I recently read an article by author, Jeff Goins, in which he writes about encouraging people to move. Maybe not long distances, but just enough for a change of scenery in hopes of getting new ideas or finding inspiration. I like to move, sometimes, because I like the change it brings. I often invite change because I have learned it can be good and it can broaden one’s horizons and provide new opportunities and experiences. However, what if staying where you are, even if you want to go, is God’s calling for you? There have been times in my life when I wanted to go, but, God simply didn’t allow it. For a season, I had to learn how to stay.
Reasons to Stay
Simply growing in faith where you are currently planted is important for your spiritual welfare. If God is calling you to stay, then there is a reason. He may choose these circumstances and the people you are connected with to grow your faith and trust in Him. He may have you there for someone else’s faith to bloom or for His seeds of truth to be planted. The toughest reality is that we may never know the reason! Just because you are discontent or unhappy with your current position, location or whatever the issue may be, doesn’t mean God wants you to walk away.
So how can you grow in your faith while staying firmly planted where you are? What things do you need to be doing, while waiting and trusting God? I’ve listed five things below to help you stay focused on God while you are waiting on Him. If you will commit to doing these daily, God will open doors in ways you never thought possible. Whether He chooses to leave you or move you, you will come out on the other side a changed person.
- Be Teachable
- Practice Contentment
Prayer is a given for a believer, but, what should we pray for? In Jeremiah 29, the prophet Jeremiah instructs the Israelites to pray for peace and prosperity of the very city they were exiled to, because, he goes on to say, if it prospers, so will they. This can be found in verse seven. You can and you need to pray for others to do what is right and to know God. In Proverbs 21, verse 21 we are reminded that it is God alone, who can change the heart of another, and also your heart, so don’t forget to ask God to give you a teachable heart. You can also follow Solomon’s lead and pray for wisdom, and King David’s lead and pray for strength, refuge and deliverance. Remember, you never have to pray alone, tell others your needs and then ask them to join you in praying for them.
Second, give praise and thanksgiving to God for his many blessings in your life. If needed make a list on paper and you may be surprised at how many there are to be thankful for. Praising God for his blessings, even when you are going through a trial, can change your perspective and lift your spirits. One thing I have learned to do, is to start my prayers with praise. Another thing that has been helpful to me is playing praise music when I find myself thinking negative thoughts about my circumstances. It amazes me how uplifting praises to Jesus can be.
Third, remember even with prayer and praise, if your heart is not teachable, you won’t grow in your faith. Your heart is not exempt from growing cold and turning away from God. To keep it teachable, look at everything as an opportunity to grow in your knowledge of God. Stay in God’s word. Confess your sins often and ask God to cleanse your heart and keep it pure from pride and deceit.
Next, practice contentment. Yes, I used the word practice here. Contentment isn’t given, and it’s not easy. Just like perfecting yourself in a sport or playing a musical instrument, contentment only comes with practice. In Philippians 4:11, the Apostle Paul writes, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” However, if you read the next verses, you will see that Paul explains he knows what it is like to be in need, to have plenty, to be well fed, or to be hungry. The key word here being learned. We learn from our experiences and mistakes and most likely we aren’t learning when everything is going our way. Simply performing your daily task everyday where you are, can help you develop your talents and skills and staying focused on these will help you learn contentment.
Last, surrender your prayers, your praises, your lessons and your circumstances to God. Sometimes you just have to let it go and lay it at the feet of Jesus. Sometimes you may have to do this daily. Listen for that small voice and take action. Once, I had prayed for God to open the doors of opportunity for a new job. It was probably six months later before I was given the opportunity to leave from where I was. First I had to train a new hire and then I filled in for her while she was on maternity leave. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but, I know God is a God of order and His timing is always perfect. I completed my commitment and then one Sunday morning in our service, our pastor asked us to simply surrender the one thing we were holding on to so tightly. It was my job, so I surrendered it that morning and vowed to let it go by faith, and walked out of that service into a new opportunity.
Know that you are loved and cared for and nothing is overlooked by God. He has you and your circumstances under His control, and, in His perfect timing, He will bring all things together and work them out for your good, if you will remain faithful in your love for Him. Stay in his word, not only hearing and reading, but simply have enough faith to do what it says and watch what God does with it. God Bless.
For additional reading look at Jeremiah 29: 1-14 and Philippians 4: 8-13.