by BARBARA LOWNSBURY
Not only is this one of my most popular posts, but it seems especially helpful to me in the midst of COVID-19. I would love to hear what you think!
What do you do when you’re facing a major decision, or you’re at a crossroads in your life? When that curve ball you weren’t expecting hits you squarely in the face, demanding immediate attention? Those types of moments are some of the most challenging spaces we face, and answers can feel difficult to come by.
Blessedly, God has some really great answers. As I’m facing my own unique blessings and challenges, seeking God’s face for His answers for me, I felt led to go back to where wisdom is taught and found: Proverbs. There is a great passage in Proverbs 2:1-14 that really jumped out at me. It starts with an “if, then” statement, as in if you do these things then that will be your outcome.
The very first step? Listen. Man, that can be hard for me! I get so caught up in the demands on my time and the needs of those around me, I can have a hard time stopping. Or, I get overwhelmed in my own emotion and I simply can’t get past myself long enough to hear. But if I don’t make the time to stop and engage, I can’t find His answer for me. Even if it’s briefly, I have to make a decision to value God’s wisdom over my own need to solve or move, and force myself to slow down and check in.
Still, Proverbs makes it clear I also have to act. Solomon uses words like “apply,” “search,” “look” and “sift.” All of these are active verbs, action steps that have to accompany my fervent prayer. Maybe it’s reaching out to my pool of Wise Advisors for some counsel and insight. It could be studying or researching potential solutions, or looking for programming. Regardless, this is where my intentionality comes into play. It’s prayer AND action working hand-in-hand that allow God to show up and begin to impart wise solutions and answers.
As I learn to continually cry out to God and lay my needs and requests before Him, looking to His word and the resources He’s given me for answers, my answers begin to come into view. It’s like I’m looking through a lens and the view is out of focus, but as I dial into God and begin to search, the focus sharpens and the right answers for me become clearer and clearer until the solution is crisp and sharp before me. It may not be the entire solution all at once. That takes my faith and God-reliance out of the picture. But it is certainly the very next step.
And the blessing? The “than” outcome? The Lord promises to grant me the kind of wisdom that will lead me to every good path. Here Solomon uses words like “victory, “shield,” “guard” and “protect.” My outcome will be “pleasant,” “pleasing.” He literally says it will save me from walking in the dark or getting lost down crooked, ruinous paths. Wow! Such a powerful blessing and promise!
So today, I made a decision to do just that. To stop. To listen. To cry out. And then, to actively seek, sifting each potential solution through the lens of faith and God’s word. I have seen so many, many times in my past the powerful ways God has blessed that choice. I know He will again.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT: What is harder for you? Is it to stop and listen, or to get up off your knees and act? Usually, one or the other will come easier for you, and sometimes it will change depending on the life season you find yourself in. Today, use this lesson as a reminder that wisdom comes when we both pray AND act, making the decision to filter everything through our lens of faith. Then, intentionally make space to go after whichever one is harder for you and commit to doing it this week. I’d love to hear how it goes!
PRAYER: Papa, how good you are to me always, even when I don’t sense or feel it. When my answers seem elusive and far away, help me to remember that Your wisdom is right there waiting for me to trustingly reach toward it. Help me slow down enough to seek Your voice, a sheep who is in tune with the voice of its master. And thank you in advance for protecting me through every circumstance, leading me along a path that is pleasant and good. Always you are so good to me! I am grateful for Your divine care. Let me carry Your presence with me today and always, Papa. Amen.
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Hi! If I was going to sum me up in a sentence, it would read something like this: I am a Jesus loving, faith-filled, broken and flawed, redeemed and joyful, passionate, playful, bold yet shy truth seeker and freedom fighter who loves my family and friends with a healed, healthy heart. Whew! Oh, and I love the outdoors. And playing sports. I am a part of a beautiful blended family of 8, and I can't wait to become a grandma someday!
I am a life-long learner who loves to hear stories like yours, and I'm passionate about building into others spiritually, personally and professionally. I have believed way too many lies from the enemy about who I am, how I look, the way I work, how I parent--that's a list that could go on and on! I hate when any of us lose out on having that "life to the full" Jesus promised us, so if I can help someone learn some of the lessons God has taught me to get there, I consider it a privilege and joy.
For my more formal bio please click HERE.