The Straight Paths

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5,6

I was reaching into the cupboard to grab a glass. With my hand around the mason jar (that’s what us country bumpkins use to drink from), my arm stayed stiff-straight, reaching up to the shelf.

“Stop using faith as a foxhole.”

It was a phrase I heard with my whole body. My entire mind. “Stop using faith as a foxhole.”

A foxhole, for clarification’s sake, is a hole in the ground used by troops to squat in to avoid enemy fire. It’s a hiding spot. A safety zone.

I’ve really been struggling lately, especially with apartment life. Struggling is putting it mildly. If I hear one more person’s hallway conversation, or one more expletive-laced celebratory holler from the video-game-nerd next door, one more person stomping down the upstairs hallway, or one more drunken-recap of the evening’s festivities while someone tries to get a key in the entrance door, I just might lose my mind.

Every day, I stalk the real-estate website for listings. Every day I dream about everything we don’t have: space for the kids to run and play, chickens, a garden, peace and quiet… Every day I lament the fact we’re still living in this building, shared with 100 of our closest strangers. Every day I beg and plead with God to get us out of here.

And every day I tell myself, “We’re not going to make a move until we know it’s the right move.”

So this morning when I heard, “stop using faith as a foxhole.” a whole string of lies I’ve believed were revealed to me.

I have spent so much time saying I want to make sure it’s God’s will over my own before I do xyz, I end up doing nothing at all. Instead of trusting he will guide me and make my paths straight, I stand completely still and expect him to pick me up and plop me exactly where I need to end up.

I can’t go anywhere if I’m not in motion.

Think about this: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 This, like so many amazing scriptures, is one we tend to throw out there when we’re feeling lost and confused, and we expect by reciting it, some miraculous answer to materialize. But what if rather than hopeful recitation, we put the words to work?

Trust in the LORD

The most straightforward comment ever. No gray area here. You either trust Him or you don’t.

With all your heart

You’re alive right now because your heart is still beating. With everything you are, do, see, feel, breathe, and think – – trust in the Lord.

And lean not on your own understanding.

Raise your hand if you struggle with this! You don’t have to figure it out. You don’t have to know the “why” behind the “what” or the “how” behind the “when” or any of it. All you have to do is trust. When you try to understand His ways (which are not our ways) we overthink things, overcomplicate things, and WE STOP MOVING ALTOGETHER. Don’t believe me? What does it mean to “lean”? Are you typically in motion if you’re leaning? No. You cannot convince me this verse isn’t implying when we start to rationalize with our own reasoning, (to justify the why-we-can’ts, or the why-we-shouldn’ts primarily), we get ourselves stuck, we stop moving, and we lean (rest, recline) on excuses.

In all your ways

Again – pretty straightforward. In everything you do, think about doing, think about not doing, consider.. in all your ways.

Submit to him

This is a big part of trusting, which is exactly what the verse starts with. You can’t figure it out anyway, so let him have the reigns back.

And he will make your paths straight.

This is the real interesting part for me. First, “paths” is plural. Guess what? Life will take you all over the place. Sometimes there are many ways to get to a certain destination. Ever take the “scenic route” to end up somewhere? In your life, you will take multiple paths to multiple adventures. Do not sell yourself short on exploring possibilities. Do not avoid searching. Do not avoid learning lessons along the way. Most of all? DO NOT AVOID TAKING A STEP FOR FEAR YOU’LL END UP ON THE WRONG PATH. The Lord cannot straighten your path if you aren’t walking on one. And if you do end up on the wrong path, by trusting him and submitting to him, you’ll soon end up on the right one.

I bring that up because there are so many times I have done nothing in the name of waiting on his will. “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17)

Idleness, doing nothing, reaps nothing. In order to get a result at all, it has to be birthed from action. (Ecc 11:6)

“But what if I fail?”

I’ve shared before, King David is one of my favorites. The man was a wreck, but he was as genuine as they come. He was king – leader of an entire nation. And oh my word did he screw up so many times! But he always sought God’s peace and comfort. He always sought God’s refuge. He always sought forgiveness. King David, one of the patriarchs of faith, failed all the time. But he didn’t use failure as an excuse to stop trying. He sought God, and ended up on a different path.

So am I going to sit around and wait for a dream home to fall out of the sky? Heck no. I’m giving myself marching orders, and I’m trusting God will make my path straight, right up to the door of the perfect home for us.

 

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