Chapter 14: Our Journey
This journey of walking with God is not always smooth. We experience a lot of hurdles and bumps in the road. There are times of confusion and disappointment. There are times of frustration and upset.
These are really normal. They are part of our experience as human beings.
Sometimes, especially when we are young in the Lord, we expect God to make everything great.
We think that if we walk with God then everything will go how we want it to go.
But this is rarely the case. Using God in this way simply reveals us as children and God as something we would like to use.
God does not fix everything for us. And the path he has us walk is not always smooth. It is how we learn after all and how we come to rely on him.
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 NLT
As we walk with God there are a few things we can do to come to greater understanding of God’s leading and guiding of us.
1. One is to have a bigger perspective than normal. With God we are able to step back from our own experience and lives and look at things from God’s angle.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts”, says the Lord, “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8 NLT
How does he see this situation? How might God be leading me through this difficulty? What might I learn from this?
“Joyful are those your discipline, Lord, those you teach with your instructions.” Psalm 94:12 NLT
There is not one wasted experience or situation in the Kingdom of God.
Everything is for our benefit and for our development. God is continually growing us and shaping us so that we can reflect Him more accurately and come to understand how much we are loved.
2. The second thing is to allow options in our thinking. We need bigger thinking. Life is not all one way or another. Often the Lord leads us in one way of thinking simply to get us to another spot.
God meets us where we are at and leads us from there. He knows that we cannot make leaps in growth or understanding.
“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding” Isaiah 40:28 NLT
And so while we may think that ‘A’ is the answer, he knows that ‘F’ is really the solution.
He takes us on journey’s of thought and practice to get us from ‘A’ (our thinking) to ‘F’ (his best solution).
This can be a disheartening journey. Often we don’t really understand where he is taking us. But that is okay.
“Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous and they will learn even more.” Proverbs 9:9 NLT
While his leading is not a guarantee of our best wishes, he knows better than us what we need and is intent on getting us there.
God has our best interest at heart.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
3. In this process he tests us again and again by having us lay down our desires. Just like Abraham laying down his son’s life on the altar, we are tested the same.
Though we have good desires and pray for outcomes that will bring glory to God he sets up situations where time after time our motives are tested.
“Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.” Psalm 26:2 NLT
Do we really want prayers answered for Him or for us? Are we looking to the best interest of others, or of ourselves?
God brings hurdles and roadblocks to our lives to test us this way. For he knows that with the wrong motives everything will come to an end.
“Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.” Deuteronomy 8:2 NLT
Our reasons for praying for this or for going after that must be refined and proven solid.
Only then is He glorified and do our lives have real satisfaction.
Through all of these things, 1) Learning to have bigger perspective, 2) Bigger thinking, and 3) Testing of our Motives, we mature and grow up.
Rather than little children who demand this or that, who cry out ‘But you said!’ we enter into a true partnership with the Lord.
“God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 NLT
We are wiser, we think differently, we pray differently, and we act differently.
God is in the people development business. God is intent on growing us up into spiritual adults.
We welcome your growth in us Lord. Thank-You.
Take some time to think about your life and ask the Lord to show you how he has led you to where you are today.
Each of our lives have undergone big changes from time to time. We have transitioned into who we are today, and many of these transitions have been marked by what we call life-markers. Life-markers are times in our history that we do not notice when we are in them, but looking back we can see them.
Not everything that occurs in our lives are markers of transition. We cannot count everything in this way. Yet, it is a good exercise to look back on our lives and see and make note of how our life has progressed.
Take some time before the Lord and with pen and paper. If you are 30 years old or younger, identify 5 life-markers. If you are 30 years or older, identify 8 life-markers.
A Life-Marker could be any of the following:
- an event in your life where you became a different person because of that time
- a time where you had to grow and learn at a fast pace for the circumstances
- a time when you had a thought or new understanding that changed the direction of your life
- a crisis that changed your life in some way
- a realization about yourself or about God that changed you as a person
You may have to begin by naming more life-markers than just five or eight, but narrow down your list to either five or eight life-markers, depending on your age.
As an example, here are my life-markers:
- accepted Christ at 6 years of age
- received the Holy Spirit and wisdom at 16 years old
- got married at 20 years and began having babies
- life fell apart from 30-35 years old
- began my inner healing journey in 2000
- hit by a car in 2005
- became single in 2009
- international launch of CCIM in 2011
Once you have your list of life-markers, look at each one and note 1-3 things that led up to that life-marker, and then note 1-3 effects of that time or event.
For example – For my 6th life-marker: ‘hit by a car in 2005’
leading up to this: 1. ignored a warning from God
ongoing effects since then: 1. my career changed because of my physical limitations 2. my kids lives and family life became different because of my accident 3. I began seriously writing 4. today I write for many around the world
As you can see in my own example, that getting hit by a car dramatically changed my life. While that event was traumatic at the time, it was definitely not all bad. In fact, that life-marker was a very important event in getting my life headed in the specific way that God wanted and with my becoming a more serious writer. The impact is continuing to this day with this course and other materials used by pastors and leaders in many places.
Now it is your turn:
- Make Your List of Life-Markers
- Note 1-3 things that led up to that life-marker
- Note 1-3 effects from that time or event
Questions to ask yourself:
- As you look at your list of life-markers what do you notice about your life?
- As you make note of the continuing effects from that time or event what comes to mind?
- As you look at your life-markers are you noticing anything new that you never thought about before?
- How has God worked through these things in your life?
Give Thanks to the Lord:
Even though our lives contain both good and bad it is a valuable skill to be able to give thanks to the Lord in all things. It is not easy to come through hard times and it is not easy to see God’s hand in our hard times. I pray that through this exercise that you have been able to recognize where God has been in your life. He is with us at all times even when it does not seem this way in the moments.
Take some time before the Lord to thank him for your unique life-markers. Thank him for where these things have brought you. Thank him for what he has taught you through them. Thank him for the continuing effects and the good that you can see from these things.
Finally, claim your life and all of its parts for the glory of God. Give praise to God for your life and dedicate it and yourself to him anew from this day on.
“God, I come before you today in thankfulness for my life and for your hand upon me. I see that you have been with me even more than I realized. Thank you. Today I claim my life for the glory of God and in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you Lord for the path you have had me on. Although it has not always been easy I give it to you and I ask that you would use my entire life for your glory and honour and for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. Thank you for giving me a part in your big plan for this earth and my communities and I give my life to your service in this. Amen”
Summary – our journey
We can ask God for bigger understanding of our lives. Isaiah 55:8
We take our thoughts captive to the purposes of the Lord. Romans 12:2
We accept the testing of the Lord (it proves we are his child). Psalm 26:2
We trust him for all we do not understand and cannot see. 1 Corinthians 1:9
We dedicate our lives to the glory of God. Romans 12:1