From Reacting to Life to a Life of Active Faith {Free eBook}

by | Feb 12, 2018 | Identity, Lent

Last week, my daughter left a Starbuck’s apron hanging in her bedroom closet, loaded every crevice of her car with suitcases, shoes, and meaningful trinkets, pulled out of an apartment parking lot in North Carolina, and pushed pavement west until she reached Phoenix, Arizona.

That was last week but it was also thirty years ago.

During an epic winter snowstorm in Oklahoma, I left a Bennigans apron at my mother’s house and while my CRX idled, I scraped ice off the windshield with idealism. I wasn’t about to allow a little power outage or compromised tree limbs breaking like glass on concrete, ruin a yes from God on a new hopeful chapter.

Trunk loaded with all my worldly possessions, I pulled away slowly from the quiet, deserted street of my childhood. Fueled by romanticism because I’m a 4 on the enneagram. Those of you who get that are now smiling with clarity.

I met H in Phoenix two years later.

Before you call me brave (or stupid!), let me tell you that I identify with Moses and all his excuses. My prayerful conversations leading to that grand adventure sounded more like doubt than faith.

I’m the wrong person for a risky adventure. I don’t like change or unpredictable outcomes.

I’m not ready, I don’t have a job, place to live, or enough money to support myself.

I might fail. Then what will I do?

I’m not qualified. You need someone with more experience in transitions.

Perhaps this plan is better suited for someone who is risk averse.

And God said, “I believe in you.”

Though that risky decision worked out for my good, I still find myself echoing Moses when I’m faced with new challenges. “You tell me, ‘I know you well and you are special to me.’ If I am so special to you, let me in on your plans. That way, I will continue being special to you.” Exodus 33:15-16, MSG

We assume favor with God means all the details of life fall simply into place. A comfortable life equals achieving insider status.

But more than knowing how the future will look, God desires relationship. He knows your name and you have this assurance: “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.”

Become certain that you are loved, and life is a secure adventure into uncertainty.

Maybe what you sense God is leading you to do sounds ridiculous, irrational, and foolish to people. Like driving through an ice storm with empty pockets to live in a city you’ve never visited before.

Perhaps you are petrified by the what-ifs like Moses, crying alone in the wilderness, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now.”

What makes you special? What makes you distinctively set apart? What makes the fear of uncertainty a thing of the past? Believing God’s presence is with you.

My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. Exodus 33:14, ESV

We are the most vulnerable when we forget to rest in God’s love; when we forget that Jesus is our steadfast travelling companion through the unknowns of life.

I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live. Exodus 33:19-20, ESV

We want to know the end before we can truly live, but God keeps knowledge hidden that might actually become the end of us.

As we begin the penitent season of Lent, let’s risk for the sake of love, sacrifice for deeper relationship and surrender fear of uncertainty for the goodness of His will. May we arrive on Easter like Moses, certain of God’s faithfulness, favor, and abundance when we look back and see where He was in our midst.

Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen. Exodus 33:21-23

Last year, I published A Sabbath Journey for Lent: Sacrifice a Day for Rest and Experience the Sacrifice of Christ Anew. The eBook is available to blog subscribers as a free download through the Lenten season. My prayer is that the weekly devotional will help you to incorporate a sustainable rhythm of rest long after Easter.

Subscribe here to access my eBook. Current subscribers can access the link to the eBook at the bottom of the email that arrived in your inbox. Join the Sabbath Society community here for weekly encouragement to persevere in finding a rhythm of rest.

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  1. Stacy

    Sweet Shelly!!!

    Were you sitting next to our Father this morning listening in on my prayers? I’m pretty sure you were!! Every verse and every word you wrote here were exactly what I was reading and praying this morning. No exaggeration! EXACTLY!

    Thank you for believing that God believes in you! He has spoken to me and confirmed things in my life so many times through the words you’ve obediently written and shared.

    Love and blessing to you dear one!


    • shelly

      Oh, I love that! It’s always a gift when serendipity takes place in such a profoundly personal way. Thanks for letting me know Stacy. I’m honored.

  2. Nancy Ruegg

    You are so right: “Life is a secure adventure into uncertainty.” Looking back over the seven decades of my life, I can affirm that God does indeed keep us secure as we live into the adventure of change, roadblocks, curves in the road of life, etc. Our only certainty is Him, but oh, what a certainty! He is faithful, good, powerful, wise, loving, compassionate and more. Thank you, Shelly. God used your words to renew my mind today with his truth and your affirmation.

  3. melissa hirshburg

    I loved this post for many reasons and also I didn’t realize you lived in Oklahoma at one point. I had only followed your Instagram account and seen all your lovely London photos. I’ve lived in Tulsa my whole life (34 years) , and so it was easy to relate to how you must have felt when you set out for your adventure; and wow all the places you have lived since then (I just read your bio on the blog). Thank you for sharing.

    • shelly

      Melissa, it’s so lovely to meet a fellow Oklahoman! It’s where my roots began but truthfully, I don’t get back there much. Thanks for following along, it’s really great connecting with you here and I hope you’ll reach out on IG if you haven’t already. I’m there daily!

  4. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Shelly, I’m reading Exodus right now in my daily Bible readings, *and* Message version. I’ve only dipped into Message here and there, and while it’s not my favorite translations, I do love its freshness, and how I am approaching Scripture from a different slant. I love the story of Moses, and God used his and Abraham’s when He led me to go without knowing–not to another city, but another life–leaving a full-time career and coming home to raise our daughter. It was an adventure of another sort, but still a risky one for me. I was forty, and flying by the seat of my parental pantyhose. And Sheridan is now twenty-five. Perhaps, after she graduates with her masters degree, it will be she whom God calls to venture forth, just as He did you so long ago, and now, Murielle. I sense God calling me out too in other ways, but after one final swing through the wilderness. And Lent is the ideal time for that. Praying for Murielle and for you–that God, by His pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, will guide and warm you on your journeys, and that you will come home to His heart in a deeper, closer way during this special Lenten season. Also, and I may have recommended this before, but I encourage you to take British poet Malcolm Guite along as your companion for your Lenten journey. It will be easier (and likely cheaper) to get his books in London. He’s a magnificent poet, and his Word in the Wilderness, is the perfect Lenten traveling companion. With each poem (whether his or by others), he writes a commentary, rich in insights, cross-references to other poems, etc. I think you would love it. Can’t wait to read you ebook too.
    I pray you are feeling better. Wishing you a most blessed Lent.

    • shelly

      Somehow I missed responding to you here Lynn. I’m reading in Exodus too. Actually, it’s been part of my daily reading but when we moved onto Numbers, I wasn’t ready yet so I’m re-reading the story of Moses. He’s my favorite person in the Bible. I identify so much with him. And thank you for the recommendation of Malcolm Guite. I wasn’t familiar but I’ve just looked into it on Amazon. Lots of love to you Lynn!

  5. Belinda

    “Become certain that you are loved,and life is a secure adventure into uncertainty” – exactly what I needed to hear and what I am beginning to experience as one who previously clung to certainties with clenched fists! It has simply b become too exhausting to keep living like that! I really love this post. 🙂

    • shelly

      It is exhausting, isn’t it? I’m so glad this post resonated with you Belinda. Thanks for being here!

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