Just recently, God revealed to me my next step forward in the journey beyond religion. It scared me because it meant stepping out from behind the protective barrier I had erected as a defence against the abuse I had suffered. I shared my understanding with a couple of close friends, people I trust to speak honestly and lovingly, and in both cases, I was left with a little gem of wisdom to treasure.
My first friend gave me permission to take my time and to remember that this was just another part of the journey I was on. I didn’t need to stress, somehow thinking I needed to arrive there yesterday! I forget that sometimes and think that I have to achieve things overnight, but that is not true. God is not compelled by time and is more interested in the depth of our growth than the speed. He wants lasting transformation. He was into sustainability long before it became trendy!
The advice given by my second friend was the suggestion that I relax and let God do the work, coupled with a caution against expecting things to look the same as they did before. Again, I really needed to hear this. When God asks us to do something, he’s not asking us to do it in our own strength. All he wants is our willingness, our co-operation. He’s more than capable of doing the rest (as he’s proved to me once again during this past week).
It was also a timely warning not to confuse past experience with what God is doing now. It can be so easy to look back to what was, and mistake that for the goal. But there is no going back and God doesn’t call us to live in the past. So I’m letting go expectations and trusting that he will show me the way to live with (and in) him now.
I wanted to write about this for two reasons. Firstly because I think these words of wisdom are worth sharing, that they have application well beyond my own circumstances. They are truths which stand as reminder to all of us that there is no need to rush and panic, no need to strive. God is full of endless creativity and he has no need to repeat the past. He calls us into renewal all the time.
Secondly, I am profoundly grateful for the blessing of having friends who are willing to walk in meaningful relationship with me. I treasure their words of love and wisdom. I was reminded I can’t do it alone and I don’t believe that any of us are meant to. We are created to do life with others, to know and be known, to walk in relational intimacy. If I were to offer my own ‘wisdom’ to you as you read, it would be to make room in your life for relationship. The investment is more than worth it.