Though I’m not quite finished sharing my experiences with Ezekiel, I have decided to change things up a little. I’ve recently read the book of James (it’s pretty short, so it’s no major feat that I’ve accomplished), and God has used it to speak to me concerning my leap of faith in quitting my teaching job. I’ve decided to share that with you. It may not seem as much like a devotional as my other posts since it’s more of a personal reflection, but I pray that God can use it just the same.
The peace that followed my decision and announcement to quit has been unbelievable. Am I still scared? Have I been struggling with my new identity (no longer a teacher)? Do I still want to control my own future by planning out an income source? Yes, yes, and YES. But there is an amazing peace in knowing that God is behind this decision. So many times, I prayed for energy or patience to help me get through another day of teaching, being a wife, and mother. I prayed for balance. I prayed for relief. I always felt restless. Something wasn’t right even though I knew what to expect, even though we were financially comfortable, and even though I knew God could help me handle anything. Now, I have no idea what to expect, and we are becoming a little uncomfortable, but because I know that I have a God who will help me handle everything, I have given him everything. He spoke, I resisted. He shouted, I listened. He has promised, I am learning to trust.
The peace that followed my decision to quit teaching has now turned into impatience. God worked for a long time on me to teach me about obedience despite risk. Now he’s teaching me about patience. The rush of going over the waterfall has calmed, and now I sit in the pool below, barely moving and impatient. I felt that God had something else for me when he was urging me to quit. I expected to immediately see it as we crested the waterfall, but now my boat seems to be satisfied sitting quietly in the calm waters beyond the falls. I’m ready to rock the boat. However, I know that me rocking around in this little boat will only cause it to tip over. Jumping out and trying to swim to the shore means that I’m choosing my own path over God’s direction. I think, for now, he wants me to be still and patient. He knows what comes next. In his time, the winds will pick up, the current will move, and I will be directed to where he wants me. I can’t fall asleep in my little boat basking in the warmth of being idle, instead I must be attentive to hear his voice and follow his direction. As I’ve been struggling with this idea of patience and giving God time to work opposed to me controlling and pushing, I have been reading James which provided several good reminders to be still and know that he is God. The next few posts will share what he’s been putting on my heart.
James 2 focuses on the importance of faith being supported by actions. “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). Initially, I thought that quitting was enough of an action to show my faith. As we continue this journey, I see that God may be asking me to show my faith with further actions. We knew this decision would put us in a different financial situation. However, we’ve been financially responsible, and though it may not be easy, this one-income-thing is possible. It’s amazing how God works; sometimes we don’t understand what he has going on in the big picture as we plug away with the day-to-day. When we were introduced to Dave Ramsey’s financial advice, I truly believe it was in preparation for the day I would hand in my letter of resignation. God knew that almost ten years after committing to a debt-free life, I would quit my job. Without Ramsey’s program and the change in how we’ve managed our money and resisted debt, my staying home would not be possible. The confidence that God has been preparing us for this financial change has reassured us in our decision. As we considered the financial impact of me quitting and looked at our new budget, my husband and I consistently reminded each other that God will provide when those unexpected needs arise. He loves us more than the sparrows and the wildflowers, and he provides for them; surely, he will take care of us. We’ve said this countless times, and by quitting my job, we thought we were showing the actions that support this faith. However, maybe God is wanting us to actually experience his goodness not just say we know it’s there. If some financial opportunity fell into my lap now, would we really experience the same faith that will be necessary after having to experience truly relying on God for a period of time with one paycheck? Maybe my actions supporting my faith haven’t been completely fulfilled yet. Maybe that “something else” God has for me is in my home, not in outside work. Maybe God does have some opportunity waiting for me, but first he wants me to show through actions that I am content to rely on him and trust that he will provide. James 2:24 says that a person is justified by what he does – present tense. Not what he did, not one leap of faith that one time, but we are justified by the actions and choices we make every single day. Living a life trusting in God is a continuous process, not a one-time thing.
Lord, help me to continue to show you my faith in actions. Help me not to be content with a one-time leap but instead to follow you in every choice, every day. Thank you, Lord, for preparing me for this moment. Forgive me for lacking faith when I cannot see the big picture you are creating, and help me to trust more in you every day and to show that trust in actions.