Yesterday, my thoughts were consumed with the idea of choosing what is easy over what is needed. I couldn’t shake this thought of sometimes giving in to what is easy rather than what I know God is stretching me to do. I was talking with someone at church about my recent trip to Africa and what I felt God had shown me and was maybe asking me to do and while it was all good, none of it was easy.
God oftentimes stretches us to do things He knows we need but aren’t necessarily attractive at first sight. He calls us to be a part of a church, but it’s easy to watch online and catch a few extra zzz’s. He calls us to community but it’s easy to withdraw and justify not needing relationships. He calls us to press into Him when it’s easier to complain that He isn’t moving. He calls us to submit to authority when it’s easy to complain about how we think things should be done. He calls us to forgive when it’s easy to give way to our anger and emotions. He calls us to discipline when it’s easy to spend a little extra, eat a little extra or gossip a little extra. Rarely, are the things that are easy ever fruitful.
As I mulled this thought over, I thought of the prophets like Jeremiah and Ezekiel…their call was a great one but they were not easy. In the first couple chapters of Ezekiel, God warns him that he would be ministering to a rebellious people and he shouldn’t fear. He further told Ezekiel that he should do what is asked of him rather the people listened or not. Whaaatt?? That sounds terrible. You have a vision from the Lord, He is going to use you but He lays out exactly how it’s going to look and it isn’t going to be easy or pretty. But nonetheless, Ezekiel obeyed.
I wondered, would I have pressed on to obedience or would I have been like, “Ummm, no thanks God. That doesn’t sound like it’s within my gift mix to do that. That sounds like I may have to deal with persecution, rejection and difficulties so I’m not really up for that…I’ll pass.” So many times I’ve prayed for God to use me yet found myself complaining in the middle of my challenge because He was in fact using me but it was hard, painful or didn’t look like what I thought it should. See, all God needs is a willing heart but one that is fully surrendered to Him and His plans. He doesn’t need one that is only willing if the benefits are to our standards.
God’s rewards for us are different and He decides how He will use each one of us for the betterment of our growth to become more like Him. Again, it’s easy to opt out of this process because then we can blame and complain because our dreams aren’t being reached and our potential isn’t being recognized. But what if, our unwillingness to be vulnerable, or to be stretched or humbled is the enemy’s way of derailing God’s growth track for us? What if we made a commitment to do the difficult, to live outside of our comfort zone and truly allow God to write our story? What if we laid our expectations of this life aside and intentionally decided to not do what is easy and live a life set apart? What if we followed God’s voice and not that of those around us?
Today, I encourage you…before you give way to your feelings and do what is easy, think a minute to see if this is an opportunity for God to stretch and grow you. If so, take a chance…commit to the process and take the road less traveled. You never know where you might end up 🙂
Have a great day!