For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
One of the more helpful ways for me to think about life is to think through the grid of seasons. We are single for a season. Most of us are married for a season. And if we are fortunate to live long enough, we all enter the season of old age. We are also around people and relate to people who are in our same season and in different seasons. This is the reality of our relational life. It’s part of what makes it complicated. Hopefully what has been shared in these three blogs, have provided some helpful thoughts and perspectives. But, before moving on to my next subject, I want to put my pastor’s hat on and offer one additional point of consideration on this topic.
Thinking on a thing is easier than doing a thing…
Hopefully what you have read has stimulated some deeper thinking. Perhaps you have even thought, ‘that sounds like a good idea – I should do that thing.’ Maybe you need to make things right with another person or change the trajectory of your own life. And when you think of it – it seems like a really good idea. In fact, you know it is and you have a certain measure of confidence that it will help improve your own relational reality. But when you finish having that good thought the inspiration to do the good thing gets shaky.
One of the major impediments between the thought and the action is a worry about how it will play out. I have done this so many times myself, I have felt inspired to make a change or prompted to have a conversation and then as I start planning, the doubts arise. I can convince myself that this will probably not go well. I won’t be able to stick to the commitment. The conversation will go in a direction I hadn’t anticipated. It’s amazing the storylines we can create, and how we can convince ourselves that doing this ‘good thing’ will only make matters worse. So, we don’t even try.
I have the sense that you know this feeling too. You have these same doubts and hesitations, and maybe that is why you have not followed through on these ideas before. You have thought about these things but haven’t done the thing. And here you are again.
What I find interesting about these scenarios is that typically there is also a second impression lurking in the back of my mind (alongside the doubts and fears) – usually not as prominent, but there none-the-less. It’s a still small voice that urges me to try anyway, and perhaps more importantly it’s that voice that reassures me that I am not in this alone. It sounds something like this, “Piet, you are not in this by yourself. I am with you.” And I am sure this sounds a bit corny and probably what you would expect a pastor to say. But this has nothing to do with my being a pastor. This is about me, Piet Van Waarde, the man who is often scared and reluctant to do what God might be asking him to do.
And it’s that promise of his walking with me, which actually gives me the courage to try (in those moments where I can muster up the willingness). And it is in those rare moments where I rediscover that this is the fundamental benefit of our faith. It isn’t just about knowing the right things intellectually. It is not just about showing up at church services and trying to be a good person. It’s about proactively embracing the truth, at a soul level, that God is with us. We are not alone.
That is the promise I hang on to and it is the promise that is extended to you as well. He will be with you!!
I will never leave you or forsake you…
Does that mean everything will always work out great and exactly like you want it to? Not likely! This ain’t heaven. But, following his promptings (with the confidence that he is walking with us), makes life here on earth a little more like heaven – and a whole lot better than just pretending everything will work out if we keep doing what we have always done (in our own strength, in our wisdom, and in our own way). That much we can know for sure.
So, whatever is being asked of you in this season, walk with him, trust in him. He will help you do what needs to be done AND will be with you regardless of the outcome!