There is something drawing more and more of us to not only simplify our lives, but truthfully, to stop the madness of the current paths of life that many, MANY find themselves on and yet wonder…how did I ever get here? It’s the current path of life where we can spend all our energy, because it’s a path that keeps us always and constantl … “going.”
Going here, going there. Going to our calendars and making sure they’re filled in and filled up. Going to the next thing and then the next. Going to this link, then that one. Going to this webinar, this next event, this blog, and we make sure we’re going to follow this person and that one.
We’re going to ‘make a life’ … instead of ‘live our life.’
But then that time comes. It always does. The time that is inevitable. It’s the time when …
We long for change.
And not just any change, but we long for change that will take us out of the chaos and into a calm that is real.
I see this everywhere I go. Women hurrying here, and hurrying there. Reading more and more self help books, addicted to the blogs and webinars and podcasts that will tell them step-by-step “how to dream big,” and then they search for the ones that will tell them “how to dream even bigger.” How to grow a home-based business, how to have more muscle tone, how to become financially stronger, how to raise great kids, how to experience a solid marriage, how to win more friends, more influence, more respect, more attention, more sales, more followers, more buyers, more stuff … and how to DIY so you can gett’r done!
However, the theme seems to be originating from an unraveling sense of discontentment that drives us, and it all can be disguised with such righteousness, don’t you think?
I’m not trying too sound like a Debbie-downer, not at all. And I sure don’t want to sound like someone who is shooting down ambition or the desire for excellence. Those are noble characteristics that we DO see encouraged in Scripture. But that’s not what we see happening. We see a current path of not just keeping up with the Jones’s, but keeping up with all those on the next path and the next and the next … and the next. And we see it all beginning to look very much like “religious roads.” Roads of hurry (due to technology) and roads of much more (due to the constant and flooding increase of materialism) roads of competition (due to the pressure to stay current) and roads of absolute and total “WANT.”
Social medias have made quite a current path for people to experience everything they set their minds to, everything but … the old paths. The current path is one we try to figure out how are we going to fit in? And it can leave us feeling “not enough.” Not doing enough. Not having enough. Not owning enough. Not educated enough. Not popular enough. Not talented enough. Not successful enough. Not enough “likes or followers.” Not enough…not enough…not enough. If I were to give the current path a name it would be “Not Enough Lane.” It’s a winding road that seems to be void of wonder and excitement, adventure and abundance!
But God has a trail for us to blaze!!
This current path of living down the “Not Enough Lane” does not need to describe our days, not one smidgin’ of them. Because you see, … God. God has a new trail for us, that is actually called “The Old Paths.” The Lord has said something to us in the throws of all the “current path living”, that beckons us to make a decision. A choice. A very real and even more critical choice for our life. He says to us:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16
Look up Jeremiah 6:13 – What word is used to describe the people of Jeremiah’s day when he was prophesying God’s judgement to the people? __________
They were devoted to things of this world and carried away by the love it. They greediness gave them over to covetousness. Which made them oppressive and violent, and hardened their hearts against the Word of God and anyone who spoke for him.
Read verse 15 – What else happened as they were determined to stay on their self-made paths of life? They no felt what? ___________
They had gone beyond the point of being ashamed. Their hearts were so hardened that they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush. (v. 15) Their faces showed just how insensitive to God they had become. So, they made a choice. They took a path. They decided on the road that would lead to their own destruction and it was to the road called “Defy God Drive.” But in verse 15, we find that for those who do not submit to Him in repentance, will not escape desolation and destruction. They will fall. They will be made to tremble because they would not blush.
Matthew Henry (one of my favorite commentators) writes about Verse 15:
“Those who sin and cannot be ashamed of it are in desperate situation now, and things will be worse with them soon. At first, they hardened themselves and wold not be ashamed; later they were so hardened that they could not be. They have lost the only good which once was mixed with much bad, that is, shame for having done wrong.”
The current paths … if they do not lead to repentance and a deep and desperate longing to know God, to live walking with Him, to fellowship with Him and to glorify Him, then they are not the old paths. But yet, we are told to “Stand at the crossroads and look.” God tells us…there is still hope and there is still the “good way.”
This good way is actually a Highway for our life – it’s the King’s Highway of Holiness.
Or look up each of these verses:
If you don’t mind me taking some liberties here, but Jeremiah 6:16 is as though God says,
“Stand. Get back to your feet. Stand and I’ll enable you to. Stand! Just stand up, throw your shoulders back and look. I’ve placed something out before you and you get to choose. But before you do, ask. Ask Me for the old paths. Ask Me for the good way. I’ll show you. I don’t play games. I deliver. And I will help you walk on the good path so that your soul finds rest.”
In Jeremiah 6:16, God wanted them as He wants us to do as travelers do who “WANT” to go along the good way that will bring them to His good destination – and that is to ask – ask which is the right way…
Read Proverbs 9:12 – Oh, that we were all so wise for our souls!
Read Job 8:8 – Let’s inquire of the former age
Read Deuteronomy 32:7 – That we will ask our elders…
… and doing all that, we will find the way of godliness has always been the way God acknowledged, blessed, and in which people have truly prospered. Ask for the old paths, the time-honored paths that the patriarchs traveled, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob; and if we hope to inherit the promises made to them, we need to follow in their footsteps. When we walk in the “good way” the rest that comes to our soul (our life) is one that gives us such sweet fellowship with God and the ability to enjoy ourselves. It is ONLY on this good and old path that we are able to enjoy true rest that is free of low self-worth, is free of constant self awareness, and a rest that allows us to live freely in self-denial. But more than that, when the Lord says, “you will find rest for your souls,” He is saying, “There will be an abundant reward for you at the end of you journey!”
But is this enough? Is this promise of abundance, is it really enough for us in making the decision to follow God down the old worn path of His Word as did our forefathers?
What is enough? When is enough enough? I wanted to share the words and thoughts of a fellow sister in Christ, Rachel Anne Ridge,
… because our next stone that we need to gather up as we journey together is one that clearly says, “He is Enough.”
I don’t have enough time.
I don’t have enough money.
I don’t have enough talent.
I don’t have enough education.
I don’t have enough connections.
I don’t have enough.
I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken those words. Or how many times I’ve stepped back from a new opportunity because I felt the things I lacked “disqualified” me.
Honestly, I’ve had a “Not Enough” mentality my whole life. I’ve heard it called a “Scarcity” mentality, and I believe that describes it well. It’s the mindset that says, because there isn’t enough (fill in the blank) you’ve got to hold on to what little you have because you might run out.
Scarcity, or Not Enough, looks like this:
- I don’t have enough money for my bills, so I can’t give to church.
- I don’t have enough time to teach Sunday School, so I won’t even be a classroom helper.
- My husband may leave me someday, so I won’t give 100% of my heart to him today.
- I’ve been rejected by friendships before, so I won’t invest in any more of them.
- This job is all I qualify for, so I can’t consider looking for anything better.
- I need to hang on to my valuable ideas because someone might steal them.
- I won’t compliment this person because they’ll take over my position.
- I must keep my money and resources safe, “just in case.”
- Helping others succeed means less success to go around for myself.
Scarcity makes us become territorial. It makes churches fight over members. It makes us make catty remarks about others. It makes us hoard our resources. It keeps us from stepping out and experiencing the thrill of depending on God.
The Scarcity mindset makes our lack big – and makes God small.
When we operate out of lack and fear and holding on, we are essentially saying, “God is not big enough to take up for me. He is not big enough to fight my battles. He is not strong enough to hold my marriage, or provide a new job, or use me in ministry. My lack is greater than God’s ability to overcome it.”
But I’m convinced that God never asks us for more than what we can give. And when He does ask, He wants to reveal His mighty power in our circumstance. He asks us to jump in with His plan, boots and all, and watch Him be enough to make a miracle happen. He makes us enough through His ability.
I’m reminded of the widow woman in I Kings 17:9, who was asked by Elijah for a cake of bread and some water. At that very moment, she had only enough flour and oil for one last meal for her son and her to eat, and then they faced certain starvation in a time of famine. It was a hopeless situation – real, true scarcity.
No doubt she had been carefully rationing her supplies for months, knowing that eventually she would run out. And the day was finally here. This, THIS would be their last pitiful meal together. With a rumbling stomach she gathered sticks for the fire and set the scene for their good-bye.
And then Elijah showed up and asked for THEIR meal.
The widow faced a decision. She did not have enough food for all of them. She could have explained her situation and been perfectly justified in not sharing. But rather than keep what little she had, she was willing to give all of it.
She said YES.
That’s when a miracle happened: As she poured her oil, it just kept coming. As she scooped her flour, there was more to scoop. There was enough. Enough for Elijah’s meal. Enough for her and her son’s meal. Enough for the next day, and the next day, and the next day.
Enough to feed the three of them for two whole years.
I love that Elijah’s request was for ONE cake of bread. It was just what she had. She had just enough. He did not ask her for two years’ worth of food. He asked her for one meal. And she stepped out in faith to meet the need.
I wonder how many times I’ve missed out on a blessing because I didn’t think I had enough “food for a whole famine?” Scarcity made me clutch my paltry possession instead of opening my hand in His abundance. I focused on my little bit, rather than His bottomless provision. On my lack, rather than His endless supply.
God never runs out.
He has enough of whatever it is you need.
He has everything for every circumstance.
His standard operating procedures are Abundance, Fruitfulness, Provision. Strength. Mercy. Grace. Love. Generosity. Miracles.
He. Is. Enough.
Where in your life has God not been enough? How has a scarcity mindset kept you from experiencing God’s abundance?
Stepping into His “Enough,