Today, I am most grateful for DIRECTION.
I’ve been driving here in the Dominican Republic for just about 2 months now, and the first time that I was driving in Sosua (near where I attend language school), I saw a sign that said Una Via but didn’t really pay much attention to it. A few minutes later, I realized that I was driving the wrong way down the street and that Una Via means One Way… The process of making mistakes here (driving, and in many other areas) has really humbled and helped me accept that I am allowed to be human. I now know what the sign means, lesson learned. Knowing this, I’m grateful just to HAVE direction. Often, I want the Lord to give me full and complete directions for my life. I say “Lord tell me! Give me the info - top to bottom, A to Z, 1 to 10. Just tell me the what, when, where, how and why - bam, I’ll run full speed ahead and do it!” But that’s not usually how it works because one, He doesn’t always make it that plain and two, I don’t always run full speed ahead in obedience anyway. I see direction as such a gift, because even though He may not lay out the specific steps for me, when I just have general direction - small pieces and insights into the life that the He wants me to live - and as I strive to discover more about Him, he makes clear to me not only what I’m supposed to be doing, but He also makes really, really clear what I’m NOT supposed to be doing.
Discovering this has been really, really good because for so much of my life, people have suggested things for me. I’m tall and have long legs, so I was always told to that I should play basketball, or run track, when in fact, both of those were terrible ideas. But people often say to us, “You’re really good at _____, or we can really use your skills in _____ ministry or _____ job, so you should do _____, or you should go back to school and get your masters in _____” and on and on. In the past, I was easily swayed (and confused) by those suggestions and opportunities because I had zero direction and insight into what He would have me to do because I was listening to them and not God. (That is not to say that people do not have a place to see things in me and encourage me forward, but I now know to better discern who I allow to do that) In doing so, I not only learned discernment but I learned to be confident enough to sit in the process with the Lord, ask for direction and then once I got it, to learn to believe it and take steps to walk in it. It is literally a PROCESS of asking and waiting (before taking steps!) I had to do this while preparing to move here and let me tell you, people misunderstood both me and my decisions all throughout the entire process, but I knew with FULL confidence what I was and what I was not supposed to do.
Having a general sense of direction in life also determines how I handle things that come my way on a daily basis. These are not the huge, momentous decisions, or moments but in the good and the not so good things, the comfortable and the uncomfortable things, and especially the things that I don’t have answers to. Earlier today, I was talking with a friend about a few things that are concerning me and after I shared the most concerning one, he said “Oh wow, that’s a big deal, what are you going to do about it?”, and all I could say was “I don’t know” and we moved on. But I said “I don’t know” in such a way that I’d never heard myself say that phrase before. When I think back to when I did not have a true, intimate relationship with the Lord, I could say “I don’t know” and act as if I didn’t care, but inside I would truly be scared and stressed. But now? Now I now I can say it and literally not know, be okay not knowing and still, no stress can come my way. Now, regardless of the unknown, the deadline, the timeline, the expectation, the requirement, or the concern in general, I can say “I don’t know” or “I have no idea” and truly be okay with it. It’s not always easy. At times, I do have to push past my own desire to sound like I have it all together. We finished chatting and moved on, but what I realized later is that what I really needed to say was “I don’t know, but God does.”
Today, I am most grateful for DIRECTION because I, Apriel, literally have no idea what the answer are, and that’s okay, because if I did I would not have the opportunity to see God’s hands at work, and watching His hands at work never gets old.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.
Psalm 39:7 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
James 1:2-4 (NLT)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Romans 8:28 (NLT)