Monday, March 18, 2013

What I Am Allowed To Do

               I’m a doer. You put something in front of me and I am going to do it. For instance, we moved into our new home on Saturday, by Sunday evening, I was completely unpacked and the house was set up. I am a doer. But this is not who the Lord wants me to be. He wants me to trust and to wait for Him. I once had the Lord show me a picture of myself, He shows me something He desires to work out in my life, and I pick up the reins of the chariot and take off, leaving Him standing in the dust. He has to pull on my reins hard sometimes to get me to see that HE wants to do the work, He does not need my help. He is able to create something from nothing, so why do I always think He needs my help?
                Once again, I find myself in a situation where I want to “do” something. I want to make happen all that He has spoken to my heart, but in the midst of this trial we find ourselves in, the Lord speaks to us today and tells to “hold our horses” and sit back and watch Him work. Besides, when I get into my doer mode, I end up exhausted and overwhelmed, and someone, including me, gets hurt. That is not what the Lord desires, for any of us.
                “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him, Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret-it only causes harm.” Psalm 37:1-8
                As I read these words today, the Lord showed me 7 things I am allowed to do as I sit and wait for the Lord to work it all out. No matter what you are going through, no matter what has happened to you, there is nothing that you need to do to help God. God does not need our help, never has and never will. All we do is mess things up, make it harder than it needs to be, and cause ourselves worry for no reason. So, what are we allowed to “do”? For those of us who are doers and not sitters, what are we to do?
                First, we are to not fret. The first three words of this Psalm are “do not fret”. Fret is defined as anger, worry, or anxiety, and it also means to work oneself up. We are not to do this. When a trial comes upon us, we tend to begin to ask “Why”, “Why has this happened?” As we ponder on the why’s, we begin to fret, we begin to get angry at our situation, worry over what is happening, and work ourselves up into a frenzy of activity, determined to fix the problem we are in. We are not to do this. James tells us that we are to “count it all joy” when we find ourselves in the midst of a trial. (James 1:2) But most the time, what we end up doing is working ourselves up into a frenzied state of worry, we get angry at the situation and end up stepping into the place of God and try to fix the issue ourselves. No matter what has happened, no matter what you find yourself in the midst of, DO NOT FRET.
                Secondly, we are to “trust in the Lord”. When the trial comes, (and it will come) we are to set our hope and confidence upon Him who is working all things together for our good. He is the one who holds the reins; we are only supposed to jump in the chariot behind Him. When your world is rocked to the core, and it feels like the bottom has been ripped out from under you, remember, Do Not Fret, but Trust in the Lord. He is all wise, all knowing, all seeing, and He cares for you. Nothing happens to us that has not first passed through the hands of our Father in heaven, who created the world and everything in it. There is nothing that has come upon you that He is not aware of. In fact, if you take a moment and look back, you will see His hand, guiding you to and through the midst of it all. TRUST IN THE LORD and DO NOT FRET. He holds you, and will uphold you with His right hand.
                Thirdly, we are to “dwell and feed on His faithfulness”. To dwell means to settle down and just breathe. It means to abide in His presence, right where you are at. He wants us to crawl up on His lap and lean our heads upon His chest, as He shows us His great and mighty faithfulness towards us. Has He ever let you down? Has He ever let you fall so far that you could not get back up? No, and He never will. Trials are a time when we are to draw close to the Shepherd of our souls, when we are to draw near to Him who loves us and cares for us above all His creation. As a Shepherd, He desires for us to just graze on His faithfulness, not worrying or fretting, but trusting and abiding in His unfailing love for us. This trial, this trouble you have is an opportunity for you to DWELL AND FEED ON HIS FAITHFULNESS.
                Next, we are to “delight” ourselves in Him. The word delight, when you read it or hear it, most of us think of happy, joyful, dancing and praising. But the word is actually defined as “soft and pliable.” It basically means to have a teachable spirit, allowing the Lord God to work in you and through you to bring the desires of your heart to pass. One thing I have learned is that the desires of my heart become His desires for me when I allow myself to “delight” in Him. When we are faced with trials, we tend to ask “why”. But the Lord has shown me recently that I am asking the wrong question. When faced with a trial, I am to ask “what”. What does He have to teach me through this, what am I to learn from this, how is He going to use this to grow me into the woman He desires me to be? Why causes us to fret and loose our focus, but “what” and “delight” lead us to lay down and rest in His undying faithfulness for us. DELIGHT YOURSELF IN THE LORD.
                Fifth on the list for us “doers” that the Lord allows us to do, is to “commit” our ways to Him. To commit means to roll off a burden, or to transfer the weight of something onto someone else. We are to shake it off, roll it off and place the burden at His feet. He can handle it, and He wants to handle it. An old saying that comes to mind is “God never gives you more than you can handle.” I disagree with that statement, because God doesn’t want me to handle anything. What we should say is, “God never gives us more than HE can handle.” He has His hand on the thermostat, and He will be your cover when you get cold and your AC when you get too hot. Don’t do anything, just take this trial you find yourself in and place it at His feet as you crawl up on His lap. COMMIT YOUR WAY TO THE LORD.
                The next thing we are allowed to “do” is “rest and wait”. Be silent and be still. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God”. Sit back and watch the Lord do the work. We get so caught up in trying to make the situation better that we miss the opportunity to graze and rest in the work He desires to do. Rest means to be silent, wait means to be strong and firm and stay where you are. Stop trying to make all things work together for your good, and let the Lord work out His desires on your behalf. He delights to do good for you and to you -don’t doubt that, just REST AND WAIT.
                Last but not least, we come to the seventh thing we are allowed to “do” in the midst of our trials and troubles. We are to “cease”. The Psalmist lists for us all the ways we are to allow the Lord to lead us and guide us through these trials and tribulations, and then puts the cap on it for us. To cease means to sink down and relax. Take a deep breath, exhale, and relax in the power and presence of Almighty God. Is anything too big for God? Is anything going to harm you or hurt you? Is any weapon formed against you going to prosper? The answer to all these questions are, NO, because your God is bigger, stronger, mightier and more powerful than all the armies of the world. There is nothing that can overtake you, for in Him you already have victory. There is nothing for you to do, so stop, cease and desist. Let the Lord work this out, let Him be and do all that He needs to do. Then, we will be able to say that we have counted it all joy and patience has had her perfect work. (James 1:2-3) Sit back, relax and watch the Lord work in you and through you to His glory. Not only will you be blessed, but those who see you will glorify the Lord with you. Just CEASE.
                No matter what happens to us, no matter who does what, no matter what comes upon us, no matter what frenzy you have yourself worked up into, sit back and do nothing. Just TRUST, DWELL, FEED, DELIGHT, COMMIT, REST and WAIT for the Lord to work it all out for your good and His glory. God is above and over all, is there anything He can’t do? “Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Don’t be a doer; don’t get out ahead of God, just rest and trust that He is working it all out for your good and His glory. Amen and Amen.