Lesson #1: Stop trying to figure out where and how things went wrong and play from where you are.
Too often, when I veer off course in my faith walk, I waste even more time trying to figure out where I went wrong. At what point did I misstep and lose my way? How did I end up so far in the rough or worse, lost among the trees? It's almost like I'm trying to follow my footsteps back to the place I was before things went wrong and continue on from there. But I can't. No one can. All we can do is look to Jesus and head in his direction from where we are. If I am preoccupied with yesterday's mistakes, I'm not focusing on honoring God today and before I know it, I have another yesterday to analyze and fret over. But if I acknowledge where I am right now and set my focus on God's call on my life for today, I'm going to be heading in the right direction.
God knows me completely and is with me always. His grace knows no bounds and nothing can separate me from him and I know that in him I can do all things. But just exactly what am I supposed to do? God's ways are far above my pay grade—how am I supposed to know what God wants me to do? Sometimes it feels like I'm swimming upstream or groping around in the dark looking for the light switch. I'm not talking about overarching life themes like "love God and love your neighbor." I'm talking about the specifics of daily living like just exactly how does God want me to invest these gifts of life, love, talent, possessions that he has blessed me with? I'm talking the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) kind of thing. I want a "Well done" from God when the time comes. And not because I'm afraid of going to hell or because I don't want to disappoint God, but because I love him and want to make him happy.
The truth is that I know what God wants. He tells us in his Word and if I listen with an open heart, his Spirit opens my ears to hear what God wants from me today, right now. I need to stop being afraid I'll make a mistake and mess up God's plan—I don't have that much power. I just need to listen and have confidence that because God has prepared me for the work he calls me to do, I really can do what he asks of me, with his help of course.