What am I going to do?
I ask myself this question about this same time every year. It’s the middle of summer. Activities have slowed down a bit, we have had more family time, the church schedule is a bit slower, and other commitments have been put on hold for a couple of months. During summer, we inevitably either slow down our activities a bit or we move.
Either way, the coming of fall will bring a new season of activities.
So I ponder. What is it the Lord would have me do in this new season? Does it look like last year or a bit different? Do I need to do as much or maybe not quite so much? Am I plugging into the right places or should I do something different?
Just like everything in life, God has a plan and purpose for this season, too. I want to be smack dab in the middle of it.
I don’t want to simply survive the next season. I want to thrive in it, to live wholeheartedly where I am, doing exactly what He has asked of me, no more and no less. I want to finish the season with no regrets because I have done just that.
Mid-summer is a great time to be intentionally looking for what God is doing around me and praying specifically for His guidance as we enter these next few months.
No doubt I will show up at the big kick-off event in August, with all of the clubs and organizations there, and think I need to help with everything or my children will be severely disadvantaged because they haven’t done everything from scouting to art class and music lessons to sports. I need to be prepared.
I want to thrive through this next season and not just be surviving by October. So, how do I get there?
Well, He simply asks me to be ALL IN. That’s right – ALL IN.
Not ALL IN meaning involved in everything I am qualified or capable of doing. Not ALL IN by engaging my children in every activity available. Not ALL IN through commitment of each moment of my days.
He wants me to be ALL IN with Him. To thrive in this season and the next, He simply asks of me two things:
- Obedience: At Planting Roots this year, we’re defining obedience as “doing what God calls us to do.” The Blue Letter Bible gives us a little more explanation of the biblical meaning: “In its simpler Old Testament meaning the word signifies ‘to hear,’ ‘to listen.’ It carries with it, however, the ethical significance of hearing with reverence and obedient assent. In the New Testament a different origin is suggestive of ‘hearing under’ or of subordinating one’s self to the person or thing heard, hence, ‘to obey.’”
Through both of these definitions, we come to the conclusion that obedience includes hearing God (having a conversation and relationship with Him) and doing what He says (being submissive to His will over and above anything we want or desire).
Obedience first and foremost starts with recognition of who God is and what He has done for us and becomes a growing relationship.
Second John 6 says, “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.” It is a matter of love, His love for us first and our response of love to Him. To truly thrive in this season and the next, we must first be obedient.
- Courage: Planting Roots’ definition of this is to obey with our whole heart. We all know that half-hearted obedience is not really obedience at all. The Bible Hub gives the words bold and confident as synonyms for courage. I think that defines it well.
Acts 4:13 is one of my favorite verses. It says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” I love this because it reminds me that being truly courageous in my walk with the Lord doesn’t require a degree or title. It requires a relationship.
The people watching Peter and John realized they were just ordinary guys serving an extraordinary God. The relationship made the difference in them. It is what makes the difference in me.
So as we prepare for this next season, being faced with decisions of how we use our time and talents, I pray that we will be obedient and courageous. That we will seek the Lord first of all and then follow with our whole heart wherever He leads.
The legacy we leave, the picture people see, is not about us, but about Him. It’s not about accomplishing gigantic things or having worldwide impact.
Obedience and courage are about doing the things God asks of us each day and allowing Him to string those acts of everyday obedience together and create an extraordinary legacy because we have followed Him.
He can do that.
He has a plan for this season and the next. Are we following? Are we determining our priorities by our relationship with the Lord or are we comparing ourselves to expectations of the world around us?
Spend time with Him, seek Him, follow Him, and rest. It’s all that He asks.
Obedience and courage, my friends. Through those two simple things, God can use us to impact a world. I’m ALL IN – are you?