And oh, what peace comes from that! What happens next – I have no idea. This is a new season of life for me and I’m just trying to figure it out as I go along, stay tuned to the Holy Spirit’s leading and not get too stuck in my head. I have no idea where I end up. I am 100% ok with that. Like I’ve shared before, that’s the way it has to be. God has been relentlessly breaking off of me my need to control and need to plan things out for myself. I’m learning to be ok with being flexible and altering the plan when God asks me to. I’m discovering that things are so much better when I do them His way.
The other thing I am realizing is that my decision not to go doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have an amazing adventure for me. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop moving forward. It simply means that He has a different direction for me than I had planned.
I don’t understand why God led me that way to get me to this place, but I do know that I am learning a lot about trusting Him and His voice, whether it makes sense to me at the time or not. My heart is simply to be where God is, to be where His peace rests. He doesn’t need my hands in the Middle East, He just needs my heart to be surrendered to Him wherever it happens to be.
This reminds me of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah – God didn’t want Isaac dead, He just wanted Abraham to be willing to surrender it all. I’ve come to this place with a willing heart and suddenly I see the ram in the thicket – what kind of tragedy would it be if I chose to ignore it?
One of the hardest things for me in making this decision was “what will everyone think?!” But I have come to realize that the people who know my heart, will support my decision. All the rest are free to think whatever they choose 🙂 At the end of the day, God is my judge and I do not answer to anyone else. I must make the choices that I feel He is leading me to make and not make decisions based on fear or pride.
Thank you to those of you who have been walking through this whole process with me. I’m excited to see what happens here on out! Stay tuned 🙂
I love you all!