It’s the beginning of a new year and I don’t have a word, a detailed plan or written goals. I’m more confused than I was 3 weeks ago about next steps in my life. I’m praying about what I should do today and am overwhelmed and exhausted.
Are you like me and praying for guidance, direction and the revelation of next steps? Like you, I want to be obedient to God’s will for my life and expand His Kingdom as I walk out His plans for me.
But the voices of anxiety creep in and sound something like:
- What if I miss my next step?
- What if I don’t live up to the full potential God has for me?
- What am I doing that makes any real impact, like her?
- What if I’m missing His plan completely?
- What if I’m letting fear dictate my actions and I don’t even realize it?
I’ve been praying about what to DO, when instead I should have been asking Jesus to help me become WHO He created me to be.
When I am WHO God tells me I am, then I can be and do His will.
He doesn’t need me to do anything for him, only WITH him. He gives clarity and direction in the perfect timing. God doesn’t want any response to His love that isn’t rooted in love — like comparison, hustle to be the first or best, shying away from my calling, a name for myself, striving to save the world or anything done out of fear.
The One who holds today and all the plans for all our tomorrows, wants us to BE with him. To follow Jesus so close our breath is on His neck. You won’t be a able to tell when His footsteps end and yours begin. When He pauses, you can pause, too. When He rests, you need to rest, too. When He gives you a look of confidence that pours courage into your heart, you can do the unthinkable thing – big or mundane – He asks of you for the Kingdom.
You don’t have to be prepared or educated or have a detailed plan; you can be filled up with God’s Spirit. In Acts 4, “Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them. . .” about who Jesus really was. Then the “members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men who had no special training. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:8-13
I want to be recognized as a woman who has been with Jesus, my life overflowing from His presence alone. I’m sure you do, too. Then, others will be amazed by what God is doing, He will use me to expand his kingdom and God will be glorified. Isn’t that what we really want as God’s daughters?
It’s easier to have lists and goals than to have our life and identity be an open palm process. We can move in Jesus, waiting on the Spirit’s leading, stepping into obedience. This kind of life is always in season, bearing fruit and being pruned, full of adventure and patience, longing for the miracle and telling the stories of God’s wonders.
If we could focus on WHO – the Jesus in us and who He’s making us into – then the DO will come without figuring or wondering. A beautiful life will unfold that we don’t have to push or pry or agonize over. Then, who we’ve become will be all about WHO did the work in us and through us – Jesus.
Let’s be human BEINGS, more focused on our identity and whose we are, not what we do.
Jesus calls everyone to turn from their sins and BE saved.
Jesus empowers with the Holy Spirit to BE disciples.
Jesus teaches his disciples to BE fishers of people.
Pray to be filled up to overflowing by the Holy Spirit. Allow His presence to take over. As His Spirit then flows over into the world out of you, then you are WHO He says you are and you’re doing exactly what He wants.
“I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” Psalm 16:8-11 NLTLeave a Comment
Rebecca Jones says
It has always been my prayer to be who He wants me to be and do what He wants me to do, but I really can do nothing for HIm or without Him.
Michele Morin says
This reminds me of the times when my kids were all little, and I felt buried under tasks and activity — so I would choose a day and write “BE” in my planner. On that day I would BE the kids’ mum, and try to find time to BE a child of God and my husband’s wife. It always felt so liberating. Maybe it’s time for me to do that again . . .
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
It’s kind of ironic, but when I look back, I find that my purest “sweet spot” with God was when I couldn’t “do” anything at all. I was recovering from yet another surgery and I literally couldn’t walk for 2 months. I did a lot of sitting on the couch….a lot of reading His Word….a lot of meditating on it, praying through it, and basically just being in God’s presence. I couldn’t run anywhere and do anything FOR Him, I simply was WITH Him. That time has helped me to see, beyond a doubt, that it’s ALL about the relationship. More than anything, I believe that God’s desire is to have my heart and my undivided attention. As I have to work and hurry though my days now, I look back at that time with a special fondness and try to capture that relationship in my now, busier days. Great reminder that we are human “beings” not human “doings”!!
I love your comment that we are ‘human “beings” not human “doings”‘ – I have always loved the notion of ‘being with’ as opposed to ‘doing for’ – especially during my 35 year career as a nurse – oh the healing that can happen in those intimate moments of ‘being with’ – I am ever-so-grateful that Heavenly Father called me to be a nurse – and, now that I am retired, I am even more grateful that I can spend every morning ‘being with’ Him – reading His word and strengthening my relationship with Him – blessings, Deb xo
Martha McNeal says
What an outstandingly timely word of encouragement for this season of our lives. Fit for any season let us be as we trust God with all of our hearts and lean not on our own understanding, acknowledging Him all we say and do, and He will make our path straight. Let the expectation be for more of Him and less if us in who we are becoming in Christ Jesus our Lord. We live and move and have our very being in Him. It’s all about Him.
Kathy Cheek, Devotions from the Heart says
I am learning how much more important it is to Be Who God made me to be and allowing Him to transform me, because if I don’t, the world presses in and tries to make me something I am not. Even the Christian community will sometimes push us into a mold that isn’t meant for us and we have to be discerning to how God is leading.
God knows us and knows what is best for us!
Wonderfully said and need what you said so much!
Praise our Lord for Who He is and all He has done and all He will do!
Thank you for articulating and clarifying our purpose and giving direction for our hearts, minds and souls.
Iria Calderhead says
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am starting a new journey. My mantra is “Be Still and Know…”, but being a single mom with two kids (one being a teen now!), I’m DOING all I can to get by. I had lost sight of just BEING. Thank you for the reminder to pray to be so overflowing with the Spirit that His presence takes over and touches the world around us! God bless!!
Becky Keife says
Iria, you are a warrior, mama! I have so much respect and compassion for the hard road single moms travel. (I was raised by a single mom and my sister is one too.) Even as a married woman, I find myself often caught up in all the doing with and for my kids. I love the mantra of Be Still and Know that God has given you. Praying you feel the Spirit’s power and presence in you and with you this week. Your kids are so blessed to have you.
Beth Williams says
Being a single mom isn’t easy. Praying for discernment for God’s guidance for you and your children. May He give you the strength you need to carry on daily. Prayers also that you can find time to “Be Still” & rest in the knowledge that He loves you & has plans laid out for you!
Gretchen Matthews says
Thank you for this. It’s exactly what I needed to hear today. I’ve been suffering from self-imposed “must-dos” for quite some time, rather than allowing the Lordto work in me, and it’s coming out – in my writing, and relationships, and spiritual life. I feel disconnected from my truest self – my best version of myself – the person I am called and created to be. Your words are a balm to my spirit. Thank you.
Thank you Stephanie for your sharing this morning – Oh how easy it is to lose sight of just “being with” Him – I had always thought that I had given up full control to God, but in early December of last year, I came to realize that indeed I had not – it was soon after that pivotal moment in time, whilst singing with great enthusiasm – O Come O Come Emmanuel – that He indeed topped me up, so to speak – I am so “overflowing [with] the Holy Spirit” – I refer to the experience as “freedom 59” – allowing “His presence to take over” – simply “being with” Him – “[walking] out His plan for me” – Psalm 46:10 states this so well – BE still and know that I am God… blessings to all xo
Robin Dance says
I thought of another BE when I read your list…BE STILL and know… 🙂 (Annnnd….I just noticed Debra had mentioned that, too…maybe more commenters, but I see that above where I’m typing now. Great minds? 🙂 )
Stillness isn’t passive, though, is it? It takes restraint and intention or, at least for me, it doesn’t happen. Your post is such a lovely reminder that it’s about Jesus, always. For me, I’m hopeful to learn what it means to be low, humble, more of Him, less of me. My ugly self has been incredibly self-reliant, and let’s just say that hasn’t worked out so well.
Anyway, looking forward to hearing what these things are that God is bringing into your life in this season. OYTO, sweet friend!
Nothing I can DO will ever be greater than WHO Jesus is!
Kim VanPoucke says
This was awesome. Thank you. Especially like that you mentioned it is easier to have lists and goals than to have our lives and identity be an open palm process. I love those moments when I didn’t know where my footsteps ended and His began. Those moments werent part of my list or goals or my ‘to do list that’s for sure!
Thank you again,
Stephanie, thank you for your words of encouragement to abide in Christ. I’ve been focusing on what I should do next rather than being with God. So I needed this; I’m grateful.
This was literally so point on with what God has been doing in my heart. Thank you for putting it into words. Identity, BEING in His presence, not just DOING what I think is required of me as a Christian. Learning WHO and WHOSE I am and leaning into that place of intimacy where I am known and He is revealed in all His beauty and glory. That’s where I want to be!
Thank you for sharing this morning! Blessings.
I love this ❤️ It’s when we abide in the Vine that the fruit just naturally flows. I know this in my head but sometimes it can seem so hard to just BE still and let it flow down into my heart. Time for me to stop doing and start being. Thank you for this!!
K James says
Thank you. Today is a day of weariness and weight. I feel burdened with what to “do” concerning the salvation and reconciliation of my siblings and childhood friend. As you stated I must choose to focus on WHO-the Jesus in me is making ME into-then the DO will come without figuring or wondering.
I have been figuring and wondering for 3 years now, I am worn and tired. I too want to be obedient to Gods will for my life and expand His Kingdom. You are right about the creeping anxiety, horrible! From this day forward I choose Jesus and will trust Him to DO, figure out His will in the lives of my siblings and childhood friend.
Amen. Thank you, Stephanie. ♥
Joey Rudder says
I think God has been working on breaking me out of this “doing” shell of mine for years. I think I’m like a nut (with the shell) that God has been tapping on, ever so gently. If I don’t stop and focus on Him, on that gentle tap, I just keep rolling along my own merry way, doing, doing, doing. But God is faithful and He keeps tapping, and He keeps showing me through the cracks of my shell glimpses of Him and how peaceful it is to be with Him; to not be tossed around inside this aggravating shell by all my doing. Unfortunately, I’ve got these snapshots pinned to the wall of others shaking their heads and looking down on me for following the odd-ball, “there’s no money there!” path of writing when I was younger and then as a stay-at-home mom (“You must be nuts quitting your job to do that!” Maybe that’s where the “nut” idea came from!) I think I stay hidden in this shell so those comments or looks won’t reach me. But I realize every time I roll away and do my own thing, I’m moving away from God and the cracks begin to close. I’m missing out on His light and who I get to be: His child bathed in His perfect light. And I think about John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” So really, in all my doing and rolling around, if I’m apart from Him, I’m not really doing much of anything.
It’s time to be still, know that He is God, and I am His child. No more shell.
Thank you for this post, Stephanie. This helps me more than you know. God bless you.
Becky Keife says
“He doesn’t need me to do anything for him, only WITH him.”
Amen, sweet friend. That is so much of what the Spirit has been whispering to my heart. Thank you for sharing so beautifully from yours and encouraging us to walk (or sit) in the power and presence of God. I only want to do and be where He is with me.
Love this! ❤️ Thank you!
Beth Williams says
Such timely & wise advice. This world clamors for doing not resting. Resting equates to lazy. God’s theology turns this world upside down. He wants us to “be still” & know. Bonnie Gray writes in “Whispers of Rest” that we need to quiet our souls to hear God. We can’t be who God wants us to be if we don’t listen for His still small voice. This takes practice to be still & tune out this noisy world. Bonnie also mentioned taking a walk in nature to just “be with” God. When we refocus our efforts from doing for to being with & Who God wants we will be able to hear & discern His will for our lives!! OYTO!!
What does OYTO mean?
Kim B Smith says
Thank you for this, as I read this I am in tears, wondering, am I missing His plan for me? Do I smell, because sometimes I feel He forgets me. What are my next steps?
I will shift to asking God, Who do you want me to be? (This is a hard one, I feel like I’m being controlled) I really want to partner with Him and follow him, let him light the path, to be obedient to His amazing plan.
Doing so I feel I wander….