Have you ever felt that no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to move forward into the fullness of your God-given calling and destiny? That no matter how hard you try, how well you steward God’s heart and the gifts he has given you, no matter how much faith you have and how many times you try to step out, nothing seems to be working out or opening to you?
Waiting on God can really test us and trying to understand his ways and appointed timings can be frustrating. Our longing for control as humans is a strong one. So what happens when we give in to this desire to be in control? We can begin to feel that we would prefer to be going somewhere – progressing anywhere – rather than just sitting, waiting for God to show up and breakthrough in areas of our life as he has promised.
The control tree
Let’s look at control. If control was a tree, the leaves would be overthinking, making your own plans, doing things in your own strength and feeling a sense of false burden and responsibility to bring forth your own future and destiny. There might even be sour fruit of trying to control or manipulate God. We might start making demands of God or limit our commitment to him through making bargains. ‘I’ll do this if you do this for me.’
Oh how far this is from God’s plan and heart for us to live in love and freedom. His desire was always for us to know Him and live surrendered to His Spirit’s flow in our lives; to wait upon God, to anticipate his goodness and to enjoy his seasons instead of restlessly running off before our time. He wanted us to breathe, be at peace and actually trust Him.
It is so easy to start rowing in your own strength. When you have been rowing for a while though, life can get super tough. The wind can become a gale and howl around you, you can feel isolated and long for Jesus’ comfort. The harder you row the more tired you feel and the more frustrating life can get. Many times we don’t even realise we are rowing in our own strength instead of resting in God – his flow and his blessings and accepting his timing.
The small dingy
God told me a story once. It starts with two little girls on a beach in a cove. Within each little girl there is an excitement and anticipation of the world that awaits them across the sea. There is a dingy anchored right next to the shore. It is in good shape and it will float well. It is well made. One little girl is looking eagerly at the dingy wanting to follow her heart and be faithful to it. She has the courage to push that boat out to sea and set off as soon as the waters are calm enough.
The other little girl also wants to go. Her faith is strong, her heart hopeful. She believes in the call and the need to journey out. But she is aware that the small dingy is not the right boat for venturing out on high seas. So it must not yet be time.
The first little girl struggles inwardly and heads out on the sea—but the waves drive her back and exhausted she returns to shore. The second little girl decides to bide her time and she realises she's on this island for a reason. She takes the dingy around the island and discovers its treasures; in the sea and on the land. She develops her skills, deepens her peace and in quiet trust she looks to the provider of the boat for her every need. She comes to realise that when the time is right he will provide the right vessel for her journey into the ocean.
My journey became that of the girl who went rowing out to sea in her own strength. I got tired of waiting for God to bring a new season and move me forward from the island to his plans for me. I got restless and frustrated at his timing so I started heading out to sea. I started rowing and rowing and trying to work things out and praying and rowing… all the while God has wanted me to just rest.
Jesus’ disciples went through something similar. John chapter 6 says the disciples had been waiting for Jesus to return, all afternoon. Darkness fell and the disciples decided to get in the boat without Jesus and just start to row themselves across to their destination. Sound familiar?
They had been rowing for three miles when a big wind came up and the seas become rough. Jesus had to come to rescue them by walking towards them on the water, showing himself sovereign. Jesus graciously came into their boat and helped them miraculously and instantly get to their destination (John chapter 6 verse 21).
Put the oars down
Jesus waits for us to cry out then he shows up and lovingly helps us. He has taught me to put down the oars. He has held me and tenderly whispered his love to me. All the while my boat stopped. Jesus does powerful work in our hearts when we are still, when we finally give up our own striving and just stop and go to him as our hiding place (Psalm chapter 32 verse 7). When we finally give over any sense of our control he is able to freely bring His flow and His peace into our lives and hearts. His plans which are always good and are his best for us.
Resting in Jesus
God has been trying to deepen my trust in Him. God has told me to ‘stop rowing and trust me.’ Do you know, for the first time ever I am actually resting. I’m not over thinking, planning or striving. I’m just resting in His love. Just breathing in his love and trusting Him each day.
Resting blesses our whole being. So many of us have health or stress issues. Try resting in God. I have slept so peacefully since this agreement to rest has settled within me. Resting is not dependent on circumstance too, as currently my husband and I are waiting on God for two big circumstances to fall into place. I don’t need to make these happen though. That is God’s job.
I am called to rest in Him and trust. So my burden is light and I am able to enjoy Jesus and be filled with his peace and joy. I can’t help but smile. I know Jesus and I’m finally resting in my knowing His character. He is good, his Word is true and I am a loved daughter. I will keep resting in his faithfulness.
Liana is a 31- year old writer from South Australia. Her passions are song-writing, prayer and being amongst the beauty of nature. Liana and her husband have a vision of starting a Creative Arts ministry in Adelaide and are about to launch a coastal prayer and worship house in S.A.
Liana is a passionate and creative soul, living in South Australia and married to her artist husband of 12 years, Justin. Liana is an early childhood educator and also writes, sings, occasionally dances, loves nature, is a psalmist and runs a women's ministry.