Growing in the wilderness…

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We tend to want to follow “normal”. It’s “normal” to finish school, go study or get a job, meet someone, buy a place, create stability, retire and enjoy your last few years. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not against these things and I’m not saying that they are bad. I do however have a question. “Who decides what’s normal?” Is it “normal” because that’s what the majority chooses to do? So because most people choose to be selfish and put their own needs ahead of the needs of others, does that mean being selfish is “normal”. Most people stay in a job that they can’t stand, just because they are too attached to the money that they get at the end of the month. Does that make it “normal”?

My life has always looked very different to “normal” and there have been many times when I have doubted the direction I have taken. But those doubts were always short-lived and they happened just before amazing breakthroughs occurred. My way of thinking has always been anti “normal”. It’s always been about taking the road less traveled. The road that’s full of potholes and obstacles. Because that’s what makes life interesting – the challenges that take you out of your comfort zone.

At 50, when most people have accumalated a reasonable amount of wealth, I don’t have much to show in the form of material things. When most people my age are considering slowing down and “enjoying” life after a lifetime of toil, I am only getting started. To me, life is about the experiences, not about the bank account. It’s about the impact we have on the lives of others, not about the false sense of security we find in the “stuff” this world has to offer. It’s all about doing things that have eternal value because, at the end of the day, we enter into eternity with nothing this world has to offer.

Still, it’s a journey in which one feels “different” because most people are chasing after “things”. It’s a journey that leads to many questions and often very few answers. But it’s a journey that I wouldn’t swop for anything. Life is about discovery and it’s impossible to discover if you don’t explore; And it’s impossible to explore if you don’t venture into the unknown; And you will never venture into the unknown if you are obsessed with comfort. And how blessed I have been to have an amazing wife and 2 beautiful sons, who have travelled this amazing journey with me. We have literally traveled aroud the world and experienced living in different countries together. These are things that take us out of our comfort zones, but experiences that enrich our lives more than any $ 1 million house or any luxury car.

Our journey has been so amazing because, most of the time, we have allowed God to be our tour guide. In times when we disregarded His direction, He never took off and left us stranded. He waited patiently for us to come around. The closer you are to God, the more in tune you are to His voice and His prompting. There have been times during our journey where we drifted away. During those times we wanted to do things that we thought were right for us. And the further we drifted, the more our own ideas drowned out His call. It’s during these times that God allows us to drift away in the wilderness so that He can teach us valuable lessons. It’s the place we all need to be at times, because it’s a place where we have nowhere to turn. It’s a place where there are no distractions. It’s a place where God can say to us… “Be still”, and when we heed that call, we will know, without a doubt, that He is God! Knowing who He is, and who we are in Him makes all the difference. It’s where we find our true confidence. That’s when we know we don’t need the recognition of others to give us a feeling of self-worth. The fact that Jesus died on the cross for me – that makes it clear to me that I am important to God. That changes everything.

We have been wandering for 7 months now. Spending a month in Mexico where visas and finances didn’t work out. One month visiting in South Africa, considering settling there, but feeling a prompting to move on. Two weeks in the Gold Coast of Australia, thinking that’s where we were going to be God’s hands and feet, but we were offered jobs in Darwin and we have been here for the past 7 months. Earning more money than we ever have, but never feeling settled. Knowing that this isn’t where God had called us. After applying for jobs all over Australia, and asking God to open doors where He wants us, not where we want us, a few options have come up. One, specifically, was an absolute miracle and we will be relocating to Melbourne next week – following God’s prompting, and leaving the spiritual and physical wilderness behind. It’s time to be obedient and to step into the promised land. Not promised land as in material stuff, but promised land as in being where God is calling us and being in His will. At times during this journey we felt that God had left us to wander aimlessly. But now we realise that He was preparing our future.

Recently, Ralph, a good friend of ours from Tasmania, sent me this message:                “Stop running go back where I planted you and you will grow.You are called and He will not leave you alone until you surrender. You already know what He requires of you. Fear not for I will be with you says the Lord.”

How we love to run to where we think we need to go. But when we allow Him to determine the direction of our lives, we find peace and we realise the true meaning of what it means to be content.

It’s important to remember that our lives might look very different to what we thought they would turn out to be, but that doesn’t mean we took the wrrong turns. We might be in a totally different place where we hoped to be, but that doesn’t mean we are lost. That means God is taking us to a place where we will be still and hear His call for our lives.

My prayer for you is that you will no longer allow the noise of the world to drown out the voice of God. He is saying to you today, “I have something awesome for you if you only trust me.”

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