Marking Your Trail

DAY 30

Making a list and checking it twice is my jam. I love planning and details and hot cups of tea cooling as schedules fill up with washi tape and color-coordinated dates, information solidifying on the page. The energy of raw data being gathered, sifted, verified, organized, and recorded in a useful way is my happy place. Sure, it’s nerdy, but it’s how God designed me, and I thoroughly enjoy it. And it’s not so hard to believe, given that I’m operating in the image of the One who created matter in its basic form—chaos—in the beginning and spent the next five and a half days gathering, sifting, verifying, organizing, and recording it.

It makes sense, then, that today is one of my favorite days of the journey. Let’s begin scooping up all the straggling bits and pieces of material so we can render them useful (and pretty). This is where we move the past month from the head to the hands.

Consider all you’ve learned about yourself over the last few weeks. (Need to jog your memory? Glance at the Adventure Map.) Then curl up with your notebook and pen and respond to the following questions, being as specific as possible:

  • Have you experienced any nudges from God? What is He inviting you to do/be?
  • What are the three biggest things you’ve discovered about the gospel on this adventure?
  • How will you implement those three things? When?
  • What are the three biggest things you’ve discovered about yourself on this adventure?
  • How will you implement those three things? When?
  • What else might be helpful to learn to make the most of how the Lord shaped you?
  • Who should you invite to encourage you and hold you accountable going forward?
  • Were there any topics you feel the need to review or camp out in with more intention?
  • Have any questions come up that you’d like to find answers for?
  • What available tools and resources can you use? How will you do so? When?
  • How regularly will you check in to evaluate progress and hangups?
  • What truths does your heart need to hold onto as you move from right belief to right action?
  • How will you maintain a restful dependence on God rather than striving from a place of self-sufficiency or unlimited obligation?
  • Identify a major roadblock in each of the following areas that could hinder your progress: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, relational. How can you cooperate with the Spirit to address these problems?
  • How might God feel about the ground you’ve covered during the past month?
  • What do you think He’d like to see come out of this adventure?

I hope the Spirit revealed some clear and practical next steps through that exercise. But as my senior thesis advisor asked rather abruptly after reading my rough draft, “So what?” The enemy of our souls would love nothing more than to see us waver, pause, and then sit down despite what we are sure God is calling us to. In the words of C.S. Lewis’ demon Screwtape,

The great thing is to prevent [a believer from] doing anything. As long as he does not convert it into action, it does not matter how much he thinks about this… Let the little brute wallow in it. Let him, if he has any bent that way, write a book about it; that is often an excellent way of sterilising the seeds which [God] plants in a human soul. Let him do anything but act. No amount of piety in his imagination and affections will harm us if we can keep it out of his will. As one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.

Friends, please don’t stop here, just short of breakthrough. Knowing how to proceed but never actually taking that step forward is an excruciating death that can last the rest of your life. God has so much in store for you on the other side of a scared Yes. The step doesn’t have to be big or beautiful. It just has to happen.

There is a trail marked out for each of us, unique and quite probably terrifying. You know what they say—if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. We follow the God who leads us away from Ur, right through Egypt’s grasp, straight between the walls of the sea (and then centuries later, out upon the sea). His destination is the cross; ours is the glory in His wake. We must watch out for impatience, little backseat drivers that we are: count on taking the scenic route. It will seldom seem safe or natural or well-traveled. But it’s a road worth taking, and we never go alone.

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