Monday, August 22, 2016

Don't End Up in a Whale!

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

I live the lessons of the Bible study I am leading. It happens each spring and fall without fail. I get a few weeks into the study and realize that my life parallels the topic. You can imagine what happened when our study was Jonah, Joel, and Amos. You guessed it! I had the urge to run the other way. After 10 consecutive years of heading up the study at our church, my 18th year leading Bible studies, I felt ready for a break.

A couple of years ago, I was anticipating the release of my debut novel. I felt overwhelmed by editing and the demands of learning social media. I spent hours at the computer working on frustrating details I had no idea would be required when I reached my lifetime goal of getting a book contract. How I would get everything done and still have time for my family and downtime for myself?

Leading a Bible study requires discipline and determination. The tasks competing for my attention weren’t bad. The book was also something God planned for me. The difficulty was in determining where God would most want me to spend my time.

As I looked at Jonah’s decision to run the other way, I realized that God was very specific when He told Jonah where to go and what to do. Jonah’s decision to run put him out of fellowship with God, and it also affected other people.
Some television commercials for a cable TV provider depict a series of decisions, which spiral downward to a terrible conclusion. If you do “x,” “y” will happen, which leads to “z,” and before you know it, you’re in a terrible mess.

There are definitely times when God allows us to leave a ministry or job, but in my heart, I knew this was not the time. Disobedience would take me out of fellowship with God and His people. I didn't want to end up in the belly of a whale, so I obeyed and stayed.

Are you struggling with where God has placed you? Seek His will in prayer. Examine your motives, trust Him to show the way, and then obey.

God tells us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. My stress decreased when I submitted to His will. When I am where He wants me, everything else falls into place.

Copyright, January 18, 2014 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman

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About the author: 
Norma Gail is the author of the contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 40 years. They have two adult children.
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  1. A great reminder to keep our focus on God and trust Him during our struggles. As humans there are times we try to put what we want to do as being God's will for our lives when He wants us to trust Him in leading us on His pathway. God bless.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Marilyn. It is a struggle for all of us.

  2. A wonderful reminder. It takes faith to trust always!

    1. It certainly does! Thanks for stopping by, Susan!

  3. Thanks for this post. I have been struggling with a decision to remain as the teacher of our church's Teen class. As much as I enjoy them, I feel that a younger teacher would perhaps suit them better. Satan nudging me? Perhaps! Since we have so few people willing to step in, I will continue to do by best and wait until He provides that teacher!

    1. I am so glad my devotional touched your heart. I was in much the same spot for a while. When it was God's time for me to step down, I knew it was the right thing to do. God bless!

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  4. Great post and great lesson. Thanks for sharing.