Faith

Just do it

Just do it.

That wonderful strapline, coined by Nike, that reminds me of my tendency to procrastinate at any given moment in order to avoid the inevitable. Why is it that when deadlines are looming I find an insuppressible urge to clean my house, when I should be dealing with an issue head on I prefer to chat it over with several girlfriends first, and when I need to kick a habit I find a valid reason to put if off for another week or two.

The reason? Because we all like to fight the system. We all want to throw caution to the wind and find our own path, this trait is inbuilt into the human race. We all think we know best and sometimes go to lengths to prove it, sometimes we straight up can’t be bothered to deal with what is in front of us.

Just do it.

Impulsiveness can be a blessing and a curse, for those who don’t think things through, they will know only too well how it feels to come out the other side more than a little bruised after jumping in with both feet. Our gut isn’t always as reliable as we like to think it is. But our God is.

In Deuteronomy 1:6-7 we read about the Israelites who are circling a mountain. This mountain, Mount Sinai, was a barrier to the Promised Land that God has given them. He has already led them out of Egypt with miracle after miracle, He has literally held their hands and gone ahead of them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He has talked directly to the Israelites through Moses, providing guidance, wisdom, food and water. Yet here they are again, facing a mountain and needing a miracle. They did not know how to confront it or overcome it, and rather than turning to God they turn to each other doubting, complaining and second guessing the One who brought them here.

I can relate to this. The Israelite people were tired. They had just escaped slavery, they had been travelling a long time, they had lost many of their own, and they were probably just about ready to collapse. Sure, they wanted the promises of God, but they weren’t ready physically or emotionally to proclaim His goodness and faithfulness. Despite the tangible presence of the Lord and the miracles they had witnessed with their own eyes, the final leg of the journey to the Promised Land seemed impossible, and the Israelites faltered. Mistake number 1.

To appease them Moses sent scouts ahead to scope out the land. The scouts came back, arms brimming with produce they had found, and eyes wide from all they had seen, yet the people didn’t see the produce or remember the promise. They heard the details of giants living in the land and fear struck their hearts. The Israelites doubted that God could both provide and protect His people and they immediately started complaining.
Mistake number 2.

God was angry with the Israelites and what should have been an 11 day journey turned out to be a 40 day wander in the wilderness.

Procrastinating got the Israelites nowhere fast, literally. They faced more battles, mores losses, more pain, more fears and more tears the long way round, whereas if they had just trusted God they could have hopped up and over that mountain and stepped into the promises that God had already orchestrated for them.

Half of our battle today is that we cannot see what is over the horizon, we only focus on the craggy peaks in front of us. Yes, there are mountains that we must climb, yes there will be slips and stumbles along the way, but if you God says just do it,

Just do it.

We need to be confident that the God who has His eye on the sparrow has His eye on us. He won’t let a single small bird fall to the ground, and He won’t let you fall either. He wants to spare you the wilderness walk and instead He wants to take your hand on lead you over the threshold. And the beauty of trusting God is that with when you reach with your hands He will reveal the next hand hold, when you push up off your feet He will reveal the next foot hold.

One step at a time.

If you are currently camped out at the foot of your mountain, it is time to pack up, move out and move on. Stop staring at the problem and start stepping in to your promise, and if you cannot see the promise for yourself, trust that God has already set it up and He is waiting for you to step up.

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Faith, Parenting

Can I help you with that?

“My do it!!” insisted my fiercely independent two year old son, as I tried to prize the Avengers backpack from his chubby little fingers. We had just been to the local park for a picnic and I had managed to keep the back pack away from my son’s eagle eyes by hooking it over the back of the pushchair on our way out of the house. Until now.

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You may be thinking, why not just let him carry his own backpack if he wants to carry it? It is his after all… The reason is that I knew that it was far too heavy for him. I had packed it to the rafters with drinks, snacks, wet wipes and other toddler paraphernalia in preparation for our park adventures, and as the bag itself is rather big for him anyway, I knew that the poor little mite would struggle to carry it further than a few metres.

IMG_4870Undeterred, my persistent son won his battle and I duly helped him to haul the overloaded backpack on to his little body. Buoyed by his success, he hopped along happily but within a few paces he began to struggle with the backpack, wanting to reposition it on his shoulders as it constantly slipped on and off.

A typical (and unashamed) helicopter mom, I hovered behind him, continually trying to step in to help my son, offering to take the bag or at the very least shorten the straps so that it fit him better, much to his dismay. On occasion he would concede and pass me the bag, only to regain his strength a short while after and try to take it back again. I found myself getting more and more frustrated as I watched him refuse my parental wisdom and offers of help only to see him visibly struggle a few more steps before being unable to carry it any more.

God whispered to me, “Precious daughter, that is how I feel with you.”

I stopped dead in my tracks, watching my son soldier on and felt tears burn my cheeks as God reminded me of his promises in the Word;

‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you’. Jeremiah 29:11

“You know that I have your very best interests at heart, please trust me my sweet girl,” God whispered, “I know the burdens that you carry and I know that they are yours, but you cannot carry them alone, so won’t you let me help you?”

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Gazing at my son, happily oblivious to mommy’s God-conversation, my spirit alert, heart softened and eyes shining with tears, I thanked God right there and then, that despite my protestations and endless quest for independence, he has never quit loving me, never stopped asking, ‘Can I help you with that?’

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God loves you and I more than we will ever know or comprehend. He loves us exactly as we are, right now, imperfect and impossibly independent. We have spent a lifetime living OUR way when all along we should have been living YAHWEH. God has a plan to give us a purpose, a destiny, a hope and a future, and that will mean addressing issues and bearing burdens along the way. But God never intended for us to do life alone. He promises to never give us more than we can bear and He also promises to help us carry it.

I love The Message version of 1 Corinthians 10:13:

All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit.

Just like I knew as a mother that my son’s backpack was too heavy for him, so too does our heavenly Father know what we can and cannot bear.

What is in your backpack today? Are you carrying the weight of a shame so heavy you feel it is dragging you down? Are you battling with a sin or an addiction that you have carried around for far too long? Do you bear the burden of unforgiveness, past decisions you have made or circumstances that were beyond your control? Do you cling to the grief left with you when your loved one left you? Are you tired of struggling on each day, fighting to place one foot in front of the other as you constantly reposition your load?

Jesus said; “Come to me all who are weary, for my burden is easy and light” Matthew 11:28

If you will trust him, and listen to his gentle pleas to help you today, Jesus will stand with you and shoulder the weight of the load you bear. He didn’t promise an easy ride, but he did promise a life-long road-trip companion. Please don’t fight the still small voice urging you to quit trying to do things in your own strength. Don’t wait until your arms are so sore from struggling that you cannot lift them up to ask for or even accept the offer of help any more. Please, please take a moment today to stop a while, reassess what you are carrying and take a load off at the foot of the cross.

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