My Friday morning departure came before I could really prepare for my trip. Exhausted from a chaotic week, I tossed my things in to a suitcase to head off to a much anticipated writer’s conference. This “reset” couldn’t have come at a better time.
Soon my mind wandered…Did I pack my toothbrush? Did I bring my phone charger? My thoughts were interrupted by the jarring voice of my GPS. “Turn left in 500 feet.”
As quickly as woman with a British accent interrupted my thoughts, I had a sudden realization. I never so much as glanced at the trip route before heading out. Typically while I rely on my GPS, I glance at the route before leaving to avoid any surprises along the way. Suddenly I realized I had no idea where I was going beyond the address I had plugged in before heading out.
While I knew my destination, I had absolutely no idea about any part of the journey. In that very moment I felt like God said ‘that’s what I want you do as you journey with me – know the direction but trust and anticipate that I will guide you with each next step.’
I certainly didn’t know my entire route. I had no idea where there might be surprises. I simply trusted that I could listen and know when I needed to turn. With that simple GPS instruction came a few valuable reminders:
Pay attention to your passion.
Is there something that stirs your soul – that thing that when you think of it you can almost feel your soul smile? It could be an idea you’ve entertained seriously or perhaps the idea scares you and you’ve spent your energy trying to keep it in a box. Maybe you want to change professions, write a book, or go on a mission trip. It could be something that seems completely impossible or maybe it feels almost do-able. Recognize the longings of your heart where it comes to your dreams because they give you a much needed sense of direction. Refuse to let doubt discourage you from pursuing a passion that God has placed in your heart. Stop focusing on the ways you might fail and ask Him where you might succeed.
Resist the urge to wait for the entire plan.
Don’t wait until you have “it all” figured out. None of us can see a year or several years into the future. If you’re listening to God’s promptings, you only need to look for the next step, not the entire journey. Too often we allow ourselves to stay frozen at the starting line because we can’t see enough of the steps. A GPS gives us each instruction when it’s time, not before. God does the same for us. We don’t need to know the entire journey, but whom we’re listening to for guidance. Truth be told, there’d be parts of our journeys that might scare us if we knew about them too far in advance. But, when we reach those tough spots, He’ll guide us through. Don’t wait to have all the answers, simply start.
Don’t give up when you hit the first snag.
We can be entirely too quick to throw in the towel. One little snag comes are way and we throw up our hands in defeat. Yet, if we had a flat tire on the highway, we’d pull over and replace the one tire and get back on our journey. Resist the urge to take out the rest of your tires when one loses air. You wouldn’t do it on the highway, don’t do it on your life’s journey either. A GPS recalculates when we take a wrong turn. If we’re listening to God, there’s no place we’ll lose a satellite connection to his instruction. Keep going and he will redirect you if a snag comes your way.
Focus on what you can do and do that.
Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Take the one next step that you likely already know what it is. In the writing community I’ve heard it said that “the worst thing you write is better than the best thing you don’t write.” If you’re a writer, you need to write. What action do people who do what you dream do? You need to do that… but you need to start with the first step. Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t.
Don’t expect the next instruction until you do the last.
Don’t try to skip steps in your journey. Sometimes we encounter a next step that we underestimate or don’t like. We figuratively crane our necks to see what’s beyond the step we’re at. Not long ago I was praying for what was next. The answer I got was convicting to say the least. Do the last thing that God nudged me to do and keep doing that. Sure enough when I committed to doing that fully, I discovered what was next.
In case you’re wondering, I did pack both my toothbrush and my phone charger. And, despite not mapping out my entire journey, I made it the the conference for just the reset I needed.
It’s your turn.The next time you find yourself getting stuck by doubt:
- Recognize your dreams and passion.
- Don’t wait for the entire plan.
- Refuse to give up when you encounter a snag.
- Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
- And don’t expect the next instruction until you’ve done the last.
Did this hit home for you too? I’d love to hear from you, click to join the conversation. And, if this encouraged you, why not consider sharing? Thank you!
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I started writing a fiction book about 10 years ago. I keep stopping because 1. I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing 2. I don’t want to self-publish again but getting to a publisher appears impossible. (No unsolicited material allowed)
I went to a couple of writers conferences. I was able to present my book (a proposal) to one publisher…that was 3 years ago. I’m thinking they weren’t interested. Ha.
Every once and a while I drag it back out of my Word docs…I need to do what you said…write. Don’t worry about publishing…just write.
Yes Lisa! Write! Some times its the discipline of doing what we know we “should” do that opens the next door. Start writing again and allow it to take you where it might. blessings! Susan
Susan this is such great advice! Love this! Thank you!
Thank you Heather!
God sized dreams have a way of scaring us, but so worth going after.
Mamie, you are SO right!
This was perfect. We are moving to a new location. What that location is at this time in not for sure. Our home sold on July 17th and we have been packing every day since. Things are going in storage for safe keeping. We are moving to our camper in a beautiful are and November 1st we move to a home that friends will leave in our care until we find a home. Hopefully before May 1st when they return to Minnesota. At the beginning of this process of selling our home, I said I was trusting for a new path for us. It turns out that is all I can do as nothing that we want to down size to is available. I know there is a plan out there but we are not seeing it yet. I just look to the time at our camper in a beautiful are to be relaxing and enjoyable. I have retired from my part time (turned full time) alteration business and am looking forward to doing project that I am finding all over the place not finished. Just things for me and my family. I am looking forward to reading more books and just sitting on the deck or by the fireplace. At 70 this is a tough place to be but I am trusting. I will no longer have my computer to keep in touch with you are many others and that worries me but I am trusting things will be OK. Trying to set something up on my phone but been so busy with packing. When help comes I have to work with them to finish the process of this big set- packing. So if I no longer get your blogs, I will miss them and wish you well. Pray for us that the GPS gets us where to are suppose to be. Thank you for all your advise along lifes journey
Linda it is always good to hear from you. You are certainly in a season of following just the next step. I will. Be praying that your path is straight and. The journey only the best. Reading on your deck sounds so peaceful. Perhaps you can visit a library from time to time to stay connected with the digital world and friends far away. You’ll be missed otherwise. Praying packing goes well. There’s always so much to do when you move. Blessings to you. All the best wishes for you! Susan
Thanks Susan for sharing this. I’m currently going through a season of questioning…not exactly doubts but I find the questions distract me and keeps me from staying focused on my mission.
Yes, I think it’s good to question so that we consider and inform ourselves but, we have to be careful not to get stuck in question mode. Good luck!
So much practical wisdom here. Doubt is the biggest dream-crusher ever.
You are so right Christa! It is the biggest dream-crusher. best, Susan
Thanks sis for bringing my thoughts into order! I’ve been missing the mark, not listening enough to the Lord, seeking more when I’ve not yet done what He’s already told me. Thank for sharing your hard earned truths ☺
Heidi, Glad to journey with you! This is one He’s gotten me on. Earlier this year I was praying hard for what I was supposed to do next. The answer… do what He said to do last and keep doing that until He tells me what’s next. Ouch! But, He was faithful. I made adjustments and settled into reaffirmed discipline in a few areas and He showed up big time! blessings friend. – Susan