Pleasant Places

doveI was beyond frustrated.  I could not fathom why it would take this long to hear back on a decision that seemed pretty easy to make to me.  When 5:00 pm hit, I completely felt the tension release and I was able to maintain a semblance of peace until the next morning, but sitting at my desk during normal working hours was a completely different story.  They are open; they are working; what is taking them so long?  I was obsessed, checking my email every five minutes.  This was wreaking havoc on my body physically.  There are two words that can sum up this sort of mental instability: control freak.

Somewhere deep inside I knew ultimately that I wanted and desired God’s perfect will in this decision, but my actions clearly reflected someone who did not trust or have faith in God’s decision for me.  I had asked for several prayer requests that God’s will be done, and yet I refused to lay it down and let it go.  My incessant need to be in control overtook my rational thinking and I was left feeling, well, ragged.   Discouragement set in, as did resign.  “Ok, Lord, I can tell that maybe this isn’t what you have for me.  So what do we do now?”  I started to change my prayer requests to having God’s peace, no matter what happened.  I was feeling quite foolish actually that I had let this one little blip on my screen consume me so much.  Was I going to exercise my faith or not?  It was a very big reality check in terms of who I was giving control of my life to.  I cried out to God that I really did want to be in the passenger seat, and yet I kept trying to reach over and hold the wheel.  Two people attempting to drive at the same time never reach their destination without some awkward and scary moments, if they reach the destination at all!

I am so thankful to God that He has placed much wiser women in my life.  One of which responded to my prayer request with “What if you really seek the Lord and He gives you a new destiny; one that doesn’t look anything like your current reality?  Are you ready for that possibility?”  Her words struck a chord within.  Just prior to this very frustrating and consuming issue in my life, I had been pleading with God in my quiet time to just use me as He saw fit.  To take me places I never even thought of before, and to use everything I had been through in my life for His glory.  And yet, here I was, exchanging that heartfelt God-given desire for something I knew instinctively would not satisfy me at my core and that had nothing to do with God’s calling for me.  I was trying to manipulate my circumstances to fit a fleeting emotional decision, rather than trusting that God would ultimately not take me somewhere that He had not already set up provision for.

There is something to be said about contentment.  “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6.  I had made plans with God, I was establishing myself in His will, or so I thought, until I let a seed of discontentment come in and stomp out my peace.  The thing about my Father is that He is ruler of all.  He has every resource at His disposal, so if my certain circumstances are not matching what I would like them to be, there is a reason for that.  I was exalting myself to places that I should not have, rather than humbly thanking God for everything He has blessed me with.  I have a morning routine that includes reading the daily devotional from Jesus Calling, and on this particular morning it made me stop in my tracks.  “When you are going through painful trials, it is tempting to blame Me because you know I have unlimited power to intervene.  However, I refrained from using that power to save Myself from brutal torture and execution”…“Call upon me when you are in the midst of trails, and I will be ever so near you – entering into your suffering.”  I had been living my life in such a way that I was trying to get rid of trials and struggles and when they did not go away, I got controlling, frustrated, irritated and quite frankly upset with God.  I knew He could change it if He wanted!  He could cause any of a number of things to happen in my life to relieve me from whatever was going on at the moment.  Upon reading this devotional, I was heartbroken, repentant.  How I had missed the sweet fellowship that comes when you lean on someone during the hard times, the bond that is forged.  I had missed out on the fact that in this life, I am to share with Christ not only in His victories, but in His sufferings as well.  My life is not meant to be easy and trial free, my life is meant to be abundantly full of God’s love, enough so that it pours out and splashes all of those I come into contact with.

I was reminded that God has a perfect plan for my life.  He knows me, intimately, far more than I will ever know myself.  I had been shaken, the scales that were blinding me from seeing clearly had fallen to the floor and God showed me myself, the places in my heart that still needed His divine touch.  I had failed to truly trust God in every facet of my life, not holding anything back.  I needed to fold up the “control” apron and put it away indefinitely.  Not only did I make a decision to move to the passenger seat, but I chose to move all the way to the third row seat in the back of the SUV.  That way, when fear grips me and I am unsure, I cannot attempt to grab the steering wheel from God’s hands.  Childlike faith; not Plan B faith.

I am choosing to live out one of my favorite scriptures right now, Psalm 16:5-6: Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

God alone is all that I need, He makes me secure, He sets the boundary lines for His will for my life, and those boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places.  Surely, I have a delightful inheritance.

Written by Jamie Stapleton

One thought on “Pleasant Places

  1. Wow! Very powerful words and thoughts! Truth does tend to stop one in their tracks. I am stopped and grateful. Thanks for the blessing.

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