When I was in my early 20’s I wanted to go to ministry school so badly I thought I would burst. One night while I was driving home, I prayed and said, “God, tomorrow I’m buying my ticket to ministry school. I’m making this happen and if you don’t want it to happen you better show me a good sign.”
A few minutes later flames were coming out of my car’s engine and I had to duck and roll from my moving vehicle. After my car’s engine had exploded I realized I would have to use all the money I had been saving up to buy a new car.
My plans died at that moment. This was my very expensive sign. Woof.
This whole situation is like a small peek into a much larger narrative that has played out in my life that I’m sure most of you can relate to.
In life, I have seen things that I wanted, and I charged forward trying to get them. Trying to make them happen totally disregarding if the Lord even wanted it to happen or not. After I’ve already set my mind on getting what I want, prayer is the afterthought.
Basically, without even praying about it or fully thinking through if it’s the right timing, I go after whatever I want until the Lord slams the door in my face.
I am determined to make it work, I’m determined to get what I want.
Like a new job, a new city to live in, new friends, a relationship, and the list goes on and on.
When the Lord slams the door in my face, I get super angry. I get angry that other people can do whatever the HE** they want but for some reasons when I try and make something work on my own strength, it gets totally and completely shut down and shut down quick.
I always ask myself, “WHY ME GOD?! Why can everyone else have everything they want when they want it and you can’t just give me this one thing that I want?!”
If I’m really honest, (and we all know I always am. HA!) sometimes it feels like he’s undermining my plans and desires at every turn.
The story about Jonah in the Bible comes to mind when I think about this. Within the first 3 verses of the book of Jonah God calls Jonah to do something hard, and Jonah doesn’t even answer, he literally just RUNS.
High tails it as far as he possibly could in the other direction. God totally trashes his plan to run and sends a storm while he’s on a boat and if that wasn’t a big enough sign he then sends a wale to swallow him up.
Needless to say, Jonah ends up doing what God originally called him to but think about how painful, (literally and physically) the process of running in the other direction was.
I can’t even imagine how frustrating and angry that made Jonah or that I would be if I was in his shoes. Can you imagine???? Hahahaha!
The thing with Jonah is that God knew that Jonah must have been one of the only people that could carry out what he wanted to happen.
It’s easy to think God was being mean to Jonah by stopping him at every turn but honestly, that was super nice of God.
Think about situations you’ve tried to make happen in your life. Maybe some of them are along these lines…
- Texting someone you know would date you because you are bored only to see they are dating someone or have them ghost you.
- Mentally checking out of the city you are living in only to have God tell you that you are staying there longer. Or circumstances happen that make you HAVE to stay longer.
- Wanting a career shift and applying to other jobs only to get rejection letters at every turn.
At the moment it was probably super frustrating but then you met the love of your life, found a better place to move, the perfect job came your way.
For me, after my car exploded I was royally pissed off. But I took the sign and followed the next doors that God opened up and it ended up being a FAR better path then I could have ever imagined or planned for myself.
If I would have forced it and made it happen I would still be reaping the repercussions today.
The lesson that I learned from my car exploding is to be thankful rather than resentful when God makes your path clear and closes a door.
I know it’s a weird, semi intangible thing to be thankful for but during this time of Thanksgiving, I am thankful that Gods bolted those doors closed in my life that I’ve tried to pry open.
That’s a clear sign to me that he’s got a bigger plan for my life that he’s preserving me for. It means the same for you! He’s got big plans for us and as much as it sucks at the moment, it’s really exciting that he’s leading you to something else. Something epic!
I’m thankful that he’s always slammed the doors in my face when I’ve tried to walk through. And that he hasn’t let me escape that very special plan that he has for my life.
All the while he’s been so patient and kind when I’ve thrown temper tantrums because I don’t get what I want.
Some practical ways that I’m showing my thankfulness…
- Writing out and remembering instances like this that have happened. Remembering Gods faithfulness and the ways he has come through with things that were even better than my plans.
- Dreaming about the future and how I will handle situations like this when they arise again because they will.
- Asking myself if I currently have any of these situations like this happening and if so, how do I submit those plans to God?
He is good and there is so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!