Earlier this week, I was presented with a ministry opportunity at my church that I am, quite frankly, really excited about. It was something I wanted to do, and was just kind of waiting for the opportunity to open up. I knew that if and when it did, I would say “yes”. Within hours of being asked to pray about it, I had already told my parents and a couple of other people that I was doing it.
So why did I wait more than 2 days after I had made my decision to tell the one person who needed to know? I asked God about that, and two reasons popped almost immediately into my mind:
- Pride: This could cover so much, but in this case, I didn’t want to seem too eager and at the same time, I guess I wanted to appear more spiritual. In all honesty, this particular opportunity had already appeared in both the S and T sections of my ACTS prayers the week before. I knew the opportunity was opening up, it had been suggested that I’d be a good fit, so I’d already started praying that if this was something God wanted me to do, that it would be presented. So why couldn’t I just say that I had already prayed about it and that it was a “go” instead of waiting and possibly giving the impression that I was still praying about it? The best I can come up with is pride, pure and simple. That and…
- Unbelief: By waiting to declare my decision, I was, in essence, giving God a chance to change His mind/take the opportunity away. This turned into a chance for my old beliefs about God to creep back up. Once again, the God in my mind trumped Truth, and I allowed myself to believe, even if briefly, that God is mean and is out to hurt me.
This is not the first time I’ve run head-first into these two issues. Oh no, we’re old frienemies. In fact, I’m so familiar with them that I’ve become rather comfortable with them. There’s comfort in hiding behind the lie of pride. There’s comfort in blaming God when I’m disappointed.
And on the flip side, honesty and vulnerability are downright terrifying sometimes. Real, genuine, not-backing-down-for-anything faith can be heart-stopping. Honesty, vulnerability and faith require me to let go. Of my carefully crafted image. Of my right to complain when things don’t go my way. Of the chance to hide behind a lie instead of being vulnerable.
The truth is, when we let go, there is that split-second of panic, but God always, always, always catches us. He is unendingly faithful. He knows what’s on our hearts before we know it well enough to put it into words (Psalm 139:4). He knows exactly where we are prone to fail, and He shows compassion and mercy in those places (Psalm 103:13-14). More than that, He provides people who show His grace and mercy to us, just in case His Word isn’t enough.
I can’t promise that I’m breaking up with pride and unbelief, but I can say that I don’t enjoy them nearly as much as I used to. I know that from time to time, I’m still going to hang out with them. But I also know that every time I realize what I’m doing, God is already there, ready to catch me and ready to forgive me.
I’ve also learned to recognize the signs that I’m about to wander off the road of faith and into dangerous territory. Indecisiveness in the moment on something I’ve already firmly decided is a big red flag. The temptation to deceive by appearing to be someone I’m not is a flashing light. Pseudo-spirituality is the warning sign of a coming cliff. I know the signs and I know what to do about them: Put my faith fully and confidently in the One who made me and knows me better than I know myself.
When our faith is rightly placed, many of our decisions will seem to make themselves because we know it’s not about us and what we want. It is all about our Father and His glory. Just the way He intended.
What are some signs that tell you you’re about to go off the road of faith?