God desires for everything you do to first be presented to him. Before you make your plans, before you decide what to do, before you commit, talk to God about it.

It’s easy to assume God doesn’t care about the details of your coming and going, but my sister, if God cares about the birds you hear chirping outside your window, I assure you, God cares about the decisions you are making. If he’s concerned about dressing the lilies of the field with splendor, he’s concerned about everything concerning you. And, not only does God care, but God KNOWS. He knows what is next. He knows what is best. He knows where this leads. And he knows how this ends. So really, if God knows everything, and he cares about everything, why aren’t you talking to him about everything?

Oh, I know … because it doesn’t seem that important. It almost seems silly to consult God on everything. We tell ourselves God doesn’t have time to be bothered with our little problems and every day decisions … but we’re wrong.

James 4: 13-17: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring – what your life will be! For you are like a vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ Bat as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So it is sin to know the good and yet not do it.”

Harsh? No, straight forward.

Stop making plans without God. You do not know the future, God does. You do not fully know where this path leads, God does. You do not know the perfect timing, God does. God wants you in the middle of his perfect plans instead of your own impulsive ideas.

For many years now, I’ve prayed a prayer that has likely saved me from the mess of my impulsive ideas and touchy feely heart. The prayer is simple: God, if you’re in it, I want it … If you’re not, I don’t.

This is a surrender of what we think we want for what God, in all of his wisdom, wants. It’s an intentional turn toward a divinely better plan, even when we don’t see it. This is what allows God’s greatest work in our ordinary, every day lives. We are then aligned to be where we are supposed to be for divine encounters and perfect timing.

You know what else this does … this teaches us to not be pitiful and pissy when things don’t work out the way we wanted. If I turned it over to God, I can’t be vengeful when he vetoes it. I can’t be resentful when he redirects it.

Closed doors are just as much a blessing as open doors when God is the one directing the doors. Invite him into your hallway to direct the doors. ALL THE DOORS.

How do you know if God closes a door? Well, there are the obvious ways. No is pretty clear. Too late is also clear. Sold out. Not available. Not possible. Cancelled. Delayed. Lost in route. But also recognize what this final little verse in today’s scripture is really saying. “It is sin to know the good and yet not do it.”

What does that mean? This means, for girls who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, guiding and prompting us continually. That Spirit confirms and denies things within us. When it is confirmed within by a holy prompting, and we don’t do it, it is sin. It is wrong for us to ignore God’s promptings.

But understand, God’s promptings not only direct us to go, those holy promptings also direct us to NOT go. If we, under our own will, ignore the guide of the Holy Spirit and do what we want to do, that is sin for us.

God is simply asking us to bring everything to him first. Ask. Then listen. Stay close. Be in tune with his Spirit. Trust his plan and his timing.

Sometimes God says no to things that seem really good to us and it doesn’t make sense. It happens to me all the time. I find myself trying to present the plan to God to convince him of my version of the future I like best. I try to write the story for him and help direct him a bit. Gosh, he’s patient with me! Occasionally he allows my push to open doors he closed, just so I learn the lesson. If I said I don’t want it if God’s not in it, yet I push my way in, God’s gracious enough to let me see exactly why I shouldn’t have wanted it so bad.

And sometimes God says directs the next steps into something I would have never chosen on my own. This week while roadtripping, my husband and I looked back on all the decisions and circumstances over 30 years of marriage that have brought us to this place in our lives. It’s bizarre to see how many decisions we made thinking it was leading one place, but took us somewhere totally different. In fact, to a place we would have never chosen on our own. A place harder than we imagined we were strong enough for. A place so uncomfortable it would have terrified us. A place that looked nothing like the life we had planned. But looking back, we are so glad God did what he did, taught us all the lessons, allowed us to grow, and pushed us out of comfort into the great BIG life he created us for.

In our look back, we recalled the time we left the business we had worked so hard to build in Dallas, and we moved to the deserts of El Paso to help build a church. That church ended up being a flop. Our business struggled to relocate. It was a massive flop in so many ways. We would have NEVER gone if we would have known the hardships that were ahead. But my husband said he went because every time he opened up his Bible, it said, “In the desert. Go to the desert.” If you’ve ever been to El Paso, Texas, you know it’s on the border of Juarez, Mexico and it is DESERT! I’m talking cactus, tumble weeds and sand storms. Have I mentioned we’re more like exotic island kind of people?

My husband agreed to go because it was the exact opposite of what he wanted to do. There wasn’t an ounce of him that wanted to go to the desert, so that prompting had to be God’s Spirit within.

And it was. We went where we didn’t want to go, to do what ultimately would fail, because God wanted to do something greater in us.

I have to wonder, what is God’s spirit prompting you to do. Will you go when he says go. Will you stay when he says stay. Will you be uncomfortable when he says comfort is not in your future.

Let’s just practice today. Practice right here in your ordinary Thursday. You don’t have to wait until you move. You don’t have to wait until you’re forced either. Practice seeking God’s will in everything you do today.

God, what is best for me? What aligns with your plans? Is this your timing? Direct my steps because now I know, you really do care about every single one of my steps.

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