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We’re heading up to the Carolina mountains tomorrow to have some family time and get away from the Florida heat. In true Bowdoin fashion, we’ll be off bright and early; stopping only when our stomachs or the bathroom calls. I guess you could say we’re get-there-and get-it-done kind of people…we’ll smell the roses once we get to where we’re going!
And, when I think about it, this is pretty much how I approach life, “Just give me something to do and I’ll get right on it!” But then, that’s seldom how God works, is it?
You feel the green light to go and you muster all the courage and fortitude to launch out…you’ve got this thing: a plan, a calling…maybe even a spiritual mandate…
And then, just like that, you see the curtain coming down in the middle of your show. Wait a minute! This is not what you planned. This hindrance must be coming from the devil…right? Surely, God wouldn’t allow such obstacles when He’s already put a drive and a burden in your heart to do something!?!
Or, would He?
Many of us are familiar with the Old Testament story of King David bringing the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. Some of you may even be familiar with the children’s praise song,
“When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon my heart
I will dance like David danced
When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon my heart
I will dance like David danced
I will dance, dance, dance like David danced
I will dance, dance, dance like David danced”
We love that image of King David dancing the ark into the city…it’s all praise and tambourines!
Agreeably, it was no small feat. David was making things right. He was seeing the plan come to fruition. But, this jubilant scene was the culmination of an arduous process.
“Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf.”
When David brought the ark back to Israel, they walked 6 steps and praised and sacrificed on the 7th step. Wait…what?
They got all situated; everyone was in their spot; they hefted the poles onto their shoulders and set out only to stop after 6 steps.
Can you imagine how hard this must have been? They would get the heavy ark situated on their shoulders and step out onto the journey, only to stop six…steps…later.
Sometimes, we have to be willing to stop before we can make real progress. God’s way is not always the easiest or the most predictable. But…we can choose to find purpose in the process knowing that His plans are good.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
How To Find Purpose In The Process
Maybe you are finding yourself at that 7th step right now. You were moving right along in your business or you were finally making progress with some long-desired relationships and then, just that, all progress STOPPED! You stand at a point of decision…what are you going to do?
Practical steps to help you find purpose in the process.
1. Take a deep breath and consider how God has come through in the past.
- Gratitude and thankfulness remind us of who God is and what he can and will do. He did it before and he will do it again.
2. Take stock of negative self-talk.
- We easily lose perspective when we feel overwhelmed by our present circumstances. This is when we start using words like “never,” or “hopeless.” Remember, “…out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6: 45b)
3. Ask God to show you what to do in the waiting.
- Think about your current circumstance in light of your present life situation.
- Would learning some new skills help you land the job you are looking for? If so, search for online training opportunities to increase your skills.
- Is God trying to give you time to slow down? If so, consider exploring a new hobby or pastime that you would typically never have time to pursue.
- Could your current heartache bring comfort to someone else in the future? If so, start writing down your experiences and what you are learning. Remember, pain is an inherent part of living, but God never wastes our pain.
- Take time to mind the moments.
- We often wish our lives away in anticipation of the next big thing. Ask God to open your eyes to the beauty of today and accept His grace to live in the moment.
Finally, commit to a daily praise habit. Praise realigns your focus, realigns your perspective, and strengthens you for the 7th step and beyond.