“But Jesus was matter-of-fact: ‘Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.’”
Matthew 21:21-22 (The Message)
Last time we were together I spoke about how sometimes the obstacles in our life are too big for us to tackle all at once. Sometimes, we need to ask for God’s strength in one-minute intervals.
Lately, I’ve had what have seemed to be some pretty big assignments land on my lap. I’m talking life assignments – some have to do with work, some have to do with lifestyle, some have to do with … life. And they’ve seemed overwhelming and I’ve wondered where I’m supposed to start.
And then God reminded me the best way to tackle any assignment that comes into my life if I want to have success. First and foremost, before doing anything to begin the assignment, I need to start with prayer. People may roll their eyes or say this is the required response or “you have to say that, Cheri” and give a half-hearted, “go through the motions ‘Help Me God’” prayer before rolling up my sleeves and tackling the project ahead, but seriously, this is the most important step.
Pray first. I have noticed when I take the time to quiet my heart and mind and invite God into the situation I’m dealing with, He changes things. Nothing is too big for our God and nothing is too trivial that He doesn’t want to be bothered. Prayer, when I come to Him not with my agenda but fully surrendering to His agenda, changes situations.
Earlier this year, God used a situation at my job to show me just how much He wants to show up and work in my life. I was facing what felt like an impossible agenda and honestly didn’t know what to do. So I prayed. A heart-felt, “God I don’t like this, I don’t want to do this, but I trust You will use this to grow me” type prayer. As I prayed, I felt God’s peace settle on me and I knew I was ready to begin.
While I waited for Him to work, I rolled up my sleeves and chose to start at the beginning and focus only on the first doable piece. As I worked on accomplishing that part to the best of my ability, I watched God take over and work on the whole situation. He changed schedules, freed up time, took other projects off my plate – all while I was still working on the pieces, one at a time, that had been assigned.
While God didn’t wave a magic wand and make the situation disappear, He did show me by fully surrendering to His will, His way, I would see how much He loves me and provides and fights for me. That was a bigger lesson, for me, than Him taking the work away completely.
I’m not completely finished with the assignment that was placed before me, but God has been shrinking it to a manageable size over the course of the last few weeks. Part of the shrinking has been Him removing obstacles to help me accomplish the goal and part of it has been me obeying and actually finishing it in bite-sized chunks.
The reason it’s been successful and I’ve maintained peace throughout is because I have fully surrendered the process over to my Father. I’ve told Him through coming to Him in prayer first that I trust Him and I trust He will work all things that enter into my life for His good. I have also stayed open to learning whatever lesson He is using this situation to teach me.
Prayer. Surrender. Trust. Working one minute at a time. When I allow God to be boss in my life, He creates a schedule that helps me finish the assignment I’ve been given in life while still living in His peace during the process. He’s the best Boss – I wouldn’t want to work for anyone else.
© Cheri Swalwell 2018