Be careful what you ask for. In a recent newsletter, my lack of motivation in this season was our topic of discussion. So many of you replied and resonated with the message I asked God to show me what He wanted next. I wasn’t motivated and wanted answers. Then I had a nightmare. Again, be careful what you ask for.
Finding my voice
Without going into the unsettling details, in my nightmare, I couldn’t scream for help. It’s a recurring theme in my bad dreams; a deep fear that when I need my voice to scream for help, it’s not there. No sound comes out when I try. It was happening again but then something changed.
My very audible screams for help suddenly awoke my husband who calmed and awakened me from the nightmare. As I finally settled down again to rest, God gently whispered, “you have a voice” and the tears began to flow. He was softly sharing His presence and how I have a voice to cry for help or anything else I need from Him.
In life’s darkest moments, I’ve always felt His presence. That hasn’t left, but recently my motivation and understanding of a clear path forward has been lacking. So I asked and am receiving. It’s a little fuzzy, but the more I ask and take time to listen, little things are coming into focus. Two more examples over the weekend helped.
Make a decision and do the work
My husband wanted to make a walking path in this little patch of woods on our property. We walked and slowly laid out a path. Sometimes which way to turn was obvious and other times we made decisions where the path would lead. In the unclear areas, some work needed to be done. A tree limb trimmed here, the ground smoothed there. He did some initial work and the next day our little path was suddenly becoming clear. It was like God saying, “want to know your path? Start where you are, make a decision, and do the work.”
Just keep paddling
Paddle boarding has become a favorite activity, but even on a relatively calm day, part of my path included paddling into the wind. While much harder than going with the wind, I’ve learned the best method is to just keep paddling. As I stroked into the wind seemingly making no progress, I thought of my former heart surgery patients and this year.
Years ago, when I’d walk someone the first time after heart surgery, it was a struggle. There was pain, plus all the tubes, IV poles, and other paraphernalia made the journey difficult. It was a process. But we’d focus on one step at a time. After a number of successful steps, I’d point out how far we’d come. Those one-at-a-time steps added up, just like my paddle strokes. It didn’t seem like I was going anywhere paddling into the wind, but I was. Which reminded me of this year.
2020 feels like paddling into the wind or walking after your chest has been sawed open. Difficult is an understatement. But we keep paddling and taking one step at a time. Making decisions, doing the things, even the little ones, move us forward. Knowing God hears our voice, even when it seems inaudible to us, is the key.
Be careful what we ask for?
God hears us and is gently speaking into our fear, pain, and the windy unknown. We simply need to ask. He’ll show us how to use our voices, paddle, and take those tentative steps when the path isn’t clear. These little God whispers (and screams) helped me come home from the weekend refreshed and ready to take more steps on an unclear path. So, let’s revise that first line. Let’s NOT be careful what we ask for. Let’s boldly ask for God’s direction and then look, listen, and be open to receiving His answer.