No access beyond this point
This past week I went on a short staff retreat for the church I work at. First of all, don’t let the name fool you, we didn’t really retreat or relax, it was one big long drawn out meeting, but it was also very needed. We were going to talk about the direction of the church and other topics we needed to cover, but before we started any of the meetings/sessions we took 40 minutes to go on a “prayer walk”. This looked different for everyone, some like me actually took a walk through the woods by the lake, some sat on the porch and others walked to little gazebos they had around the lake, all of us enjoying God creation while taking time to pray for the discussions we were getting ready to have.
I took off on a trail that looked like it looped around the lake. If you know me at all you know I really enjoy hiking and when I’m hiking by myself I spend time in prayer and actively listening to what God is trying to say to me. While I don’t hear the audible voice of God I am more apt to hear what he has been trying to tell me when I get in the stillness without the chaos and distractions of everyday life.
So as I was walking and praying I came to a sign on a set of stairs that led off the trail. That sign is the one in the picture above. It read, “NO ACCESS BEYOND THIS POINT”. First of all, that sign felt like it was yelling at me because it was in all caps and second, I am a huge rule follower so I looked around and saw that my trail continued on, I walked past this sign and continued on the path. That was until just a short time after that the trail just ended. There was a tree across the path and no path to be found after that. I realized I would have to turn around and go back the way I originally came. As I started back I stopped by that sign again, but this time I decided to stay here for a little while. Conveniently there was a bench right across from the stairs, so I sat on that bench and prayed for a little while. As I was praying I looked up and saw that sign again. That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. This is my life, I feel stuck and I don’t feel like I can break past where I’m at. Let me insert here that my life isn’t bad, actually, it’s pretty good. I have felt like God was telling me that he wanted my ministry to grow, but I didn’t know how that was possible. So to recap things were going good but I felt stuck.
Cue the tears. My eyes welled with tears so much that the sign seemed blurry. Then the range of emotions flooded my thoughts. I was upset because I had been feeling stuck and that a single piece of “laminated paper” was stopping me from growing in my walk with God and growing my ministry. At that moment I realized something. I had been feeling this way because I was trying to control my own future in every way possible. I wiped the tears away and decided it was time to break past that barrier. I had a conversation with God and confessed that I know I cannot do this without Him and I made a covenant that I am giving up control and trusting that God’s got my back. He has never failed me before and I know it isn’t always going to be easy but He is always there. After saying all this to God I got up and started walking back on the trail to meet up with everyone else. And that was it, we had our meetings, the retreat ended and I went home. That night something happened as I was processing what all had just taken place. My mind went into hyperdrive. I started thinking about that prayer walk and then conversations I had with other staff members. All of the different moments by themselves wouldn’t mean much but when I put the puzzle together, it gave me a new perspective and passion for what I have been doing but how to grow as well.
I can’t fit everything into today’s blog but I will continue to update you as they progress, just know I am really excited about what the future holds, and every day I am working to give all my worries, stress, and control to God. That’s not an easy thing to do but I will be better because of it in the end. I’m not sure what you have going on in your life today but if you are trying to control everything and fix it yourself, I would encourage you to give it to God. That doesn’t mean everything is fixed magically or that you won’t have to do anything, but it does mean that it doesn’t all fall on your shoulders. God wants to help you carry your burdens.
I pray that this blog today was an encouragement to you and can help in your daily life. Always know I am available to pray with you or just be someone to talk to when life gets hard. E-mail me at email@example.com if you need prayer!
Talk to you soon!