We all get caught up thinking about our futures. Jon and I have discussed our goals in life extensively and how the Lord has directed our paths for those aspirations. We have a call to be "pioneers" for the Gospel abroad, a heart for a certain people group, and even a general area of the world we know the Lord is leading us toward. And we have prayed that God would open up the proper doors at the proper times for us in those areas, but also the proper doors along the way to prepare us.
I was praising the Lord one day recounting all the opened doors we've been walking through. First there was my Peace Corps tour which introduced me to peoples and places I never even knew existed. Then Jon's schooling: he's finished his Bachelor's in Linguistics and is now working on his Master's in Teaching English as a Second Language. He has been teaching English to international grad students at the University and will be working on his Adult Basic Education license. All this to give us the proper credentials to teach overseas. The Lord has been moving in our lives financially to grow us in faith and prepare us for living in His grace and provision alone.
I was delighting in these things one morning saying, "Look how you've led us! Look how you've moved in Jon's world even just THIS YEAR!" That's when I got a little challenge in my heart from the Holy Spirit. (the third guy in the Trinity, right?) He challenged, "How have YOU been preparing this year, Brenda?" Now it wasn't a condescending, finger-wagging. See I could have sluffed it off saying, "Well, I'm raising a BABY aren't I? I'm learning how to raise children." And I am. But what the Holy Spirit was pointing out was that I am capable of more but I wasn't doing it. How HAVE I been preparing this year? I realized that I needed this year of "maternity leave" to focus on my baby, but I wasn't always going to have the time like I have right now. It is time to move on.
I started reading More than a Prophet but about 3 chapters into it, I realized this wasn't what God meant when He challenged me to be preparing. I've always been academic and I'll keep reading the book, but as far as apologetics go, it's not my ace. (It is for Jon; what a philosopher!) Well God, what DID you mean? I prayed. The answer came while we were at church in Virginia visiting Matt and Julie. It was just a simple verse that spoke right into my soul: Micah 6:8, "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." It was like He was saying, "Brenda, I just want you to sit at my feet and learn a little." Sweet. Asaph says in Psalm 73, "Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever...as for me, it is good to be near God." How intimate does that sound? It sounds as if this guy desired nothing more than to be God's best friend. To walk humbly with his God. Again, sweet. What could better bless Jon than for his helpmeet to be walking humbly with God? How could I be better prepared for teaching and preaching abroad than to live and love justice and mercy? I already know the technical and the cultural stuff. Time to train the heart.
Now it's like I have this purpose or vision for the faith I live. The things I get involved in, are they encouraging me to live and act justly? Am I learning mercy? Will I become closer to God and His heart through this? It wasn't the path I thought He'd lead me down, but I'm sure glad He is.
So here's a challenge for you: what are the goals in your life, and how are you preparing to meet those? If you have no clue, take a minute to pray and ask God to reveal His will for your life. Even if it's just the next step. Then when that door opens, step out in faith. Sometimes we just need a little push. Let this be your push!