Even If

I stared at the empty chairs and wondered if I should just cancel the rest of the study.  

I had known it would be a small group as spring sports and busy end of school year shedules were crunching time for many ladies.  Something inside whispered to keep going. Numbers were small, but this night no one came.

What if it was just a waste?  

Is it about you or me? The thought tugged audibly on my mind. 

I sighed knowing this struggle wasn’t about low attendance, it was about God.

The line of thought persisted, Will you continue?  Will you keep up, even if you don’t understand?

“Of course I will.” I mumbled to myself and tried to mull over the benefits of continuing.  

God asked for my obedience.  This word often causes us to inwardly cringe; debilitating our sense of glorious self.  Pride prevents surrender.

Our training ground may appear ordinary.  What can small attendance really teach me?  Make no mistake, purpose is nestled in seemingly small moments.

Was I willing?  Willing to stay the course whether people came or not?  Willing to part with my time without grumble or complaint?

But most importantly, was I willing to find beauty in the act of laying down my schedule to God, even if it didn’t feel like success?  

There are several scriptures which speak to our hearts about the importance of God centered decisions:

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin… Zechariah 4:10 NLT

The obedience in starting our task brings God joy, not perfection or worldly definitions of fufillment.

“What is more pleasing to the Lord:  Your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice?  Listen!  Obedience is better than sacrifice…” 1 Samuel 15:22 NLT

The obedience to your calling overshadows any version of spiritual “busyness.”  This moment, this calling, is wrapped up in our mindful presence…even if it appears empty.

God creates meaning and plans as only He can.

The next time you wonder about outcome in an uncertain assignment, ask these three questions:

  1. What is the specific reason I am dissatisfied with this situation? Be completely honest! Emotions can yank our thoughts into negative places.  Are you placing unnecessary focus on your feelings?  Are your expectations unrealistic?  Prayerfully work through these possiblities and see if they hold truth when examined.
  2. Have I looked to God’s Word for scripture to help me process?  Are you filtering your struggle through God’s word?  At times we bypass our greatest assessment tool!  So often measurement for success comes from our world.  Biblical perspective keeps us prioritizing God’s plan over imagined markers of accomplishment. 
  3. What is one positive I can take from my circumstances?  Finding the good in your situation may be difficult, especially if question number one unearthed insecurities or painful emotions. Finding an affirming aspect can change your mental game.

Whatever you are walking through, God cares for you and wants to use your everyday experiences as a training ground for your life.  The more we develope a willingness to be shaped into a Christ-like servant, the deeper our impact on the world around us.

How might God be shaping you through your current season of life?  

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