“The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.” Isaiah 32:17 (NIV)
I’ve always been good at following directions. I’m the youngest in the family and was raised by all “oldests,” so following directions comes naturally to me in most areas. However, three years ago when I started working as an administrative assistant, my employer was appreciative when I would take initiative to solve a problem instead of waiting to ask, halting the flow of the work that needed to be accomplished. My theory was, it’s better to ask first than to do it wrong because it’s easier to do it right the first time than to go back and fix it later. After three years, though, I’m learning the benefit of taking the initiative and then even if mistakes happen, I’ve at least started the process.
I didn’t realize I was learning and putting those life skills into practice until I started volunteering at our son’s school. I have been blessed to have a job where I can go in occasionally and help out in our son’s classroom from time to time. As a result, I’ve had the privilege of serving a variety of different teachers. As my confidence has grown through my job, I am learning to put that “taking initiative attitude” to good use not just on my job but in life in general. Instead of interrupting the teacher every five minutes while she’s teaching to answer questions, I am learning to make the best decision possible and then letting her know afterwards in case I need to tweak what I did.
However, just as I’m not the boss of the company I work for and I’m not the teacher in charge of the classroom, never would I think to wake up one morning and take initiative without first taking instructions. Once I’ve been given the task to complete, then my initiative is welcomed and appreciated to finish the job in a timely manner.
I think the same principle can be applied in our relationship with God. Our Father wants us to first come to Him and ask what our assignment is; then it is up to us to take the instructions we’ve been given (sometimes spelled out exactly and sometimes only one step at a time) and then fulfill them to the best of our ability. When we do that, we please our Father the same way I pleased my boss and those teachers I was fortunate to serve.
For me, it took building my confidence, and making quite a few mistakes, before I was able to finish stronger, smarter and with more positive results than my first few attempts. Thank goodness for grace from my employer, my teacher friends and especially from God when I want to be obedient and fulfill the assignment He gave; yet somehow mixed up the instructions and created a big mess instead.