When we hear someone say they are “taking a leap of faith” or “stepping out in faith”, you think of a forward motion.
They are moving toward something new or different…changing careers or leaving a great job to stay home with the kids or moving to a new town or going back to college. While all those things are about change and leaving something or someone behind, you have a sense that you are going forward.
But have you ever thought about stepping BACK in faith? You have your goals and your plans for what is next in your life…a certain career, playing a sport you love, getting married to the person you think is THE one, buying a new house…We all make plans; some big, some small.
But what happens when all of sudden God says “No”?
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 NIV
So many times, Brian and I have made plans only to have God move us in a different direction. Always that direction still felt like forward motion. The goal was sometimes the same and sometimes it changed, but the movement was still forward.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NIV
Twice this week, for the first time ever, I felt like God was asking me to step BACKWARD.
Not turn around and move in the opposite direction.
Not stop moving forward and move sideways.
No, I had to step backwards and WAIT.
My eyes are still focused forward, but my feet have moved backward.
Whether it is my “gypsy foot” or truly God’s urging I haven’t yet determined, but I feel like we will be moving on from our current place. What that looks like I don’t know. It could mean moving across the country or it could just mean staying in the area, but moving to a new community. God hasn’t cleared that up for me and it has been so frustrating.
However, this week I felt like God was telling me to step back. Still have faith in his plan and in this “feeling” I have, but take a step BACK and WAIT. Not only was he saying to step back and wait, he also said I may have to wait two years to find out his answer. Daniel graduates in two years. It makes sense not to make a change until he is done, but why this constant feeling that change is coming? I have been living with this feeling for a couple of years. Now, I may have to live with it for a couple more?!
I step back and wait…
And for the first time since I started having this “feeling” of moving on, I’m at peace with waiting.
Obviously, God thought that wasn’t enough of a jolt, because he asked me to step backwards again.
Since Brian started his PhD journey, we had planned to take the whole family over to England for his graduation. We had told the kids the plan, gotten the passports, planned the sights to see, built up sky miles.
Then we sat down to look at flights and hotels and everything came to a crashing halt.
Nothing was coming together. Prices were going up every time we looked, figuring out scheduling while over there wasn’t coming together smoothly. We were both so frustrated and getting more frustrated the longer we tried out different scenarios. So, I decided to stop and go get a shower. It was getting late, I was tired, I needed a break.
Then, the thought came to me…
Maybe we need to step back and pray about whether or not we are really supposed to go.
Well, honestly, I thought “I don’t want to pray about it because what if he says no.” We already told the kids we were going. They would be so disappointed. How can we back out now? If I don’t ask, he can’t tell me no.
So, after my own private little pity party and
“I don’t wanna” foot stomping…
I took my shower and started praying, realizing that in all these years of PhD work we had never really prayed about taking the kids in the first place. Or, at least, I hadn’t.
It was the plan. We had a plan. We were moving toward the plan.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 28:11 NIV
We often stop at verse 11. But, oh there’s more…
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 12-13 NIV
Did you catch that last part? We have to seek with ALL our heart. When we seek with ALL our heart, we will find his true plan. I believe that means we have to truly want to know what his plan is and be willing to do what he asks us to do.
Even when we don’t like it. When it’s not part of our plan. When it’s hard or even scarey.
It took a few days of stepping back, praying, watching, and listening, but we finally came to the realization it was not God’s plan for us to take the kids to England at this time. We are still planning a celebration trip, but we will be staying state side. Although disappointed, the kids have already moved on to figuring out where we will go instead.
So, we are still moving forward, but in a different direction than we planned.
We just had to take a step BACK and WAIT and PRAY with ALL our heart in order to figure out where to place that first FORWARD step .
Is God calling you to take a step back in faith?
Living thru faith,