I believe that one of the most quoted scriptures in the church (well, in my church experience) is Psalm 37:23 ("the steps of a good man are order by the Lord.."). Just about any preacher can shout you into a frenzy with that scripture alone, because it's a reminder that you're not walking through the storm on your own. It reminds you that God has a plan and that there's a purpose for your pain! While all of that is true, I want to be the person that hits you with reality when the shout is over (stay with me, I'm going somewhere good lol).
One thing that I have grown to learn about church and church people is that we don't always think things through (lol). As a result, many people find themselves shouting on Sunday, and wondering what has happened to Jesus by Wednesday. So I want to break down a few things about ordered steps today, not to stop the shout, but to give it more substance (or a more solid foundation).
Many times, God will give us the destination, but He won't reveal the route we're going to take to get there. For me, this is one of the best...and worst...things ever! It's amazing because you've been told or shown that your dream or vision is going to come to pass (and if He said it, I believe it, & that settles it, right?). At the same time, it's terrible because there's this..gap between what is & what was. Now, some people can just walk by faith every step of the way and get to the other side....I'm not one of those people. I have too many questions (hahaha). It's in those moments that you have to tell yourself that He's already ordered your steps...but if you're like me, and you ask too many questions, you realize exactly what that means.
Whenever God gives a promise, He always assigns a process. God is not a genie. Therefore, you will not always be able to pray for something, and it appear in front of you. I was reading the book Destiny by T.D. Jakes the other day, and he said "God didn't offer steps as an option", and I have learned that this is soooooo true. There are no elevators to your promise, suga. You're going to have to walk to get there. With the promise comes a process to get to it. And while God does order your steps, He can order them into some pretty dark places. Why am I telling you all of this lovely (and slightly scary) information? Because I want you to realize that whatever you're going through today has a purpose, and I don't want you to be so busy trying to get to the promise that you don't find the beauty in the journey.
It's important to find value in the process to the promise because sometimes, our picture of the destination and God's vision don't perfectly align. I've personally experienced more times than I would've preferred. For example, my entire 4 years at UT, I was in the gospel choir. I directed that choir throughout my junior & senior year. For a host of reasons, many people left the choir the year before I took over as director. So while I came into a choir with about 60 people my freshman year, that number had fallen to about 15 (max) when it was my turn to lead. Before I taught my first song, I had a little chit chat with Christ, & asked that He make the choir better in my tenure as director. I wanted to leave it in a better condition than it was when it was handed to me (like....more people). He told me that it'd be better, and that what is small now will soon grow. For the longest time, I was so confused, because the numbers didnt get too much better. In fact, after graduations, they seemed to get worse. But every time I began to wonder if I'd really heard God, He'd tell me that we were already growing. It took me so long to realize that while I was talking about numbers, He was talking about anointing. The numbers didn't grow in the way that I wanted them to, but I could see us grow in God's power. We went all across the state showing out for Jesus!!...and I would've missed all of it if I was so concerned with how many people I had with me on that stage.
It's also important to value the process to the promise because the process prepares you for the promise. Every storm, every moment of isolation and loneliness, and every day I've spent in pain has prepared me for what God has for me. I know this because it's literally the summary of my life. If I hadn't been left out of certain groups and activities, I wouldn't know how to be bold on my own. If I hadn't gone through certain things for myself by myself, I wouldn't know how to praise God regardless of who's looking. Storms and struggles are rough, but they all have to align with your ultimate purpose (for we know, remember?). To put it shortly, I went through a major faith shaking this summer. Honestly, I hated a solid 80% of it in the moment. However, I now realize that God used that storm to make me one of the strongest people I know. He used it to pull things out of me that I didn't realize were there. You're reading my blog! I would've never thought about this last year (or in March for that matter lol)! Now, I'm not saying that to boast, but to use it as an example that God will take some of our hardest moments and make them some of our greatest testimonies.
Now, I'm not going to paint a fairy tale picture and tell you that it's not as bad as it seems right now. I don't know your life or what's going on in your mind. What I do know is that because you're steps are ordered by God, you were built to outlast the storm. There have been plenty of moments when I have literally said "you know what God? I don't want it anymore. I don't want the promise. It sounded great, but it's too much work, pain, stress, and it's just...too...hard". The amazing (and in the moment, frustrating) thing about God is that He never let me go out like that. Why? Because He didn't create me (or you) to quit; He created us to conquer. I have fought to hard to get here to let my current struggles take me out. I've come too far to have a sad or disappointing ending. Constantly remind yourself of what He said and who He is.
Whatever you do, cherish the process. If you've grown impatient like me because it's lasted longer than you anticipated, pray for the patience to get through it. Slow down and take it one step at a time. Too often we try to jump from step 4 to step 16, and then wonder why we keep falling. Pace yourself, and run your own race (we'll talk more about that later). The more patience you have for the process, the more prepared you'll be for the promise. He has not forgotten you, suga. He'll give you strength in your weak moments, and give joy where there is sorrow if you depend on Him to get you through to the other side. There's success on the other side of this struggle. Learn to appreciate where you are & where you're going. Your steps are ordered, right? So when you get it, you'll be prepared for it, and it'll be the perfect fit for you. You've got this, and He's got you! Be encouraged, and I'll see (well, talk to) yall next Wednesday!
Background Music: After This - J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise
Words from the Author
At the end of the day, these posts are the thoughts that run through my mind. These are the lessons I've learned. The doors that I've walked through. The path I've chosen. This is part of what it means to be me. Hopefully, it'll help you be...you. Let's grow together, kay?
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