5.6.17

How to Venture in a New Direction

by Sally Matheny

[How do we move when we are content where we are?
Pixabay photo]
I bought a beautiful hydrangea bush to plant in my yard. The flower, still in its pot, has been moved to four different locations. I can’t make up my mind where to plant it. The last time I planted a hydrangea, it died. I’m afraid I’ll mess this one up as well. After four weeks, it’s struggling because it's still sitting in the thin, plastic container, waiting on the transplant.

Our lives can be like that. Whether a school year closes, a business year ends, or we find ourselves pondering on New Year’s Eve, the question remains. Did I make a difference this year? Should I stay where I am? How do I know if I should venture in a new direction?




No matter where we are in life—in our age, our finances, or our employment status, God enables us to make a difference.  But this is not a “bloom where you are planted” article.

Instead, this addresses the question of when we should pull up the roots and transplant elsewhere. More specifically, how do we move when we are content where we are?

Think about how a seed grows into a plush, flowering plant. All it has ever known is the safe boundaries of its container. I’m sure that’s how my hydrangea started out but now it’s not looking too healthy. It needs to stretch out its roots to grow.

The whole “bloom where you are planted” deal is great, until you outgrow your flowerpot. What feels safe and snug to us may be inhibiting our growth. How do we overcome our fear of venturing out in a new direction?

Look for God’s Direction

My hydrangea came with a planting instruction card. I read it, but I keep thinking about how I’ve not done well with hydrangeas in the past. My fears are holding me back.

Moses had similar fears. God told him to leave his home, approach a heinous ruler, and become the leader of a people he had ran away from.

Exodus 3-4 enlightens us of Moses’ response.

“Who am I that I should go?”

“Suppose they will not listen?”

“O my Lord, please send someone else.”


Moses clearly understood his directions came from God, yet his fears stifled his response. 


Ask for Help

Even though “the rage of the Lord kindled against Moses,” He sends Moses a helper. Apparently, Moses' brother Aaron had a knack for chat.

Can you relate to Moses? When it’s time for someone to read the Bible, pray, or speak in front of a group, do you call on the one you know who is comfortable doing those things? Or you make sure everyone understands not to call on you.

I get it. Really, I do. I’ve been at the point of quitting church because I was called on to pray in front of a group. That’s another story I’ll save for later. But, I’ll tell you this, God’s grace is sufficient. He will meet us where we are.

Even though He wanted Moses to fully trust in His power to help him, God loved him enough to meet him where he was at and began to grow him from there.

Those who are shy speaking about their faith will find great encouragement in the book of Exodus. Tell me what you see here:

Exodus 4:28       “Moses tells Aaron everything God said.”
Exodus 4:29       “Together they gather the elders and Aaron spoke . . .”
Exodus 5 - 10     Repeatedly we read, “God speaks to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron . . . “

Initially, Moses and Aaron always went to Pharaoh together, Whenever Pharaoh wanted to speak, he called for the pair.


Shift Your Focus

Satan constantly reminded Moses of his inadequacies and so Moses chose to remind God.

Like Moses, whenever we face a hardship, we are quick to focus on our own inabilities, rather than on God’s magnificent capabilities.

However, there are two important things to remember here. First, even though Moses struggled with what God was calling him to do; he did not turn away from God. He kept talking with God.

Second, God loved Moses despite all his insecurities, flaws, and his lack of trust in Him. Not only did God plan to free the Israelites, He planned to grow Moses.


Allow God to Cultivate You

God wants to grow us.
The first three plagues God sent came after He instructed Moses to tell Aaron to stretch out his staff. 

The fourth and fifth plagues God sent after He told Moses to go and speak to Pharaoh. 

Scriptures do not tell us if Aaron was present or not. I believe he was there because he went with Moses the previous times and scriptures tell us he was there with Moses addressing the later plagues. 

We do know that for the fourth and fifth plagues, God did not instruct Moses on what to tell Aaron to say. 

God told Moses what to say, and Moses obeyed.

Before the sixth plague occurred, God spoke to Aaron and Moses. They were instructed to go to Pharaoh together. 

This time God asked Moses to do something additional. He was to simply take a handful of ashes and toss them in the air. Moses obeyed.

God was growing Moses.


Be Ready to Stretch

Before He unleashed the seventh plague, God told Moses what to say, and this time, instead of asking Aaron, God asked Moses to stretch out his hand toward the sky. And he did.

Aaron was there for support when Moses went to Pharaoh the next time, but again, God asked Moses to stretch out his hand before He set loose the plague of locusts.

God did not send consultation to Pharaoh between the eighth and ninth plagues. He commanded Moses to stretch out his hand again before utter darkness came over the Egyptians for three days.

Whereas Pharaoh had always summoned Aaron and Moses after the land was struck by a plague, this time for whatever reason, he only called for Moses.

Nonetheless, Pharaoh’s heart remained unchanged and Moses is “hot with anger.” He speaks boldly to Pharaoh warning him of God’s final plague.


Be a Witness

By this time, the Egyptian people and even Pharaoh’s officials, had developed a respect for this ordinary man named Moses. The man who had to have a spokesman when he first began approaching Pharaoh. 

Though timid in speaking, Moses had not quit. The people watched him obey his God and his God displayed power like no other. Not only did everyone see God do mighty things in the land, they witnessed God’s power working in Moses.

And God’s work was just beginning. Along with joys, more hardships lie ahead for Moses as he led the Israelites out of Egypt.

But he allowed God to set him free from the confines of his own insecurities. Moses’ spiritual roots were not stifled or cut. They were stretched.

Spiritual roots aren't stifled or cut. They're stretched.


I’m not sure about the outcome of my hydrangea. I’m taking a definite action with it this weekend. I'm hoping it will thrive.

Our spiritual growth doesn’t have to be so iffy.

Most days we will flourish where God has us. Occasionally, we will encounter dry spells. The world’s harsh climate seems difficult to weather at times; and often we’ll wonder if we are making a difference.   

When we hear God's call to move, keep pressing forward, even if it's baby steps.

Keep a two-way conversation going with our Lord and Maker. He loves us so much He’s willing to meet us right where we are at—insecurities, flaws, and all.

He will send help and encouragement through His Holy Spirit and our Christian brothers and sisters.

Shift the focus from our powerless selves to our powerful Savior,

and

s t r e t c h.

               





4 comments:

  1. Great post. I hope you get your hydrangea planted soon.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Janice. I finally chose a spot! I hope it perks up and thrives in its new location.

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  2. I about laughed out loud at the confession that you were ready to quit your church when you were called on to pray in front of a group. Boy, can I relate to that traumatic experience!

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    1. Ha! I'll have to be sure and post about that soon. It's a funny story that ends up with me becoming a pastor's wife, among other things! God and His sense of humor. :) Thanks so much for joining the conversation, Brenda. Hope you have a joyful day.

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