I’ve heard it said, and I’ve come to personally believe that it is incredibly freeing to not have pages and pages of requests as you come to the Lord in prayer. You find you peace when you don’t have a million back up plans (which seems crazy, but this is yet another a testament to how countercultural Christianity truly is). When I ask for the desires of the Lord’s heart that is when I find rest in Him. This is like Christianity 101, yet always a beautiful thing to be reminded of. I feel as though the Lord is telling me, “Don’t approach me with your own narrative for your life. I know so much more than you can imagine. Let me be the author of your story.” I need only live for today, so when I enter into prayer with requests upon requests, it’s really just a systemized form of doubting the Lord’s plan.
This past week Imago Dei had a great sermon which touched on the fact that when other people have happiness it shouldn’t take away from my happiness. I am called to rejoice when others rejoice (Romans 12:15), not be jealous of their circumstances or testimony. If I am prayerfully offering up myself to the Lord every day I can rest in the fact that I am living the narrative He has written for me. When I covet what a brother or sister in Christ is experiencing I am doubting what the Lord is doing in and through me.
This has really resonated with me as I prepare to move back to Michigan. I know that Grand Rapids is the city I am supposed to move to next, but I’ve been viewing it purely as a transitional city. As if my ministry will really began as soon as the Lord brings me to the mission field in a foreign country.
In actuality though that is poisonous thinking; my ministry begins every morning- whether I’m in Portland, Grand Rapids, or Cambodia. The Lord has not pressed pause on my life until He figures out where to send me- He has sent me! Jim Elliot wrote, “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” My prayer is that I live to the hilt this next year. Even if it seems mundane to live in the city I was born in, or sad to have a factory job, or stupid to not be finishing up school. Because doing anything other than what the Lord tells me is the mundane, sad, and stupid thing. I have the resources, ability, and time to grow in the Lord in this next year. I am tired of coming to the Lord with a list of requests for the direction of my life, it’s just too draining. My life and ministry already has a direction and if I, through negligence, refuse to grow or serve while at the home front what makes me think I’ll be prepared for the mission field? I am in danger of being stagnant and useless when I buy into the lie that real spiritual work begins when I am out of my country or comfort zone.
Eric Knox in the Compelled by Love sermon series said, “Doing God’s will is just figuring out what He’s doing in the city and jumping in.” I love that. It’s so immediate. Doing God’s will can be done today in every city, because God is working everywhere. God does not require my list of suggestions for what I think I should be doing. He requires only a willing heart, a steadfast spirit, and the readiness to say “yes” to Him in every circumstance and setting.