Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jesus, Take the Wheel!

I have a friend who was laid off from a very stressful job with an overbearing supervisor. During her many months of job hunting she finished her degree, enjoyed her hobbies and relished the peaceful moments of not having to deal with the anxieties of the previous job. She made the most of her time and put her trust in God. While being out of work usually brings its own kind of stress, she seemed to sail through the months and as far as I know, the bills were paid & they never went hungry. In fact, I think it was during this time that she got her little red convertible!

Recently she started a new job and I sent her an email of congratulations & prayer for favor. Here is an excerpt of her reply:

I haven't had such great respect and kindness since I left [a previous company]. I am blown away by the attitudes of all around me, it is so refreshing. [goes on to list the things she loves about the new workplace]. This is even better than I dreamed. Why do I limit God, over and over and over, I know better from all the years track record with him, but I still do it. ...God is so good I am once again overwhelmed with His greatness and unending love - in big things as well as little things. He has a way of working things out in a wonderful way.

As I read this and reflected on her last year, I thought, Why DO we limit God? Look at all He did for [friend]. She did what she knew to do & let Him take care of the rest. And He did it quite well!

I was scheduled to give a devotion to the staff last week & since this was really on my mind - because I am so there - these are the answers I came up with to the question

Why DO we limit God?

Fear of the unknown.
But God says: "I know the plans I have for you..."
Fear of failure.
" give you a future and a hope." [Jeremiah 29:11]

OK, then how about:
Fear of success. We know He is a big God with big ideas. Maybe we're afraid of just how big His plans might be. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." [Isaiah 55:9]

Fear of giving up control. This can also be a lack of trust, lack of faith. Or maybe it's due to past experiences of disappointment or disillusionment. Our reaction is to take matters into our own hands. Pride also factors in to a fear of giving up control.
"Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time..." [1 Peter 5:6]
You have to trust God's timing and His way of bringing about His best plans.

Why should you deal with this fear? Verse 7 continues, "...casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." It alleviates a lot of stress!

I mentioned disappointment and disillusionment. But God says, "Do not remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a new thing!" [Isaiah 43:18-19]

A new thing? Uh oh. Fear of change strikes! Maybe we're limiting God because we don't want any changes. One word: trust. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." [Proverbs 3:5]
The last thing is, we don't feel deserving of God's great plans for us. We know all the scriptures about His love for us but still don't feel like we deserve it. If that's the case, then it's time to meditate again on GRACE. God wants to give us His grace. It's Satan who wants us to feel dis-grace.
Let go of the wheel and let God drive. Don't be afraid of the journey. Embrace it with wild abandon! The Message version of Ephesians 3:19 puts it beautifully:

And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love,
you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus
the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love.
Reach out and experience the breadth.
Test its length! Plumb the depths!
Rise to the heights.
Live full lives, full in the fullness of God!

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