Have you ever sensed that God was moving you out of the way so that He could work in someone else’s life?
Let me tell you a story…
Last Monday, I woke up with a cold. By late afternoon, I could barely speak. By evening, my voice was gone. Just like that. Completely gone.
After I shuffled my schedule around to postpone some meetings, I still had one other situation happening last week. My 23-year-old daughter needed to move. This is my NICU nurse daughter who lives in my eight-apartment building. For two years, she’s lived in a one-bedroom apartment on the first floor, but she was moving up to the apartment directly underneath me.
Here’s how God may have moved me out of the way…
Monday night, I moseyed downstairs to her apartment and thought, “Yep. She needs my help.” Boxes were everywhere and Abbie looked overwhelmed. Inside, I smiled. She SO needs me.
I was wrong. When I typed out on my phone, “Would you like me to help you figure this out?” She shook her head and said, “No, Mom. I got this.”
What? Did she see what I saw? If I had a voice, I would have disagreed with her.
It was hard watching Abbie run her hands through her hair, blow out frustrated breaths, or look wide-eyed at the jumble of boxes, bags and clothes all over her apartment. I could tell she had no idea of what to do. If I’d had voice, I would have tried to convince her to follow my moving advice. After all, I knew how to fix this. She might have even listened, but she would have been annoyed as well. Even though Abbie didn’t know what to do, she didn’t want me to solve her problem.
However, since I had no voice and Abbie didn’t want to keep stopping to look at what I typed, I had to keep my opinions and wisdom to myself.
Over the next two days, Abbie figured it out. She moved. She even did it without my advice. Shocking, right?! Since I wasn’t feeling well, I could only help carry boxes for a little time each day. She struggled, but she also succeeded.
When we see our loved ones frustrated or struggling what do we do? We want to come to the rescue. For us, love means jumping in and giving (unsolicited) advice, fixing the problems or nagging them to do things our way, because we think our way is best.
Is trusting God with your loved ones hard for you? Take a journey with me through the Surrendered: Letting Go and Living Like Jesus Bible study.
We’ll walk with Jesus through his wilderness experience and discover the power of letting the Holy Spirit lead us. You’ll learn how to release control-loving behaviors and experience God peace.
Should that be our first response? Could love also be letting them figure it out? When we jump in the way, we can rob our loved ones of what will make them stronger, wiser, and more importantly, help them see that they need God. It’s often in hardship or stress that people turn to God. A long time ago my therapist told me: Make sure that you don’t get in the way of your loved one’s need for God.
Here’s an observation: What if we said less to our loved ones to give God space to do more in their lives?
Saying less to your loved one doesn’t mean that you go silent. Sometimes concern needs to be expressed or confrontation is needed in certain situations. But for most matters, we need say less to our loved ones to make room for God to do more. He’s the one who knows best!
Even as I saw the stress and frustration on my Abbie’s face, I could also see her discerning the things she was throwing out and keeping. I imagine she was counting the cost of the things she chose to keep or let go. As she dealt with some adulting tasks that she’d postponed, I could see the resignation on her face that she would do better in the future.
While I desired to smooth Abbie’s bumpy path, could it be that God allowed my voice to disappear to create space for Abbie to learn deep, meaningful life lessons that my moving advice might have caused her to miss? I was so worried about how she would move her stuff, but I can see now that God used that experience to move wisdom into her heart.
I saw this verse and thought it would be a fitting way to end today’s devotional:
Proverbs 17:27 says this: “A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.”
This can apply to how you speak to your spouse, kids, friends, co-workers, elderly parents and anyone else. Ask God if you should pray to Him before speaking to them.
What do you think? Is there anyone or anything that comes to mind for you? If so, I’d love to hear about it.
P.S. My voice returned on Wednesday. Thank you to everyone who responded on social media and prayed for me.