Stuck

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Have you ever reached a point in your life where you felt stuck? It seemed like no matter what you did, you couldn’t move forward. You tried to go left, right, forwards, backwards, up, down, and around, and no matter what direction you went in, you ran smack dab into a wall.

What do we do when we feel stuck? How do respond? Is it something that we are doing to prevent God from moving us forward in our lives?

This has literally been the story of my life for the past few months. I have felt stuck. Any move I would make, any plan I would make…literally anything I would do would not succeed. This included trying to find a better job as well as maintain various friendships. I felt like everything around me was falling apart and no matter what I would do to try and fix it, I would fail. On top of that, I began to doubt myself. I started to question if I was in God’s will for my life. I started to be so hard on myself because I felt like such a failure since I wasn’t at a certain point in my life. I wanted so much more out of life, but I felt as if no matter what I would do to try to move me forward, I couldn’t move forward. I felt like every door I would try to go through would be slammed shut in my face.

Here was my issue: I kept trying to make my plans God’s plans. I kept trying to push my agenda on God. Although I never mentally or verbally confessed this, in my heart I believed that I knew what was best for me and that I could come up with a better plan for my life, and so I tried to pursue my plans. 

Isaiah 55:8-9 9 (MSG), I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.’ God’s decree. ‘For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.’

We can come up with these plans that we think are full proof and will take us to the next level, but God can even top that. We don’t know more than God. We can’t see the whole picture like He can. This is why we need to live out Provers 3:5-6, which says,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

God knows what is best for us. No matter how many times we try to convince ourselves otherwise, in the end God knows what’s best and we have to trust Him. Trusting Him is so hard, especially when it looks like our situation isn’t changing in the natural. But despite what we see in the natural, we have to believe that He is working on our behalf.

When I finally realized that I was trying to control my destiny instead of relinquishing all control to God, He began to minister something powerful to me. He showed me that no matter what door I would try to go through, what plan I would try to put into action, He would not let it succeed. You see, anything we try to do apart from God or try to do in our own ability, God will not let us succeed in it because it does not give Him the glory. He told me that no matter what plan I came up with or what I tried to do on my own, I would continue to run into a wall. God even gave me a vision. He allowed me to see myself standing in the middle of a room and no matter what direction I went in, I would run into a wall. No matter how hard I tried to escape the room or what plan I tried to come up with to get out of the room, I would hit a wall.

Once God showed me that, I asked Him, ” What do you want me to do then?”. He told me He wanted me to be still and do nothing but trust Him and walk in obedience. Of course that’s not what I wanted to hear, but it was what I needed to hear. There was something that God had put on my heart to do a couple of years ago, but I didn’t complete it when He told me to. He wanted me to write a book. I started the book and made it through the majority of it, but I didn’t finish it. I got so distracted and caught up in other things that I failed to make time for it. I did what I wanted to do instead of doing what God wanted me to do.

God already has my life mapped out with incredible plans for me. Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV) tells us Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” I love the Message version of this verse, which says Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations—that’s what I had in mind for you.” Jeremiah 1:5 is telling us that even before we were conceived, God knew His plans for our lives. He knew what He called us to do. He knew how each and every day of our lives would turn out. He knew everything about us before we were even thought of by our parents. Let that sink in! So if someone as mighty and powerful as our God, who has had our entire lives planned out even way before we were born, is asking us to trust Him and follow His will for our lives, what do we have to lose? 

I want to leave you with this: If you are feeling stuck or if you are simply miserable with where you are at in life right now, do not be discouraged. God has great plans for you and He will fulfill those plans and purposes He has for you. Your main responsibility is to continue to pursue God with everything in you, walk in obedience to Him even if He is asking you to step outside your comfort zone, trust His timing, and wait on Him with an abundance of patience and joy. If you do that, the valley season you are in will fly by so smoothly. Stop worrying and fretting, and simply trust in God. And last but not least endure to the end during challenging seasons.

I’m praying for you friends! If you have any prayer requests please feel free to email me at andriarene01@gmail.com

Love you all!

 

 

A Lesson in Faith and Obedience

faith and obedience

Have you ever been to The Cheesecake Factory and faced the tough decision of which cheesecake to select for dessert? I mean there’s about a million selections of cheesecakes from Oreo cheesecake to carrot cake cheesecake so how am I supposed to choose just one cheesecake? Maybe you just go with your favorite like I do or maybe you contemplate trying something new. Deciding on trying a new cheesecake can cause much anxiety. You’re sitting there thinking well if I choose this cheesecake I’ve never had before, I will either love it or absolutely hate it. It sounds good on the menu, but how it sounds on paper and how it actually tastes are two completely different things. So what do you do? Do you just go with old faithful or do you step out on faith and try something new?

Sometimes following God’s will for our lives can be a lot like choosing a slice a cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. We’re often faced with life altering decisions, but how do we know which choice is the best, which choice will keep us in God’s will for our lives?

This is something I’ve been facing lately. In April, I began working as an assistant director at a preschool. In the beginning, I was so excited. Everyday I went to work with joy in my heart and a smile on my face looking forward to the workday. But as time passed and I began to see things I didn’t like, things I didn’t agree with, to hear constant complaining, gossip and negativity, I started to question whether or not I was still in God’s will for my life, whether or not I had made the right decision. There were days when I would go home crying because of the stress of everything. I would cry out to God more and more, but I couldn’t hear His voice. I just didn’t know what to do anymore, but I continued to seek Him. I began to seek Him even more. Talking to Him continuously about everything, seeking Him in His word.

As time went on, I began to pray about relocating to LA because I desired to be closer to my boyfriend and my close friends, plus I was ready for a fresh start. I even started applying for jobs out there. I ended up getting an interview for a position I really wanted. This position would prepare me for the career I was working towards, the pay is much more than what I’m making now, the benefits are great, there are constant opportunities for advancement, and it would allow me to live in LA. I went for the interview early one morning and then went to work after the interview. I promise you, a few hours after interviewing, I got a call from the director who interviewed me offering me the position. To say I was happy would be an understatement. I was like a kid in a candy store. I was thinking, “Yes! I knew God didn’t forget about me.”

The only thing left to do was turn in my letter of resignation on my current job, but I didn’t want to do that until I received my letter of employment from the new job. The director said that they would have the letter of employment for me by the end of the week. So I went ahead and wrote my letter of resignation, and waited to turn it in until I received my letter of employment. Well, the end of the week came and I hadn’t received my letter of employment. I started getting anxious and began to worry. I contacted the director to follow up on the letter of employment, but she never replied. Then, to add to the confusion, my friend contacted me about a part-time teaching position at one of the local community colleges. I had asked her a while ago if there were any openings and she had told me that they had filled all of the positions for the next school year. But then, when I was already confused and it was utter chaos, she texts me to say they have an unexpected opening. I honestly didn’t know what to do, but I went ahead and applied for the teaching position even though it didn’t make sense to me since I was still hoping for things to work out with the position in LA. I started to get so frustrated because I didn’t understand what God was doing, and I had no idea what to do. I didn’t want to make the wrong decision, but at the time I didn’t know what was right. I only knew what I wanted. I told God, “I thought this [the position in LA] was what you had for me! I prayed that you wouldn’t allow me to get it unless it was what you had for me. So why did you allow me to get this position if it wasn’t what you had for me?”. I battled with these thoughts the entire weekend. I had no peace, my joy was pretty much nonexistent. I felt so down and discouraged. I started questioning what I was doing with my life and I honestly felt like a failure. Now that I look back on this, I know I was overreacting, I was letting my emotions rule me, which was not wise.

At the start of the following week, I prayed like I’ve never prayed before. I poured my whole heart out to God and decided to be still. He began to minister to me. He showed me what He wanted me to do. He told me to stay put on my current job because my assignment there was not complete. He began to show me all the changes He wanted me to implement and gave me so many ideas. The next step was to present these ideas to my current director. I honestly didn’t know how she would respond, but I prayed for God to soften her heart and that He would allow her to like my ideas and be willing to implement them.

That week God began to do some amazing things. He allowed me to get an interview for the teaching position, which I was so nervous about because I had to do a brief presentation on my favorite theory of development. Well, I had my interview and let me tell you, the Holy Spirit worked through me and allowed me to do an amazing presentation. I mean the interview panel was even impressed with how I explained certain concepts in a way they had never heard before, but made so much more sense. You know it’s something when you stump someone who has been teaching college courses for years and has their doctorate, but that’s how God works! I left that interview feeling so amazing, but most importantly I had peace. I didn’t feel anxious and I didn’t worry. I rested in God knowing that His will was best and that’s what would be done. When I get to work after my interview that day, I decided to meet with my director. I told her about my ideas as well as the possibility of me teaching at the community college part time. She completely supported me working part-time as an instructor, and she absolutely loved my ideas and decided to start implementing them immediately. One of my suggestions was holding a staff development because there’s so much that needs to be discussed and brought to light in order to improve the school. That same day she created a flyer informing the staff that we would be having a staff development in a couple of weeks. Also, she wanted me to be responsible for some aspects of the meeting. I honestly was not expecting that, but I’m excited because this will allow me to further develop my leadership skills.

So things really began to turn around. I was being presented with some incredible opportunities and I was walking in obedience to God. I was also stepping out on faith and trusting God to work things out according to His perfect will. At that point, I had forgotten all about the job in LA; however, the director at that site hadn’t forgotten about me. She emailed me out the blue asking me if I received my letter of employment. I simply replied that I hadn’t received it. Once again, I didn’t know what to do. All this time I had assumed that she decided to go with someone else so I figured the job wasn’t mine. Part of me wanted to renege on what I told God and my director what I was going to do, and take the job in LA because that’s what I wanted and thought I needed. But the thought of doing that did not bring me peace. Then I started talking to God and told Him, “Lord, if you allow me to get this part-time teaching position, then I will email the director of the job in LA telling her that I will not be accepting the job offer.” Side note: Isn’t it funny how we try to negotiate with God instead of just doing what He told us to do with no questions asked?

I went ahead and decided to go with my plan that I presented to God, but once again I didn’t have peace. I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart and showing me that I wasn’t walking in complete obedience to God. I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t. Finally, I sent an email to the director over the job in LA informing her that I will not be able to accept the position. The day after I sent that email, I received an email about the teaching position at the local community college offering me the job! I mean all I had to do was walk in obedience and trust God, and He worked everything out. In addition to that, my current director is all on board for me teaching at the community college. Everyday leading up to this offer, she would tell me that she knew I was going to get the teaching position. She is so supportive and encourages me constantly and knows that I’m destined for greater things. She’s truly a blessing. And did I mention that she is also a Christian?

It’s so amazing how when we surrender to God, walk in obedience, and trust Him, He literally allows all things to fall in place. I am so amazed by what God has done in the span of two weeks. I mean He has moved so greatly in my life, but He has also helped me to see things in a whole new light. I no longer dread going to work. Now I’m excited and I look for ways that I can help this school grow. I’m so excited for this new journey in my life and I can’t wait to see how God is going to turn this school around as well as use me as an instructor at the community college.

With that said, when God is showing you to do something, just do it. No questions asked. No trying to think of a better way that will work for you or will be more comfortable to you. Simply trust God, and do what He is showing you to do even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable. Remember “Obedience is better than sacrifice…” (1 Samuel 15:22).

Be Still.

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Have you ever felt like you were on the verge of something great…on the verge of a breakthrough? Things in your life are going fairly smoothly, you are getting on your face before Jesus daily, Jesus is speaking great things in your life, and you can literally see little by little Jesus making moves and setting things up for His plans for you to come into fruition. And then all of sudden Jesus is quiet. You call on Him, but you don’t hear His voice…

This is the story of my life right now. At the start of the year, I went on a fast and I grew even closer to Jesus, went even deeper in my relationship with Him, and He started giving me a glimpse into His plans for me. He didn’t reveal everything, but what He did show me left me so in awe…left me literally speechless. I even started seeing Him, little by little, put things in motion. But these last couple of weeks, Jesus has been fairly quiet. It’s like everything is at a standstill. This caused me to become anxious. I started questioning myself, asking myself if I have done something wrong, if I have pulled away from Him without even realizing it. That wasn’t the case. Then I started asking Jesus, “What’s going in? Why have things come to a halt?”

This morning the Lord told me,

“Be still beloved. I am right here with you. Right now it seems like I’m not doing anything, but I am doing many things in the spiritual realm that you cannot see in the natural. Right now I want you to focus on resting in Me and trusting Me even when it seems like nothing is happening. The key to you successfully fulfilling My plans for your life is your trust in Me and you keeping your eyes on Me. Once you stop trusting Me or take your eyes off of Me, everything around you will begin to fall apart. You need Me every step of the away along this journey.”

Be still. Two simple words, yet they hold so much meaning. Hearing that from the Lord was hard for me to accept. I don’t want to be still. I want to start living out His plans for my life right now. I’m tired of waiting. Although I want to keep moving ahead in God’s plans for me, He tells us in His word “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” (Psalm 37:7).

God doesn’t tell us to be still for no reason. He tells us to be still because He sees the whole picture while we see only a small portion of it. There are things that He has to develop in us before He fully moves us into a position to do these great things for His glory. If we run ahead without Him, it’s only going to end in disaster. King Saul is the perfect example of this. In 1 Samuel 13, King Saul was instructed to wait 7 days for Samuel to come to offer a sacrifice to God. Saul waited but started to get anxious because the men in his army started getting anxious. Instead of waiting and fixing his eyes on God, he started to look at what was going on around him. This lead him to take matters into his own hands and offer the sacrifice even though he knew it was against God’s will. As soon as he offered the sacrifice, Samuel showed up. And then in 1 Samuel 13:13-14, ‘13 “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”’

King Saul was destined for great things, but because he stepped out of God’s will for his life, those plans for him would never be fulfilled, and his life continued to get worse and worse. It is a challenge being patient, especially when God gives you a glimpse into all that He has in store for you. It’s even more challenging when you feel like you are so close to those plans coming to fruition, but they are not happening soon enough. Although it may not make sense as to why the fulfillment of these plans are taking so long, put your trust in God. Keep your eyes on Him and trust His perfect timing. Ultimately He knows what is best. Don’t try to take matters into your own hands because that will force you out of His will for your life. His will for your life is perfect. Do not be anxious or worry that His will for you will never manifest. Remember Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Every promise God has ever made to you, He will fulfill it. BUT it will be in His timing.