Man Plans, God Sets Steps

My all-time favorite movies all seem to have something in common. A young, naive learner gets trained by a wise, experienced teacher to kick some butt and make wrongs right. Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back, Rocky III, Highlander, and of course, the Karate Kid. 

I know I love these movies because they play into my deep need to become something more significant. These movies do a great job of portraying a trusted coach/mentor pouring into an avid student for the greater good. They’ve also done a great job of convincing us that all the training you need can happen quickly and with a killer soundtrack. You can become a Jedi or champion in martial arts in just a few weeks and a couple of training montages. But we all know the truth, don’t we? It takes time to be good at something. I mean, I’ve never gotten thin in a week, learned Spanish in a month, or built anything right the first time. 

I’m most adept at things that have taken years to “master,” and yet, there is this nagging voice inside me constantly shouting that I’m supposed to be good at something fast instead of allowing God to set the timeframe.

This week has been a frustrating one. I wanted more out of the week and out of myself. When I asked God about it, He replied, “Training is hard, and you are not good at it.” Whoa! Now That’s a God burn! But if I’m being honest, He is right. Training is hard. 

“For the moment all training and discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:11-13

Woah! Once again, God tells me that slow and steady is the way. My stride for wanting something is often way faster than His plan for me to learn it. I bet this learning process would be a lot more enjoyable and productive without all the negative self-talk that rattles around in my head telling me to go faster, do more, be better…all right now!

The best part of that scripture is that at the end we are reminded to get back at it.What about you? Do you like training? Does your timeline match the one God has for you? I would love to know what you’re going through in the comments below.

We will get through this together!

 In his service and at yours! 

~Shawn

Published by Shawn McCarthy

While serving as the Weekend Experience Pastor at Seacoast Church, I felt God prompting me to share the moments when He would speak His truth into my life through scripture in a way that made sense to me, giving me tangible ways to learn, grow and lead. These promptings turned into weekly emails that I would send my small groups and volunteer teams. I found myself enjoying the process of digging deeper into God’s Word, being stretched by the writing process, and encouraging others in the faith. My lovely wife, Anna, challenged me to begin this blog, so these moments that I have come to call, my “Red-Letter Moments,” can find a home. My prayer is that you will find hope, comfort, and inspiration here, and above all, you will come to know that the God of the universe loves you and desires a personal relationship with you.”

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