When we ask God for something, we need to be ready and willing to receive His help. If it's important enough for us to get down on our knees seeking God's help, we need to honor that by being willing to do whatever He deems is our part. Sometimes He presents opportunities that blow our minds, other times He changes our course, and in response to many requests He gives us opportunities to hear His still, small voice directing us in one choice at a time that add up to a powerful change in our situation.
Such was the case for me today after asking God’s intervention in my weight gain that is becoming a health alarm. All day I felt God’s leadership in eat this, not that; that’s enough, no more; drink water instead of eat; your stomach doesn’t need more solids to digest right now; just one chunk of granola, no more.
His directions guided my eating choices all day; however, it wasn’t until I had finally called it a day and came in for the last time and just had to sit down before washing up to start preparing dinner. I was mostly exhausted and just a little bit hungry. I had piddled all day trying to transplant some arugula seedlings, so it’s not like I burned many calories. Still, I got down my jar of homemade granola and a bag of unsweetened chocolate baking squares, knowing I shouldn’t. I got one piece of granola and sensed God telling me that was enough before dinner. Yet it was so satisfying that I just had to have one more piece. Then I thought the chocolate would pair nicely with the flavor in my mouth. I ended up eating three bites of granola and three chocolate squares.
This doesn’t seem a sinful amount, but I didn’t need those 300 calories two hours before dinner. I wanted it but didn’t need it. It was after I had eaten more than I should that I acknowledged God had been leading my food choices all day after I prayed asking for His help. I had to ask for His forgiveness because I realized I had asked for His help and wasn’t willing to receive it. I pray that He will continue to lead my food choices and that I will be aware of and submissive to His leading in this and all matters.
One year ago I was slightly underweight at about 106 pounds. Today I cannot comfortably fit in most of my clothes and really don’t want to know what the scales would say. Last weighing in November, I was up to 123. I have likely gained ten pounds from then to now in late February.
I have increased my physical exercise 100% in the last year. A year ago I wasn’t able to do much at all. Though my physical exertion ability isn’t where I would like it to be, I will take all the wonderful progress God gives me.
I have cut down on my caloric intake these past couple of months in which I have packed on the butterball weight. My weight gain may seem trivial to some, but to me it is serious. Everything inside me feels so tight like I am about to burst from the inside out!
As I waited for the computer to come on to type this, I noticed my reflection on the black screen. Ugghhh! I have a double chin and face of fat combined with swelling that I don’t even look like me. I realize something funky is going on with my body—with hormones, metabolism, and who knows what else, but I know regardless of the cause that I must tackle this weight gain by reducing my intake and increasing my burn. So, that I have done and continue to do.
It dawned on me this morning that I haven’t petitioned God for help in this problem. I thank God everyday for rest, strength, productivity, and health, and I ask Him to increase all these so that I may better serve in His ministry. And I try to be the very best steward of all these. But I haven’t petitioned God, as we are instructed in Philippians 4:6.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
It seems trivial that I left out the petition (supplication) part. However, it isn’t trivial when we are clearly instructed to make our requests be made known to God. He already knows our needs, He sees our efforts, He hears our praises to Him, but it is also very important to request His blessing very specifically for our needs we clearly see. Once we have coupled prayer of thanksgiving and faith with supplication and we are doing our part, such as in my case, exercising and reducing caloric intake, then we leave the results up to God, knowing that He hears us and trusting that He is helping us.
I pray that each of us will always know, trust, and follow God’s leadership as He prepares us for the journey ahead.
I felt productive and bit proud this morning as I took packets of dry yeast and a bag of xanthan gum from the bag I had just picked up from our local Walmart. Having to eat gluten free and hoping someday to be able to digest the gluten in the wheat, I decided to attempt baking homemade gluten free sandwich bread rather than pay upwards of six dollars for a small loaf as I have done several times already. Deciding to bake bread gave me a sense of pride and stewardship.
I have struggled much with personal value since not being able to work. My comfort zone is being the person who gets things done regardless. For the past few years I have spent much more time in the sick zone than my comfort zone. The battle of not crushing the productivity markers is all too real for me. It’s a battle of pride that forces me to realize my worth is not in what I can or cannot do, but in Christ who redeemed me for His purpose. Daily I remind myself to be a productive steward of all Christ has entrusted to me while understanding that my accomplishments or lack thereof due to sickness does not change my identity in Christ.
It is important to be productive; however, our focus cannot be on the to-do list more than our Creator we honor by accomplishing the to-do list. Though I have always sought God’s direction and to honor Him in all my tasks, I was accustomed to saying with confidence that I could handle any task, putting more emphasis on my accomplishments more than the Creator who blessed me to accomplish. I sought to honor God, but honestly sometimes it was out of accomplishing things He didn’t give me yet I felt pride in doing.
When my ability to accomplish anything above existence and care for myself came to a screeching halt, I felt God was through with me. I became angry and bitter not being productive for God any longer. I could not understand why He allowed the sicknesses to take over my body, time, and ability to honor Him in all I love to do.
Not only did I not understand, but those around me didn’t understand either. That my loved ones lost confidence in me crushed me. It was like the last blow in a near-fatal fight. I felt completely useless and abandoned. Honestly, I felt damned. I felt that God had made me as some ill-fated soul to suffer misery.
Spiritual healing didn’t happen all at once but rather over a grueling couple of years of my seeking God and hoping I have purpose beyond my pain. I knew then any chance I had to hang on to life was to seek God. I immersed myself more deeply in His word and Christian music, recognizing and choosing to turn from every trick satan could conjure. Sometimes I felt there was only one fine thread keeping me from falling off the edge and ending my own life. That thread was God. Knowing He loved me beyond what I could see, hear, or feel right then kept me alive. Regardless of my feelings of abandonment and betrayal on top of my terrible physical condition, God was with me loving me and keeping me alive moment to moment.
I sought God for healing and for peace in my situation but continued to suffer. The confusion of others at my situation grew as did their misjudgments and gossip about me. Though I knew satan was using this as a ploy to draw me away from the only true life source, God, I struggled to not let thoughts of my abandonment and betrayal flood my mind.
Struggling to reconcile my situation with my identity and worth in Christ alone really helped me to more deeply understand in Galatians 2:20 where Paul says that he is crucified with Christ, that it is no longer he that lives but Christ in him. I felt as though I had lost all my identity, everything that made me who I was. It was in that void of value that I realized I am still a child of the most high King, created of love to be loved by God and to love others through Christ.
Philippians 4:8 instructs believers to think on good, not bad. The word used for “to think” in this verse in the original Greek is “logizomai” which according to Strong’s Concordance means to “reckon, count, charge with, reason, decide, conclude, think, suppose.” This encompasses all manner of thinking from when thoughts pop up to processing them and making conclusions or judgments that affect our behavior and ultimately our love we are to have for others.
Thoughts of others’ betrayal and abandonment wrought bitterness resulting in my ill thoughts towards them. Satan easily used my negative thoughts to foster disbelief of God’s love and purpose for me. I let satan have half an inch and he ran me ten miles.
Regardless of my physical health, I knew there was now a separate battle to be won in my mind. I chose to put away many thoughts that would pop up like weeds in my mind. I chose to only think on those thoughts which were true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praised my Lord. I admit that sometimes much effort was needed to form good thoughts and focus on them. Often good thoughts came when I would pray to praise God for who He is, sometimes with the help of a list of God’s attributes when my mind was too weak to think of them. Other times, I would thank God for His many blessings toward me in the past. Sometimes I would just pray thanking God for His existence and beg for His mercy. All these prayers helped to focus my mind on good things. Eventually I was able to thank Him for more specific blessings through people as the darkness began to fade. This discipline of thinking on only good things took my mind away from my situation which I felt was very grim.
God knows our needs better than we ever can, and He provides just what we need when we need it to become who He designed us to be. He makes us able to trust Him and seek Him, but ultimately we must choose to follow and believe even when we cannot see. It’s having our hearts and minds set on Him that gives us the strength to follow one step at a time. “My heart is fixed!” as the psalmist says in Psalm 57:7 and Psalm 108:1. It is this resolution which strengthens us in the Lord to live our very best possible life.
Today I still struggle much with physical health but not so much with my value as a person. I am known and loved by my Creator; I find my identity and value in Him alone. I still get frustrated at not being able to live as I planned doing much good, but that is when I must pray and thank God for His love and plans for me to get my thoughts where they should be. Every day whether I am able to make soup for elderly friends or I am too sick to accomplish much above my own existence and care, I have to focus on good things to make the best decisions every minute. I am so thankful that regardless of our situation or state of health, we can help others and honor our Lord.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Galatians 5:16-17)
The biggest possible blessing is God Himself, not the gifts He gives us. With that understood, notice how tenderly and with detail our great God works out the little things in life and shows His love for us through the kindness of others. He is concerned with every detail of our lives.
I have been sick for a long time and worse these past couple of years, but I love to work and be productive. Being too sick to even keep up my house and yard is the pits! Not having moved my car in quite a few days— I drove it twice in six weeks, it sat collecting sap, sooty mold, and whatever else fell from the trees. I have been too sick to get groceries as usual from my beloved Sprouts Farmers Market, so I utilized the blessing of the free pickup service from Walmart. It is truly a Godsend for groceries and other needs when you aren’t able to shop in the store for yourself.
Lying in the bed too sick to sleep last night, I planned my day ahead, hoping after the sun rose that my health would match my enthusiasm. I planned to wash my car this morning so that I could drive it to get my Walmart order and run a few in-town errands. I didn’t plan for it to rain all morning. I was too weak and sick to wash the car anyway. I smiled as I thought about God sending the rain to ensure that I did not wash the car. I am embarrassed to admit that I still debated it. I’ve washed cars in all sorts of weather and been glad to do it. But I realize right now I am too sick, and my energy needs to accomplish different priorities. God’s patience and perseverance with me is teaching me to have the same with myself, my situation, and with others.
I decided to give the new car wash in town a go. The two young workers were so polite and helpful. They energetically scrubbed at the sap and sooty mold. Sadly, it seems to be soaked into the paint, but they tried. I gave them my ten dollars emergency gas money as a tip because I felt they earned it. They refused to keep it, perhaps because my car and I looked and sounded so pitiful. Regardless of why they did it, they chose kindness. Kindness occurs only when intention is coupled with action.
I noticed while using their vacuum about a one-inch caterpillar shape where the paint came off my car when one of the young men dropped his long-handled brush against it. Accidents happen, and this one because the young man was trying so hard to clean my nasty car. I don’t know if the young man noticed the blemish or not, but I chose to not mention it. It’s called grace. I know I need it every moment and am so thankful for it; I exist because of grace. We all are given grace, and it’s our choice whether or not to give what we have received.
The two young men had already returned my tip and had given me a second air freshener before I noticed the spot of missing paint. Before the blemish happened, the two young men showed enthusiasm for their work and didn’t judge me for bringing possibly the nastiest car they’ve cleaned, aside from muddy recreational vehicles. After I noticed the blemish but didn’t mention it, they gave me a gift card for another wash; they said it was for being so nice and patient. There had been a couple of hiccups in the service but nothing not easily understood. Because I had already decided they paid with the ten-dollar tip they returned for the tube of touch up paint I will have to buy, I was overjoyed at their kindness of the gift card for another wash. Whether they felt sorry for a weak, shaky lady who can barely leave her house or they were hoping to smooth over for causing the blemish, I am thankful for the car being cleaner and for seeing young people with a work ethic and kindness for others.
I may never know their motives behind the car wash gift card and in not keeping the tip, but I will choose to be thankful for all the goodness of the day and deeds. I could make a fuss over the blemish they caused, but accidents happen. They eagerly exerted effort to do a thorough job. I could pout about my very stained car whose paint job may not be recoverable at this point or that almost all the seals of the car leak allowing water in with every little rain. I could sulk about the creaking, knocking sounds my car makes when damp. Honestly, I was embarrassed noisily rolling through Walmart’s parking lot. I could mope about the high cost of insurance for driving my twice monthly outings.
However, there are much happier facts to focus on! I have a running car to use when needed that is now much cleaner. The blemish from today’s wash should be a simple repair with touch-up paint.
First thing this morning, I had re-started my day in God’s Word after struggling on my own for direction, energy, and productivity. I prayed earnestly for wisdom to live God’s way today. I chose grace and gratitude at the car wash and was rewarded physically and spiritually. Afterwards, the blessings continued. Picking up my Walmart order, I got a whole bag of goodies for free. The young man who loaded my car said it was a gift from Walmart. Though I cannot personally benefit from most items, I will pass them on to others who can. After leaving Walmart, I had good interactions with several folks at the post office and recycle center and finally accomplished several tasks over the phone with the help of very kind customer service reps struggling to decipher my requests through my shaky voice.
What a day of blessings! So much accomplished today. So many extra niceties through others. Despite being too sick to record a teaching video this week or to get much needed yard and housework done, I am blessed more than I can write about.
I could have had a completely different perspective today. I could have thought it was about time Walmart did something right and that I deserved the goodie bag for all their screw-ups in the past with pick-up orders. I could have fussed about the ding to my car by the young man trying to get it clean. I could have huffed in the post office about their opening a smidge later than posted after I had already come while they were closed for lunch or about having to stand in line outside because there was a good handful of us in line. I could have responded snidely to the entitled lady who was going to breeze through the door I was holding open while never acknowledging me or the line ahead. Instead, I kindly let her know that we had to wait outside since all the six-foot spaces inside were taken. I heard three or four people speaking negatively while waiting and leaving the post office. I really didn’t want to go in there just to buy stamps, and I think there should be an easier way, especially with COVID, but I am thankful that I got the stamps and mailed the cards.
The negatives will always be there. We can be governed by them or focus on the blessings instead. When we focus on the blessings, we are getting so much more goodness in return: we hold on to our joy and peace and even have mental and physical health benefits. Focusing on the blessings, we refuse to give the negatives a foothold in our day or satan in our lives, one situation and response at a time.
We all know the passage in Matthew where Jesus tells his disciples to not worry about the needs of daily life, but do we own the passage for ourselves? Do we trust God to provide our needs? Do we earnestly seek Him and His kingdom before all else? Perhaps you believe Jesus said this to the disciples abstractly, or perhaps you believe Jesus meant this for the physical life. Maybe you believe God can do miracles today. Maybe you can give an example of someone you know for whom God clearly provided a miracle in the midst of disaster. However, do you truly know this applies to you, too, not abstractly but legit, hardcore, where the rubber meets the road, now?
Let's read this passage again to glean wisdom for our own lives.
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6:25-34)
We can work our fingers to the bone, scramble and clamor for all the “good things” we think life ought to provide for us while missing out on so much more, so much better. While many blessings from God are not material, He does promise to take care of us. Even more, He promises us His presence. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us.
We've all faced our share of difficulties where we either claimed God's truth over our lives or lived in fret and fear by default.
One of my major difficulties is living with sickness that prevents me from cozying up in the comfort of a safe, stable income. Notice I didn't say abundant or luxury-affording income. As a public school English teacher, my income was none too steep, yet it provided financial security knowing I could pay my bills.
Even when I was a teacher, I felt God leading me to write. At the time, I didn't understand it all, and I still don't, but I started then writing in response to my bible study. God called me to write twelve years ago--two years before doctors told me that I had to leave my profession for my health.
A lot of my journey with the call to write has been recognizing that I am not as willing and compliant as I thought I was. I am easily driven by stubborn, selfish pride which I must vigilantly keep nipped in the bud. It springs up in so many ways, in so many invitations so sweet and alluring.
I won't lie and say that I easily resist sweet, tempting offers. Honestly, were I not too sick to work, I would take some of the offers without thinking twice. I have tried every way on my own to make ends meet since leaving my profession. It seems that I am so stubborn that God had to allow me to become too sick to accomplish any of my silly endeavors I wanted to use to honor Him.
That's right. I honestly do want to honor God. But I try to go about it my own way, not His. And this doesn't honor Him or please Him at all.
Though God will never leave us nor forsake us, He does not bless a mess we make when not trusting Him FULLY. Thankfully, He rescues us from that mess. Think of it like God on the top-end of a long rope, pulling us out of a pit we fell in while going our own way. He responds to our plea for His help. Often we go through a lot of misery before we realize the mess we've made. God rescues us, but we come out of the pit smelly and covered in the mud of our mess.
We know that God knows best, so why do we not listen, trust, and obey the One who created us and knows our every need. He knows us better than we can know ourselves. He loves us more than we can love ourselves. He knows our every need, and our biggest need is Him. Not stuff, but Him.
After a decade of running my own way and having been rescued from many, many pits, I aim to be more alert to the many changing invitations of pride, as they always come incognito. We more easily recognize pride when we stay close to God in His Word which equips us to make the best decisions.
Often we feel stuck between and rock and a hard place and hope God understands and supports our desperate decisions though we truly know better. When I came to the crossroads of scrambling to find a way to provide for my family or following God on an uncertain path, I chose the wrong way--my own. Though the path was extremely difficult, I found it comfortable because I felt a false sense of control. By nature we all want security, and we feel that if we have some measure of control, we can guide our own security.
We also want life to make sense. Knowing that God is at work all around us and that He works all things to our good if we love and seek to Honor Him, we convince ourselves and others to get involved with good things that make good use of our talents, education, and experience.
As a Christian wife, mom, daughter, Sunday school teacher, and volunteer in many worthwhile programs and projects, I recognized many opportunities to use my education and talents. I convinced myself these opportunities were what I should be doing because they were present and urgent. God never renounced His call for me to write, but I made many other good things priority.
Earlier in Matthew 6 we see Jesus warn against doing things for show. He then gives the model for prayer and continues to teach on the importance of right focus, attitude, and actions. These all work together. Though I had convinced myself I made the best use of my time, talents, and energy, I was to some degree doing it for show. Not that I wanted some grand recognition, but that I feared judgment of others. I was sincerely interested in all the excellent opportunities I pursued, but the problem was that I pursued them before I pursued what God clearly called me to do. I used my efforts on the urgent more than the important.
Nothing should have greater importance to us than our relationship with our Heavenly Father. And a big part of that relationship is what we do with it, how we respond to what He wants us to do. When we focus on Him, trusting and obeying Him, we should not worry about having our daily needs met. If we are obeying Him, those needs will be met. Focusing on the important rather than the urgent means everything that needs to be done actually gets done.
So now, in a period of being too sick to follow my pride, I am actually writing. And the feeling of knowing that I am obeying my Heavenly Father who has been so patient, forgiving, and gracious to me gives me peace and security far more powerful than the lure of emails and phone calls advertising opportunities and extending personal job offers that I know I am too sick to take.
I make plans that I hope will please God because I honestly desire to honor Him and help others. Meanwhile, God patiently waits for me to surrender completely to Him and learn how to live His way, not mine.
I have been very sick for a long time. In hopes I was progressively getting better, I pursued a coveted position with an elite teaching organization and got so close to making the final cut. So close, making the second to last cut in the top twelve percent, but not close enough. My health and economic status were the deterrents. Regardless, it was God's hand that prevented me from making that final cut. It would have been disastrous for the organization, students, and myself had I made that final cut.
Wanting to be helpful to others using my teaching skills, I made a few teaching videos and a resource website and planned to make more videos to help parents, teachers, and students in the early stages of the stay-at-home orders associated with COVID-19. I took advantage of less-sick days to work on this to feel like I was still contributing something.
I continued doing things my way though my health started to significantly decline again the week before I found out I didn't make the cut with TFA. I applied to an online teaching job and got to the final stage. My computer crashed the day of my final stage. I was going after this job though my health was still declining, and at least 80% of the time, I cannot talk! I try to talk but have so much inflammation in my esophagus, bronchial tubes, and lungs that I can hardly breathe, and I shake and sound like a goat more than a human. It's quite humorous but also alarming and frustrating.
Now in week three of being able to eat less than 20 foods including salt, sugar, and expensive butter from grass-fed cows, I finally submit. I feel like a warrior in battle finally dropping my sword and head in defeat. Though I know submission to God is never defeat but is always victory, I still feel defeated. Perhaps because I didn't win against God doing things my way. A truer picture of my reality than that of a defeated warrior is that of a child who's lost her way in a large field and is all alone. As she hears her father's voice, she jumps up and down, and waving her arms she runs to her father she sees nearing in the distance. Human ego fights against our relationship with our heavenly Father.
As a kid, I always took great pride in being one of the fastest runners in my school. For several years a boy in the same grade shared the unofficial title of "fastest runner" with me. I was proud because I was one of the smallest in our grade, and he was one of the tallest. I ran with all my might, not knowing about my heart problems, asthma, or the fact that one isn't supposed to black out while running. My vision would go black and my head numb every time I ran; I knew no differently so assumed this experience was the same for everyone while running.
I've always generalized--thinking if it's this way for me that it must be this same way for others. As a kid running, I never stopped to consider warning flags. Now that I am about to be forty, I am learning, very slowly and stubbornly, to pay attention to warnings in life and to stop running when it's detrimental.
Running from God is always detrimental but can be an excellent teacher. I have learned a lot while running from God that I am thankful He will use for my good. My warnings of worsening health, crashing computers, and closing doors all told me to stop running my own way. I'm tired of running. Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 11:30 that his yoke is easy and His burden light. He didn't say there was no burden with Him but rather conveyed that it is a natural burden they would be able to bear. I'm realizing it's neither fruitful nor heroic to continue to attempt to bear an unbearable burden.
God's design for life is very doable. Often we strive to achieve goals we think will give us worth. What is the end result of our striving to prove our worth to our heavenly Father? The fact is that we are all dust seeking our own way, yet He loves us enough to give us His purpose and all His care. Why do we run from Him instead of to Him? In Him we have everlasting life of eternal value. Apart from Him we struggle to design and pursue our own significance. I pray we all learn sooner than later to run to God and desire His design for our lives.
Follow-through. That's what I lack. This problem has worsened throughout the years. I offer the excuse of my very unstable health and multiple battles daily just to exist. Though my health problems don't pave my road with ease, I recognize the natural consequences of not submitting my all to God. I get involved with something but never complete the tasks necessary for success. I feel sort of like the "lost goose" though I truly know the way home. Maybe I relate more to the poor steward and prodigal son more than I want to admit. Though I've used the skills God gave me to honor Him, I've not done what He has tugged at my heart to do.
Picture a new gardener given a new shovel. He uses his new shovel to smash in new nails and to pop out old ones, he then partially buries the blade of the shovel to mount a birdhouse from the handle. He is so proud of his accomplishments with his new shovel, yet he didn't use it for its best purpose.
Human nature struggles with the unknown. Sometimes we separate our spiritual walk from our rationale. We want to keep our spirituality separate because it isn't something we can map out and see a point of success in the future. Our spirituality is all about our relationship (or lack thereof) with our Creator. We also struggle with control because of the unknown. Often we choose what we consider the best option to use our God-given gifts. Subconsciously we think we can control the outcome if we choose a safe choice that fits within our rationale. We plan without God to succeed and promise to give Him the glory once we do. This is not God's design. He gives us lofty dreams that we suppress with our rationale. I've relied far too long on my rationale that can neither predict nor determine the future.
Humans are funny. We want details laid out before we have the "faith" to follow God's invitation. God says, "Follow me." We respond with, "Show me the itinerary and map." God gives us talents, skills, passions. He invites us to follow Him in our journey fully discovering these gifts. He isn't going to show us everything ahead of time; however, He does promise that when we follow Him we will live the best journey imaginable.
God gave me a gift of communication. He has made it evident to me in many situations: public speaking, interviews, interpersonal and professional relationships, and writing assignments in school and college, to name a few. He blessed me with an education to hone skills associated with this gift.
In reality, I fear failure. We don't want to fail God or think He has failed us. I somehow twisted into my rationale that if I failed my plans, it wouldn't affect my relationship with God. My fear of failure indicates a problem I don't want to have--a lack of faith. A fear of failure is a lack of trust, a lack of faith in the One who blesses us with our gifts and equips us to do whatever He designs and desires for us to do in this life. A lack of faith and fear of failure result in a lack of follow-through when you know deep inside that what you busy yourself with is not what your Creator has for you to do. You waste precious time, miss major blessings, and mound up negative consequences when you justify, rationalize, procrastinate, and attempt to ignore your Father's invitation.