I know that in life there are many things that call for our attention and many needs in the world that scream at us as Christians. The sense of duty rises up and we feel we got to do something more about it. Especially if you go overseas as a missionary and see the multitudes and their many needs. But you don’t need to be a missionary to see that, needs are all around us, from people close to us to others who want our time and help. I myself know as a mum the struggle or juggling a relationship with God, husband, children, ministry, housework and work. Not an easy puzzle to work out. I know as a mum it’s so easy to feel guilty about so many things, as you feel you can’t quite do all you would like to help the children, spiritually, naturally, etc, etc – especially when you are in ministry. The pressures of ministry always threaten to take over your personal family life and usually it does if you just let it happen. The needs are more than we can bear to comprehend, but the questions comes in the end – how much of that is in God’s will for me to meet? We need to know the boundaries of the will of God verses the ministry needs we see all around. If we were God than we could bear the burden of all the needs around us, but since we are not, God only wants us to be concerned with what He intends us to do, no more, no less. We need to pray and seek God and find what exactly are these boundaries, what to do as part of God’s will and what is not our responsibility, though the need is pressing. If we take more than what God gives us, we will be unnecessarily overburdened and something in our lives that IS God’s will will miss out, as we only have 24 hours a day. Having only 24 hours in a day, it means we can’t do more than what God asks us to do except by dropping something He asks us to do. What I mean by this is: for example. let’s say that God wants us to do 10 things in a particular day, but we find more needs along the way as we do some of the 10 and think – we need to help here too, look, there is a need and must be met! Then we jump to do a number 11 and 12 that was not ours to do. By doing task number 11 or 12, we loose time that had to be spend maybe doing number 9 and 10 that God wanted and therefore we come to the end of the day and we can’t do anymore, so we leave 9 and 10 undone. Or we push ourselves to do more so we can also fit the 9 and 10 in the day, but we exhaust ourselves, we go late to bed and it affects the start and the pace of the next day. If we continue to live like this we will end up in a burnout! So what I am saying is this: By doing more than what is in God’s will for you in any given day you are certainly dropping something He wants you to do. I remember when I was working as a secretary, before I had children, Michael was in India for 5 weeks and I just took over his business while he was away so he can go. At the time the business was in the infancy stages so there weren’t many clients. But once he was gone, I started to get a flood of clients (actually it went on record as the second most profitable month of the whole 3 year in that business). I was living very far from work as well, so had to travel one hour to work and one hour and 30 minutes back. At work I had to support with a variety of tasks around 9 staff members. It was an intense, busy jobs with few times for a small break. Then I had to come home and work on the web hosting business issues, sometimes till 12 am and then get up some more in the morning before living at 8 am for work. I was so exhausted my face was swollen as a result. I started to arrive late a few times, because I came late at the bus stop and missed the bus. Because I was conscientious, I usually stayed up the extra I took off by arriving late to make up for it. One afternoon my boss rebuked me about this and told me clearly: the fact that I was making up for it in the afternoon does not pay for the morning when I was not there on time and she left suddenly. I was dumb struck and realized she was right. Because I did not arrive on time, she had to take 15 minutes out of her day to answer the phone for the whole company in my place and do some of my tasks. That was not fair on her cause she had a lot to do. My slackness impacted on her daily work. I repented straight away and I was never late after that. The reason I gave this illustration is this. Sometimes we think that – though God’s will is only this or that for us, even if we do some more, it won’t impact on what God asked us to do. But we are wrong, we have 24 hours and they are JUST ENOUGH for us to fulfil the will of God. When we add extra, it will impact on some that God gave us to do for that day – maybe we will feed the kids a quick not that healthy meal instead of a nutritious one. Maybe we would get stressed and yell at them or argue with the husband because we have too much on. Or maybe we become too tired and open the door to some sickness. Or maybe we are too tired the next day to do what God intends for that day. Or maybe the tiredness leads to feeling down and then hammered spiritually by the devil with temptations or negative thoughts. My message here is simple: if you do more, you will take away in quality or quantity from what God’s will is through your life. So what shall we do instead? I know, I have been a missionary, and the needs scream all around you. The need for people to be saved, the need for love and counsel to some, the need for more Bibles and the list goes on and on. But we need to realise that we are NOT the saviours of the world and we are assigned only a part of the whole puzzle of God’s will on the earth. For some this piece of the puzzle is bigger than for others, but it’s just suited to you specifically so you can operate at your best within the boundaries of your puzzle piece. If you try to do less, you are leaving God’s will undone. If you want to do more, you are not fitted for more so it will cause other aspects of the will of God in your puzzle piece to suffer, together with you suffering from burnout. It’s all an issue about being CONTENT with what God has entrusted to you. God wants us to be FAITHFUL with what He entrusted to us, not want more to do then that. Wanting more is a sign of discontent and pride and accusation towards God that really He is unfair to give me only so little, doesn’t He know I can do more? It’s the attitude that comes in when you actually worship the ministry, or influence and success, rather than God. So, in the light of the above, what are we to do? Firstly, we need to pray and draw near to God. Not for the sake of getting anything from Him, just for the sake of knowing Him and learning to know His voice, not to get an answer from Him about what we are to do. I would not like my husband coming to me every day, having not much of a desire to spend time with me other than in order to find out what I want him to do to help me that day. I would rather know that he wants to be close to me as a person and then out of that relationship naturally the rest can flow. I remember once when I was very task orientated, I went to God and I really just wanted His help and Him to explain to me what I should or should not do from my ever growing task list. But God bluntly told me that He will not talk to me about that for a while, what He wants instead is that I come to Him to seek Him, be with Him and love and experience Him. I got the message, He was not going to be used to help me live my life without Him! I’ll say that again: God will not let Himself be used by us so we can live our lives without Him. He is first and foremost interested in a close heart to heart relationship, where we primarily want to know Him and He wants to know us. Out of that relationship, things will flow outwardly towards tasks, God’s will and things to accomplish. I got the message: I can’t use God as an ATM where I can get out of Him what I want, when I want it. It’s a relationship with the Most High God and He runs things on His terms. His terms are relationship. That’s what He wanted all the time, a relationship with us, to experience everything together, to be together and then to do life together. So, first draw near to God with the purpose of building that relationship to be closer and more intimate. Secondly. Ask God to define your boundaries, your puzzle piece you have to play in His will. Beware that this can change from time to time as God sees fit. It is a living relationship and nothing is set in concrete without any changes ever. There are seasons where sometimes He wants you to do certain things more than others and other seasons where He wants you to be with Him more than do. It’s a continual finding of His will, on a daily basis. Ask God to define in general His will for your life, meaning to show you the big picture of what He wants to achieve through your life. And then there is the daily different things that He wants to bring to you to do, where every day might be different in certain aspects. He will allow you to work towards some goals related to the big picture, but He also reserves the right to interrupt your day at any time – convenient or not – and ask you to do something totally unrelated to the big picture. It’s just the same like in a marriage. Every member of the family have some tasks to do around the house regularly, but there are special times when everyone has to pull together and do extra, maybe around a birthday party, or when one of the members is sick, etc. The same way, God will give you some regulars that are part of the big picture but He will also add from time to time more or less based on whatever He sees fit for that season. Sometimes even the big regulars can change to another big regular. I believe that’s why God also insists on us building a close, intimate relationship with Him. How can we hear properly His voice and recognise it to be His if we are not accustomed to His presence and voice from regular every day interaction. He is not an ego maniac that needs our attention every day, but knows that because we are dependent beings that need Him, we will benefit from knowing Him closely in terms of hearing clearly the direction for our lives because we know His voice from constant interaction with Him. Thirdly, once we know His boundaries, let’s stick to them and not cause ourselves and others pain by doing less or more than what is in His will for us. Just as a help in discovering the will of God for your life, it helps to list all the main areas of your life and then ask God want you are meant to do in each. We all usually have the following main regulars in our lives: 1. a relationship with God 2. a relationship with ourselves where we look after ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally, so we can be useful in this world to others 3. a relationship with our immediate family – husband, wife and children – if married Then it branches out into other areas: 4. Ministry unto others 5. Work – for some might be work, for others housework 6. Managing life affairs like financial, etc 7. friends 8. extended family etc So, my suggestion is that you write down what are the major areas in your life and then ask God what is His will for each of those areas, be specific. I asked God for each of my children, they have different needs so the answer is different for each of them. Each of these areas would have specifics that are just for you. That’s what makes your unique piece of the puzzle unique – because it is His will for you, not someone else. Don’t compare yourself with others and think that you have to live like them. What if God wants you to be different. You can observe the great Christian examples to learn from them in general how to be more like Christ, but don’t try to copy their details. You will end up a copy yourself, not the original intended by God. Sometimes when you choose to just do what God called you, which might not always look like the standard way of living to others, you are certain to receive disapproval, ‘good’ advice that is not Spirit led and even hostility from some. Don’t be deterred – you know your life is NOT your own, so you can’t live it to please yourself or others. If others don’t like the way God is directing you, tell them to talk to God about it. Warning – the above advice is not to be taken to an extreme where you are never open for advice or correction. It’s only intended to teach you how to stand up for your uniqueness and not to cave in to pressures to conform to the majority. You are following the Shepherd, not the sheep, but in the same time you are open to advice and correction, as we need each other in order to fulfil the will of God. So, to summarise all the above: We all only have 24 hours in a day., JUST ENOUGH to do the will of God for us specifically, not more, not less. If we do more, it will subtract from His will in one way or another and us or others will suffer. We need to be content with our piece of the puzzle from His will on earth and seek to find what that piece is for us. We need to seek God for God in order to build intimacy and closeness. This closeness and knowledge of His voice will eventually help us in finding His will because it is continuously changing in one way or another. We then need to seek God to know our piece of the puzzle – His will for our life. This is a continuous daily process. We need to be specific, list the major areas of our lives, the people we are closely connected with by God and ask God for His direction in detail on what we are to do and how we are meant to interact. For example. Suzanna Wesley chose to have one hour of each day for each child she had to just give them undivided attention, to just one child. The child could talk about anything he wanted, he felt loved, treated as an individual (considering she had 9) and they prayed and got close together. She took her job of being a mum seriously and from her training came John and Charles Wesley, both revivalists in England. Once we know the will of God, we need to stick within the boundaries of our piece of the puzzle and not seek to do more. We also have to guard against others trying to draw us out of that puzzle, just to fit the general norm in society. Lastly, but very important, we need to remain flexible for change of plans from God at any time and open to small new things to do that He might need done at the drop of a hat. That makes for a living, active relationship, not just a historical following of a plan given to us 30 years ago. God likes to be current, present and sometimes changes are required or new things we did not know before added or some stopped. He knows best what we need to do in the present, because He knows our past better than we can ever know it, knows our today and certainly knows our future. He makes judgements on what is good based on this big picture which often we can’t see. So therefore obeying God is an issue of trust, trusting someone who sees better than us, has more understanding and wisdom than us and know better what needs to be done around us. For more information on How to know the will of God, please feel free to read the article found here. Looking forward to hearing testimonies on how God is adjusting your life and helping you discover your part of the puzzle. It’s hard, diligent work and God only rewards the diligent seekers, as Hebrews 11 says. So, pull up your sleeves and go into this adventure. It’s all worth the hard work when you find out what it is. Your peace will increase, your joy will grow, your anointing will increase and you will have a sense of freedom and happiness that only being in God’s perfect will can give you. Go for it, He is on your side! Let me know how God helped you through this article and what wonders He’s done in your life when you’ve applied it. Looking forward to reading your comments.
About The Author
May 4, 2007
February 5, 2009
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