A Step in the Direction of Obedience

We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NLT

A number of years ago I was working at a television station and becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the 'fluff' of it all. I liked the work, but I didn't LOVE it.

At the same time I was working with the youth at our church, and that's where my heart really was. I found myself saving all my vacation time to counsel at camps or go on other activities. I'd begun praying about how I might be able to find a full time place in ministry--preferably youth ministry.

So when a guy in the college group approached me to meet with an evangelist who was wanting to start a Christian broadcasting ministry, I was less than enthusiastic.
  • I didn't want to be a missionary.
  • I didn't want to be working in broadcasting any more.
  • And if I were going to do either of those, South America wouldn't be my first (or second or...) choice place.

But, one of the important lessons I'd learned from my mom was that when God seems to be opening a door, we just need to keep taking steps until he either leads us through or closes it.

So I took several steps. I had an initial phone call with the evangelist to discuss my background and their plans. I made a trip to his home, 4 hours away, to be interviewed by several members of the team. All the while praying that if this was what God had for me, that he would make me willing. At that moment I wasn't willing to go; but I was willing to be made willing.

Talks continued until the next step was for me to take a 3-week trip over to see the ministry. The one obstacle was that I didn't have 3 weeks of vacation to take from the TV station. I couldn't afford to quit to take the trip, so we prayed that if this was something God wanted for me, He'd open my employer's heart to letting me go.

By this time God had been working in my heart and I was actually kind of excited about the prospect of going. It was scary to think of heading off to a country with a language I didn't speak, to take on the enormous job of helping them find locations and determine equipment needs so Christian programming could be broadcast to the millions of new converts for whom there was inadequate churches or pastors available.

No one was more surprised than I that I was actually somewhat disappointed when my 'fleece' prayer to be able to make the trip was answered with a 'no.'

There are no last-minute twists to this part of the story. I didn't go to Argentina. The ministry had to find someone else to take on the job.

But I was changed nonetheless. Taking those steps in the direction of obedience might not have led me to a far off land, but they did lead me closer to God.

And in the end, God granted the desire of my heart and those faltering steps led me to a full time ministry with students just a few months later. (And irony of all irony, though I was initially hired as a "girls dean" to work with the boarding students, guess what I ended up teaching for 3 classes each day? Broadcasting! With God, even the things that look like a useless detour to us are part of the overall journey with Him.)

In some ways I'm in that same place again.

God has never released me from pursuing writing, even though a few years ago I really thought I was done. He's been prompting me to take steps again, and I've been trying to be faithful to that.

Just this week He opened a big door that puts me back in the camp with serious writers. It's not going to be ok to just talk and think and dream about it. I have to actually do it. It's scary and humbling and exciting all at the same time. But I'm going to keep going, one step at a time.

Is God leading you along a path of obedience? Are you following willingly or reluctantly? Antique Mommy and her friend Jennifer are doing an online Bible study using Lysa Terkeurst's book "What Happens When Women Say 'Yes' to God." I'm almost afraid to join because I'm a little scared of ending up back on "The Road to Argentina" again. But I will if you will...see you there?

1 comment:

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

That's awesome Mary! I'm excited for you, especially because you're sensing God's full direction in the matter.

I look forward to hearing more about your road in the days to come.


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