Sometimes in life, it feels like you are a bird flying into a raging storm, not knowing where you’re heading, but just that you have to continue on. And you have the choice to admit defeat and let go of hope or to blindly trust in the unknown and the power and goodness of a God we don’t always understand.
When we don’t know where we’re going or how things will end up, God is still good. Always profoundly, utterly good. And wherever we go, He will go, for He is always with us.
The dove that flew away from Noah’s hand didn’t know where it was going, but it still ventured into the darkness, risking coming back empty handed. And in our lives, God sends us on all sorts of journeys, some of which are torturously difficult, and some of which are absolutely wonderful. We are called to walk by faith and trust in our God that promises to provide.
Nevertheless, in the midst of our journeys, it’s too easy to get distracted, to stumble, and to wander off course. So when that happens, ask yourself these three questions to check your mind, your heart, and your faith.
1. Am I distracting myself by comparing my journey to other people?
Theodore Roosevelt wisely stated, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It can be dangerous when that subtle spark of envy pulls you into a state of dissatisfaction: we are warned in James 3:16 that where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. What are the thoughts you are telling yourself? Are they positive and uplifting, or are you caught up in all the ways you don’t measure up based on outward appearances and social media posts? God has us all on our own paths, so when you catch yourself bitterly comparing yourself to someone else, be intentional about focusing your mind on being true to yourself and true to your own calling.
2. Is my heart focused on myself or serving God?
When times are tough, we naturally want to have a pity party, shut down emotionally, be defiant, etc. Look at Jonah- God called him to minister to a people group he hated and he refused at first, which led him to spending three nights in the belly of a whale. God’s plans and purposes are so much bigger than what we can imagine. Regardless of circumstance, it’s so important that our hearts are filled with love and that we are intentional about loving God and loving others- when this happens we are better equipped to embark on the path God has prepared for us with clarity to see where God is working in our lives. When our hearts are pure and willing to put others before ourselves, we will be able to confidently and boldly proclaim, “Here I am, Lord, send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
3. Am I running away or standing stagnant, refusing to follow the path God has set me on?
Jeremiah 29:11 proclaims, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God loves us so much that he created amazing plans for each one of us; at times those plans will be clear and at times it may seem like our much-needed instructions have been washed away by the rain. Instead of freezing in fear of the unknown, allow yourself to be sent out through the stormy darkness because at the end of the journey you never know what paradise will be found. Surrender yourself to God’s purposes, He tells us to trust in Him with all our heart, leaning not on our own understanding, and He will make our paths straight.
When we lose faith in our journeys, ask God to remind you of who you are and the passions and purposes He has instilled in you. Write out your values and let those motivate your heart, your mind, and your faith to go and live out who you say you are and who you want to be. According to psychology, when there’s a disconnect between your values and your actions, there will always be an uncomfortable tension within you. So be real, be sincere, be bold in living out the purposes in your heart and the journey He has set you upon. It’s unimaginable what can happen when we are authentic and lay down our worry at the feet of our Father.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns — and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26.