Our current sermon series at church is entitled "So...what are you going to do?". It's going to be several weeks spent studying the book of Nehemiah.
Today the thought that stuck with me is the patience of which Nehemiah began his task of rebuilding the city walls of Jerusalem. Even after he received approval from the king to start the task, he didn't just rush in full speed ahead. Even though he had the "hand of God" on him, he didn't just start the project. He went about with a spirit of humility. He took his time in getting his bearings. He slipped into the city quietly.
I personally could learn so much from that tactic. How many times do we hear God's voice say "Go!" and then take off running? Doing what He asks is EXTREMELY important, but do we wait long enough to hear ALL of the instructions. How many times do we start running without waiting to hear him tell us HOW or WHERE? Because we don't patiently wait for ALL of his directions, we end up frustrated, out of energy. Learning to listen discerningly is important otherwise we miss GOD moments. Once I'm to the point of being frustrated or lose my motivation, then the real danger starts. That's when I start the blaming God game. How many times have I thought or said "God, this isn't fair...you said to do this, but I'm not getting anywhere or it didn't work"? WAY too many times. How many times do I race out on a task, attempt to do it in my own power, and then ask God to bless the efforts AFTERWARDS?
Truly being obedient to God involves ACTIVELY listening for ALL of the directions. Enthusiasm IS a necessary component, but many times it is patience that is needed. It doesn't matter that what I'm wanting to do MAY truly be of God's will and His directing, but if I don't stop long enough to listen to Him at every single step, I tend to find myself at the point of frustration. What I am attempting to do may have started out along the right path, but if I'm not very careful I can find that somewhere along the line I stepped out of HIM guiding and into the realm of MYSELF. Other times I learn powerful lessons from the fact that some tasks He just wants us to START. He may at times only want us to open a door and then let HIM finish the work. I think that tends to be where I find myself most discouraged. Sometimes He leads me to start something, but the "finish" isn't immediate. The results aren't instant and my response becomes quite childish. I sulk or throw my hands up and say it isn't worth it.
I've found myself in many frustrating situations in recent months that deal with these same thoughts and today's message helped me see that having to WAIT for the next step isn't a bad thing. God has started me on a couple of paths recently and I've felt like He has left me alone and that at times has left me questioning if it was TRULY Him directing me and IF so, then where did He go. Today's message reminded me that He hasn't gone anywhere and that continuing to WAIT is the place He needs me to be. From my view point, I don't have the same vision He has and I can't see the whole picture yet. He can. I don't know why I'm being asked to wait for Him to reveal the next steps, but He does and when His timing is PERFECT and as LONG as I am listening, He will provide the next step in the process. After all, how many times has someone given us complicated directions....for example physical directions to a location or directions on how to complete a project but after the 2-3rd step we REALLY TRULY tune-out. Don't we tend to end up confused or decide OUR way might just be easier or have different results. Then of course, we tend to end up lost, frustrated, the recipe flops or the project falls apart. Yes, sometimes one step at a time might be exactly what God needs to give us! As a mother, I've learned that ifI need my kids to accomplish something, the best thing for me to do is to break it down into VERY small tasks. If I give them a whole list with more than 1 or 2 steps, I might as well just give up and do it myself. God knows that there are times that He needs to do that with me as well. So, for now, I don't need to focus on the end result but rather slow down and patiently wait for His next step to be revealed.