put it in gear

waverunnerDo you have a decision to make?

  • Should I stay in this dead-end job or risk making a change?
  • Do I admit I was wrong or continue to bluff my way through?
  • Am I supposed to just endure or find a way to get away from this abuse?
  • How can I ever forgive this person?
  • What do you want me to do now, God?

I hear these questions like these all the time. Often, it’s me asking them, and asking them, and asking them. Over and over again, and I wait for something to happen–poof!–problems solved. I don’t want to do the inner work needed to choose one direction or another. I want God to choose for me and show the direction clearly so that everyone–myself included–can see that God provided this path for me.

So, I pray. I wait for an answer. I listen and look for his direction. And I can easily remain there for a long time. The key word here is “easily.” Whatever the situation: victim, poor, righteous, insecure…It’s easier to stay in it than move out of it. Fear of leaving what we know–even if it is hard and unpleasant–keeps us there.

Those of us who are stuck may look for God’s words for us in the text below:

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:5-8 (NLT)

But I’m human. Of course I waver, second guess myself, or wonder if I am doing the right thing! We aren’t given any guarantees in life. And wavering, I am tossed this way and that by the wind and waves of life. So, am I stuck here for the rest of my life?

TVW* parable:

You want to ride a wave runner, so you climb aboard. You put on the life jacket and a helmet, familiarize yourself with its mechanisms, and look across the water. Won’t it be grand to ride along on top of the waves? But the waves and currents push you in circles, and you don’t go anywhere. You try to aim the wave runner in a direction that piques your interest, but you can’t. It doesn’t respond.

Then someone explains to you, “You can’t steer the wave runner unless it is moving. You have to put it in gear, put it in motion, and then it is possible to steer.”

Putting it in gear and beginning to move–no matter what direction you are facing–is necessary to steer. If I want to ride the waves, I need start moving first.

  • I have to prepare, pray, and listen.
  • I have to choose faith and then move in it–put it in gear and start moving.
  • I have to look and listen for God’s voice and follow his direction as I ride the waves.
  • When I waver and stop moving, I get blown and tossed every which way.
  • Then I start over, choose to put in in the gear of faith, and start moving again.

*TVW parable: Tom Vander Well used this illustration in a talk on Sunday morning.Visit his blog (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com) to benefit from his wisdowm.

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