It dawned on me tonight that just because it's a "good thing" doesn't mean it's a "God thing". I've heard this phrase before but it came more alive to me tonight as I began putting the pieces together of how I've learned this lesson the hard way over the last year, at least a few times. Here's what I can recall.
1. I joined my "girls group" for a Bible Study when I returned from YWAM back in September. These girls are my core group of friends and as I've come and gone over the last three years as a missionary, they have always welcomed me back into whatever study they are doing. This time around, after getting input from everyone, we chose to do a Beth Moore Study on the life of David. God had spoken to me very specifically about David in the past, and I had never done a Beth Moore Study before, so it seemed like it must have been a "God thing". That's what I thought until halfway through the study I wasn't seeming to feel like that anymore. I didn't fully understand it at the time though. All I could recognize was the difficulty of disciplining myself to do the study and my desire to be in fellowship with the girls more so than watching the dvd of a teaching and filling in the blanks in our study books. Looking back, I can now see that it was a"good thing" but not a "God thing" that I participate in my girls group Bible Study. *Side note: The thing about a "good thing" vs. a "God thing" is that it doesn't always make sense to everyone. I mean, there was no reason why I couldn't do the study with them. It's like I was choosing not to when I was fully capable. But truthfully, my heart wasn't fully invested in it. I notice this to be a signal often times when something is a "good thing" that I thought was a "God thing" and turned out to be the opposite. And, because of that when it came time to communicate that to my friends, I beat around the bush and nervously gave excuse after excuse when I could have simply said "I know this doesn't make sense probably, and you may not understand it, but I don't believe I'm supposed to keep doing this study right now." Instead, I rambled and made no sense at all because I was so concerned about their responses and giving them a reason as to why I was not going to complete the study with them. (Thank you girls for your grace!!!)
2. I'm connected with a ministry called His Hands and Feet Christian Ministry. (HHFCM) It is a ministry that equips you to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and teaches you how to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading and hear the voice of God. My amazing friend Andria started it with her husband. She mentored me for a season and both her and her husband have contributed greatly to my spiritual growth over the years. Their ministry has supported me as a missionary both prayerfully and financially. After returning from YWAM, I found myself on the leadership team of this ministry. I loved being on leadership, but wasn't really sure my role as a leader except being a missionary. I knew Andria was looking for someone to help with and oversee the children's ministry, so we talked about the potential of me doing that. After "sorta" praying about it, I made the decision to take on the "children's pastor" role. I used whatever resources I had and tried to be creative with it. The first time was so overwhelming for me, but I didn't want to give up. Time after time, things kept coming up, and I couldn't be there to teach. Most of the time, I was scheduled to work as a nanny and forgot to mark my calendar for HHF. I still managed to come up with a "sub plan", however that whole process was so stressful. I even thought to myself, maybe it is spiritual warfare because the enemy doesn't want me to be doing it. Wrong! I took on something that I wasn't supposed to. Despite my efforts to make it work, something just didn't sit right in my spirit. It wasn't until Andria said something to me along these lines that got me thinking "if you don't want to oversee the children's ministry, you don't have to. Just let me know soon what you decide so we can work it all out. And you know you don't owe us anything, right? I don't want you to feel like you have to be doing this because you owe it back to us." As soon as she said that, an immense weight lifted off my shoulders. And so I was, stuck in that place again, wondering what was going on in my heart and why I wasn't fully committed to overseeing the children's ministry for HHF. God must have been up to something! You see, I was trying to find my place, and it only made sense that I became the teacher for the children at this ministry. I went to college and have a degree for teaching, so shouldn't I be teaching in some manner? Not necessarily. Little did I know in the midst of all this, serving as the children's pastor for this ministry was a "good thing" but not a "God thing", which is why I felt the way I did. I still kept trying to find my place on leadership at HHF and after much prayer and searching, I discovered the best option for me was to step down from leadership. At this point I had applied and got accepted to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and is planning on leaving in September, so it made sense that my heart was unsettled because I was soon to be moving. It was a hard thing for me to do, but just because it was a 'good thing" doesn't mean it was a "God thing." I felt much more at peace after making this decision and becoming okay with it. Therefore, I had to eliminate another "good thing" from my life because it was not a "God thing". And just because I stepped down from leadership doesn't mean I can't attend the HHF meetings or keep in relationship with the people on leadership. It simply means even though being on leadership was a "good thing" it wasn't a "God thing".
3. Today I discovered another example of something that is a "good thing" but not a "God thing". I was supposed to meet with a friend and discuss a book we have been reading together. It seems more often than not that I end up cancelling our plans. I found myself in that place tonight and I was torn.. Then my friend said to me "you still coming tonight?" and it opened up the door for me to really seek God for wisdom about this situation. I knew I had committed to reading through this book with her and discussing the chapters on a weekly basis, but I felt I should cancel yet again. I found myself back in that place- what do I do, God? Asking God for wisdom in the midst of it, after the commitment. And as a result, I heard God say "Katie, I never told you to commit to this. You thought it was a "good thing" so it must be a "God thing" , but remember that just because it's good doesn't mean it's part of my plan for you right now." I looked back on my decision to go through the book with her and I recall recognizing that we both had the same book, and were struggling with the same topic as the book. It made sense that we read this book together and discuss it because it would bring encouragement to us both. However, sometimes, when we'd get together, we'd end up chatting about life and praying more than discussing the questions from the book . I was able to share this with my friend and hope she'd understand and be gracious with me. I felt instant relief from this.
All that being said, learn from me and don't learn the hard way. Just because it's a "good thing" doesn't mean it's a "God thing". Always ask God for wisdom before you make any decisions and commitments.