Everywhere I turn lately I hear the word process. I mean, I hear it like a loud bell ringing to get my attention! It’s all a process….enjoy the process….embrace the process…you are in the process…It’s all part of the process! OK! OK! You have my attention!
The dictionary describes it this way:
Process – a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
Ahhhhh, P R O C E S S. It has dawned on me that I have spent most of my life trying to circumvent the process in just about every area of my life and even tried helping others do the same!
Several years ago, when I truly surrendered my will to the Lord and said, “Do what You need to,” I realized then that impatience had cost me much in my life. My impatience with people, with finances, with relationships, and even with God, caused me to try and “fix” things myself. In doing this, I began to lean on my own understanding or strength to get out of situations, which we all know is not only wrong, but can be catastrophic.
There are many examples I can think of, but I will be transparent and give you a one big one for me.
In 2003 I needed about $700 worth of work done on my van which I owed probably $4000. I didn’t have $700 so instead, I traded that van for a brand new van and ended up being $9000 upside down on the loan. Instead of saving up the $700, I opted for a van that didn’t need work, but cost me so much more! (reasoning that it would be newer, wouldn’t need the work, be “safer” and so on) The payment increased and 4 years later, this vehicle had 93k miles on it and I still owed $18k. UGH! Now, keep in mind, that by this time I had realized my error and repented and asked for mercy and a solution. I also had had two dreams that my van got hit, no one was hurt, and my insurance paid it off. BUT! I didn’t submit to the process, or trust the Lord and decided to take out a second mortgage on my home and pay off the van. (it pains me to even type this) Oh, it got me out of my high payment and a vehicle that was not worth what I owed, but it also circumvented the process.
Three years later, when we sold our home, we got 18k less and that mistake has followed us for years. Not only that, but do you know six years after I did this one of our vehicles was hit, no one was hurt and the insurance company paid it off????? God’s promises are true and He is faithful! The dreams He gave me (and established them by giving it twice), were fulfilled by Him. However, because I didn’t stay in place, it caused me to go on a detour and this payoff did not benefit me financially. My impatience cost me my process and the benefits of it.
What I have come to find out is, life is a process. Everything we go through, every decision we make will have a cause and effect. How we deal with things that happen to us, how we tackle problems, etc., is all a process. And every process is designed to make us a better person. We may not see it at the time, but no one is a failure when they are submitted to God!
Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding and He will direct your paths.
Trusting the Lord IS submitting to the process. As believers, we are not to live our lives at every whim and desire we have, but we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices, which is our REASONABLE act of worship! (Romans 12) Most people don’t want to submit to the process because they don’t want to submit. Submit has become a foul word in today’s society. Everyone wants to do what THEY please. But, how is this working out for us? For me, it didn’t work out at all.
Let’s look at the definition again – Process – a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. A SERIES of ACTIONS or STEPS taken in order to ACHIEVE a PARTICULAR end! Wow. God sure does know what He is doing! This brings Romans 8:28 to mind. We know that ALL things work together for good, to them that love God and are called according to His purpose. That word purpose in the Strong’s concordance means “the setting forth of a thing” or being established. In other words, as we are submitted to God, He will cause all things to work for our benefit according to how He wants to set us forth or establish us. That, my friend is a process.
In these series of actions or steps, which by the way, the steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord. (Ps. 37:23) He is ordering our steps to achieve a particular end (how He wants to establish us and set us forth.) If we believe the Bible, and love God we will be submitted to Him or obey His commands. (John 14:15) The process is for us not against us! When we circumvent the process, we are rebelling against the very thing that is designed to work things out for our good! We are all guilty and my hands are up first!
How do we change this? Submit to the process. I realize this is easier said than done, but it is the answer. Submit to God, resist the devil (and his temptation for us to fix things ourselves and do things our own way) and he will flee from you. James tells us this. The enemy’s temptations won’t always be something mean and evil, it may be as simple as taking matters into our own hands, or finding a solution that may even make sense, but it is not what God wants for us. Just like my van situation – it alleviated the tough financial situation of the moment, but made the end result the exact opposite of what I desired. Or what about how he led Eve to take matters into her own hands and come out from under submission to the word of the Lord? That cost Eve, her husband, all her descendants and US! Not submitting to the process has consequences and they have ripple effects on our children and those in our lives. (YIKES! Think about this!!!!)
So, what does submission look like? Daily discipline. DAILY we must submit our will to our Father. We must read His word and stay in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. There really is no way around this. I have tried doing things my way or other ways even, and I have come to know that all success I have is through submission to the will of God.
You might say, I don’t always hear God to even know what He is saying. I get that, I used to be the same way. But, I tell you, once I started spending time with Him in prayer and fellowship daily, I began to hear so much that I wondered why?! Another key factor to hearing is time in the word. If you do not know His word, you will not hear Him clearly. The enemy knows how to plant thoughts and even speak in ways that can deceive us. Knowing the word of God will give us a way to measure or test what we hear. God will never say something to you that goes against His word and will always speak in the nature of a good father.
Is submission easy? Not at first, and not always. However, it does get easier. As you discipline yourself to submit you will begin to see the fruit, and once you taste the fruit borne of discipline, it makes the submission all the more sweeter. It doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t come quickly, it comes as part of the PROCESS. In submitting your actions to Holy Spirit and becoming disciplined in your steps according to the word, YOU WILL achieve a particular end and God Himself will set you forth. (For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for good and not for evil, plans to give you hope and an expected end! Jer. 29:11)
Even though this is not easy, it now excites me because I know that I can reach my goals and I will fulfill what God has for me. This is huge for a “fixer” like me. I no longer feel responsible to fix everything for me and everyone else! I am learning to fix my eyes on Jesus! When things get tough I run to Him. I dig in deeper in the word, I go and soak in His presence or pray in the Spirit until I find the calm I am looking for -until I hear His heart on the matter. (side note: increasing your prayer time is vital when you are in a process!!!!!! I cannot say that enough!)
Process. I choose to embrace any and all processes that the Lord has for me, because in doing so, He is ordering my steps and working all things out for my good. When I step out of the way and lean into His understanding and trust the Lord, He will direct my paths. Selah!
Father, we repent for taking things into our own hands and circumventing the processes in our lives designed by You to establish us in Your righteousness and favor. Forgive us now. Holy Spirit, empower us to submit to Your ways. Jesus lived a disciplined life. We choose to do the same. We purpose that our fleshly desires will die, as we continue to make the choice to submit to Your ways so that we will achieve the particular end You have for us. We are excited for this journey! May we extend grace to others on their journey as well as we walk this out together. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!
- Date - January 18, 2018