Small Steps of Faith
For as long as I can remember, I have been an extreme planner. This has served me quite well in a lot of ways. I stay organized. I like to think I get into less jams. And I have a knack for thinking through the small details, as well as the larger processes. Years ago, though, I learned that I cannot out plan God. I have experienced a handful of major moments where God shook my road map like an Etch A Sketch and suddenly, I was on a journey of exercising my faith, with my plans erased, taking one prayerful step at a time. If I'm honest, these have been the most exciting, faith-fostering seasons in my life. It is easy to come up with a nice layout for what we will be doing in 6 months, 3 years, and in the next decade, but your plans may not actually align with God's plans for you. Keep an open mind and a listening ear for the gentle nudges of His Spirit. I don't always know exactly what God has next for me, but I choose to take life one wise step at a time. Baby steps, actually.
When I read the book of Esther, I can't help but wonder what it must have been like for her as she put her life at risk. She had no idea how God would save her, but she was taking it one faithful step at a time. I admire her courage and willingness to walk by faith and let God steer. Although most of us aren't ever going to be in situations where we put our very lives on the line, faith does call us to take some incredible steps, sometimes small ones, other times, giant leaps. Living a life of faith means that sometimes the journey won't be known to us. Sometimes, God will turn your plans upside down because He has something better for you.
Here's the truth: God doesn't owe us the big picture. Rather God promises that He has good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11), that He will never leave you (Deuteronomy 31:6), and that He works things together for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). These are the promises we can bank on. These are the promises that give us a foundation of peace, hope, and strength to endure. He will straighten out whatever it is you are going through. He already knows where you are headed. So let Him take the reigns.
We went through fire and water, but You brought us out to abundance. Psalm 66:12
This verse is one of my lifeline verses that I find comforting, and it's a breath of fresh air every time I read it or pray it. We don't have to be afraid of taking baby steps---whatever the circumstances may be---because it is always better to take God's lead little-by-little than fumble in our own mess. We don't have to be anxious as we wait for God's plan to unfold. We can trust that each step of faith is part of God's plan to bring us to a place of abundance. God is so intentional, He does not make mistakes, and He wants the best for each of His children.
We can learn from Esther how to practice our faith when we allow God to take the lead.
1. Pray and fast
2. Seek wise counsel
3. Be courageous
4. Trust God
As I continue taking one step at a time, not having all the answers or knowing the plans, I remember that God knows. I find hope by trusting that the One who loves me will continue to take me by the hand and lead me according to His good plans. This is what keeps me grounded in Him when the planner in me wants to take over. This is how I know that everything is going to be quite all right.
Psalm 23 is often cited when someone is on their deathbed, but I meditate on it now, grateful for the goodness of God. If you haven't read it lately, I invite you to read below, slowly, to soak up all the grandeur of such a beautiful testament to how God works in our lives.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
And all God's people said, AMEN!
Author: Pamela Palmer