For the past couple of years, the Lord has been leading me on a journey to a new pasture. I first wrote about this journey last January (www.7sycamorelane.com/post/pastures), when I sensed the Lord was leading me away from the flock, my dependance on others, so I would learn to depend on Him alone. I sensed He was going to ask me to step out in faith financially, to trust Him to provide. I sensed He was asking me to surrender my plans, schedules and dreams, to teach me to respond in obedience, without hesitation, to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
In early 2021, when my current employer was not awarded the follow-on contract, I knew the time had arrived: the Lord was closing the gate to my familiar: a long, financially-secure government career. So when the new employer decided not to make a job offer, I had perfect peace. The Lord had been preparing the way for me to walk away, financially and physically. In June, I ended my career and transitioned to retirement. Although I have had some major unexpected expenses, not once have I been anxious about my finances.
However, trusting the Lord to provide financially has been the easy part of my transition.
I have been chased by fears, frantically running the fence line of this new pasture. I’ve been trembling, paralyzed by the threatening giants of worry and anxiety, dread and disappointment. I’ve cowered in the shadows of the foreboding mountain of What-if. I’ve wallowed in muck and mire of perceptions and expectations.
My father’s unexpected death in October magnified my fears, worries, and anxieties. I am a fix-it girl and I have desperately tried to fix things. I have been carrying burdens that I assumed were mine to carry. I have been struggling when my suggestions are disregarded. I have been anxious with decisions made. I want good for those I love, yet I must accept that the definition of good is not the same for everyone. I was an emotional mess.
Recently, when I was over at my family’s house, in an attempt to disrupt the energetic, uncontrolled play of their two black lab puppies, I caught the smaller one. I instructed him stop and sit at my feet; he did, albeit reluctantly. He didn’t resist my affectionate neck-rubbing, but no matter how much I talked to him, he refused to look at me. Finally, I took his snout in my hand and held it firmly inches from my face. At first, he kept his eyes diverted, but eventually he gave in and looked at me with me pathetic eyes. When I offered words of affirmation, his tail began to wag and he fidgeted in excitement. I held tight. I wanted him to want to listen to me and obey my instructions.
I realized I was just like Junior…and the Lord was holding my chin firmly in His hand.
He was lovingly disrupting the unhealthy cycle of my energy-consuming, peace-stealing efforts. While my intentions were sincere and good, I was meddling with responsibilities that did not belong to me. I needed to sit still, focus on my Shepherd, listen for His voice and obey His instructions. I want to want what what my Shepherd has for me.
And I knew to do so meant I needed to change the way I make choices. My choices affect every area of my life, and, ultimately, indicate what I think about the Lord.
Will I run in fear or choose to rest in the presence of my loving God?
Will I tremble at the giants or choose to surrender every battle to the Giant-Slayer?
Will I cower in the shadows of un-moveable mountains or trust the Mountain-mover?
Will I wallow in tainted perceptions and unrealistic expectations or surrender them to the Lord?
Will I retreat in fear of the unknown or storm the castle with godly confidence?
Will I trust my flawed feelings or believe God’s Word?
Will I live in fear or choose to live in faith?
From now on, I will intentionally choose to live in faith and keep my eyes on Truth. I choose to listen and obey.
I know when I choose to trust my Shepherd, in all decisions and all situations, then I can safely run the fence line of my pasture…with excitement and anticipation.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you! ~ Isaiah 26:3