The Second Step

The first step of missions, or life really, is to show up. Like most guides, though, the list doesn’t stop at one. I’d go hungry if I walked in the kitchen and then expected for food to magically make itself. So, unless you are a part of a Disney film, let’s assume there are more steps. You’ve probably heard the saying, “God can’t steer a parked car” or “God can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving.” The second analogy is a little less relatable to me, of course, because I happen to live on a ship that is not moving ten months of the year and is certainly honoring the Lord in many ways; so, let’s go with the first one.

I’ve always been terrible at navigation (ask anyone), so I rarely go anywhere without first looking up my destination and route before I do anything. If someone is riding with me I just have them do it, but if I’m alone I have to balance between paying attention to the road, the directions, and the music choices (the most important obviously). Say I’m somewhere, though, where I’m alone, don’t have access to a map/app, and don’t know where the heck I’m going. It’s in situations like this where I sometimes just sit in the car, too anxious to go anywhere. Not knowing where I’m going or how to get there is one of my biggest points of stress – especially when I’m alone.

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The thing I forget, though, is that I’m never alone. Jesus is right there in the passenger seat ready to do the navigating for me (I’m sure he’d be a killer DJ, too). And even though he doesn’t show me the map most of the time or tell me to take that sharp left turn with enough warning to make the shift comfortably, I always get to where I need to go. Funny enough, it’s not always where I thought I was going or where I even wanted to go.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” –  Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)

So, my car’s moving. Now what?

I was reminded this past week by someone onboard that in times when you aren’t sure what to do, it’s important not to ask just for clarity (which is what I often find myself searching for), but to instead ask for wisdom. When you reach a certain point in your walk, He stops spoon-feeding you so much and gives you more liberty to make your own decisions based on the knowledge you have acquired through relationship with Him. This is easily compared to a child and a parents’ relationship as the child gets older. It’s important for me to use my own wisdom and be capable to make godly decisions without the strict instruction from my Father. I should know Him and His character well enough to be able to apply His ways to almost any situation.

This connection and relationship is what He has desired from the day I was born – and even before. It’s my responsibility and duty to honor Him and respect Him as my Father, but also as my partner. He wants to walk alongside me, not in front of or behind me.

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Assiatou, plastics patient, doing leg exercises during her rehab time with Stefanie Neeb, Rehab Team Leader.

Daily I have to get up and choose to turn the key and move even if I have no idea where I’m headed. Unlike other times where He may take me on straight roads with few turns, I’ve now come to the dreaded fork in the road of having to decide what the next year will look like for me. I could stay on the ship, or go home. He’s asked me to pull over and decide which path I’d like to take. In this case, both will lead to Him, but He loves and trusts me enough to make my own decision based on what I have learned from Him over the past twenty three years.

So, after a considerable amount of prayer done by myself and many of you (THANK YOU) – I have decided to continue my journey with the Africa Mercy in Guinea for the 2018-2019 field service!

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Even though my next destination has been revealed, there is still a lot of in-between that is completely unknown to me. I’m scared stiff and still can’t decide if I like knowing things that far in advance or not, but I feel so at peace with my decision and confident in the Lord’s plan. Of course, with this decision comes a lot of logistics to work out and so many questions. However, for now, would you just simply join with me in rejoicing how immensely good our Father is?! No matter what He chooses to do with me in this life, there is no mistaking that His ways are higher and His ways are greater.

Until next time,

Shawn

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