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At The Crossroads – When You Know Where You’ve Been But Not Where You’re Going

Unsure of where to go but certain she had to get away, she grabbed what she could carry in her arms and fled.  A servant caught in the middle of chaos, significantly affected by the choices of others.

Given away like a piece of property. Used for selfish desires. Mistreated at the hands of another. Wandering in the wilderness – alone.

Tears streamed down her face; this isn’t the life she dreamed of as a little girl. What could she possibly offer the child she now carried?

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Pregnant and afraid, running from her reality is where we meet Hagar in Genesis 16. But alone she was not because the One who works righteousness and justice for all oppressed (Psalm 103:6) and seeks the lost “found Hagar near a spring in the desert” (Genesis 16:7).

And He said to her, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8)

Where she had been and where she headed converged in the desert. She was at a crossroad. Somewhere along life’s road, she lost herself to the will of others. She was a servant of Sarai.

I wonder if you can relate. Wandering in the wilderness of deep longings, maybe you find yourself a “servant of _____.”  Husband. Kids. Career. A servant of the need to feel sufficient, to do it all, or an illusion of perfection. Or, like many of us, perhaps you’re a slave of an experience. Abused. Mistreated. Abandoned.

But notice what name the Lord called her first – Hagar. He found her and called her by the name He knew before He flung the stary jewels in the heavens. THEN, he acknowledged how she identified herself.

He didn’t ignore the human identity she had been given, or the current season she was in because she was a “servant of Sarai “but it didn’t take precedence.

‘Where have you come from … ‘

So often, we can describe where we’ve been with great detail. The valleys we’ve walked through are vivid pictures permanently engraved on our eyelids. Dark shadows of fear and pain serve as a reminder of our suffering. Expectations and past disappointments can cloud our vision of victory, increase fear of failure, add debilitating doubt, and trash our trust in Him. And while the enemy would love to keep our eyes fixed on the rearview mirror of life, God is asking us to look ahead.

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He’s saying, ‘I know where you’ve been but where are you going?’

A question not meant to bring fear or confusion but to give vision. Because if you and I are honest, with ease we can say where we’ve been, but we can’t tell you where we are going with clarity. Like Hagar, who never answered the question “Where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8), we try to dance around it like a landmine filled with hidden explosives.

God knew Hagar didn’t know where she was going. He asked her – and He invites us – to help us acknowledge our need for His Divine Direction. He meets us in our wandering wilderness, calls us by our real name, asks us where we’ve been but shows us where to go.

Hagar a name meaning “flight,” yet God was asking her to surrender and return (Genesis 16:9). He was asking Hagar as He asks us to fix our eyes on Him, to set our gaze on our citizenship in His Kingdom not on what our limited eyes see (Colossians 3:2). For Hagar, this meant returning to her unkind mistress and bearing a son that would be considered Sarai and Abram’s.

For you, that might mean surrendering a career for a child who needs you at home. It might involve laying down a dream for which without you can’t see yourself. Or, like Hagar, it might mean returning to a job with a boss like Sarai and displaying the light of the world in the midst of the dark situation. Wherever God is leading you, whatever He might be asking you to surrender, know it is well worth meeting the God who sees you, who hears your heart and understands your needs. Genesis 16:13

Because before your mom expected you, He accepted you. Before the doctors declared your vitals, He declared your value. Before you found your place here on earth, He prepared a plan for your life.

And once we’re willing to demolish our desires, we will see Him develop our designed destiny. That once paralyzing fear is changed in the light of His faithfulness and the painful surrender transforms into a delightful purpose.

You were made for more!

So, grab the free workbook and join us as we dig into these things in “Crossroads: I Surrender All.”

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At The Crossroads : A Closer Walk With Thee | Free Bible Study Workbook

I lifted my arm to check the time, adding two hours in my head as I had done for over two months. Several months back, I failed to charge the battery in my Fitbit leaving it discharged for days. It wouldn’t sync to my phone and, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to fix it.

Timing was off. Updates failed. Downloads unsuccessful. A tool designed for aiding, tracking, and instilling healthy habits remained unable to reach its purpose or potential.

I can’t help but wonder how many of us walk around out of sync with the Father; our spiritual batteries left drained and discharged.

Unable to track His right timing – choosing to adjust the schedule as needed. Designed with more potential and for a higher purpose, yet unable to download Kingdom information. Attempts to change fail. Desires to put Him first wither like the leaves of a dead vine.

This was my life for many more years than I’d like to admit. With as many excuses as the hair on my head, I was left unsure how to fix it. Missing my “burning bush” encounter with God because I was too busy to pause and experience it. All the while, the passion I pursued Him with said a lot about the value I placed on Him.

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Although we have an eternity ahead of us, we have a limited time to place Him on His rightful throne and make each breath count. When we seek His Kingdom first and learn to number our days, we gain a heart of wisdom filled with His insight and navigation (Psalm 90:12).

As Moses prepared to meet his Deliverer face to face, he told the Israelites, “to love the Lord with all their hearts and soul, to choose life, to listen to His voice and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life … (Deuteronomy 30:10; 19-20).”

Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? I suppose Moses knew that too because he made sure to encourage the people that this “tall order” was, in fact, not too difficult or beyond reach, up in heaven nor beyond the sea but that the word is very near in our mouth and our hearts (Deuteronomy 30:11-13).

Psalm 103:15-16 says, “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”

We are flowers planted by the hand of a Good Gardener to bloom and flourish and thrive.

But how do we do that? How do we make today count, focusing less on the failures of yesterday or the concerns of tomorrow? How do we love the Lord, listen to His voice, and hold fast? There’s one central choice – honor Him as the center of our life, our plans, our goals, and our decisions.

  • By choosing to blossom in the field where He’s planted us, not someone else’s.
  • By recognizing it is the Gardener that decides when we’re planted and in what field we are planted.
  • By resolving that the grass isn’t greener in the pasture of tomorrow or next week or when such and such happens but instead learning to see the green directly under our feet.

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As tall as Moses’ order seemed, these are the keys to our inheritance and it starts with a willing heart. One baby step toward your Father’s open arms. You might stumble a little along the way, as any baby learning to walk, but His loving hand will keep you from falling.

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)

Friend, God’s desire has always been to walk with us in the cool of the Garden. The abundant life Christ paid for you to have, the miracles He wants you to experience, and your purpose, which is far beyond anything you can think or image, is waiting for you.

Sign up for the newsletter and check your e-mail for your FREE “Closer To Thee” workbook. Join us as we take steps into our promised land by allowing God to take center stage. With Scripture reading plans, in-depth study questions, worksheets, battle plans, journal cards and plan mapping, this study is designed to draw you into the presence of the King

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Back to Top - January 23, 2018 - 6:21 pm

Thank you so much, Joanne! I could hum the older hymns all day too! I’m so glad you stopped by! 😉

Joanne Viola - January 23, 2018 - 1:49 pm

Beautiful post & graphic! And now I will be humming “Just a Closer Walk” all day 🙂 You blessed me this morning! - January 18, 2018 - 1:32 pm

Thank you, Stacey! Blessings to you!

Stacey Thureen - January 18, 2018 - 1:24 pm

This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing today over at #HeartEncouragement. Blessings

At The Crossroads – Making Christ-Centered Choices With Free Workbook

He finished off the knot and placed the stick in her hands. After a few gentle spins and guiding her in the general direction, he released her. Blindfolded and a little dizzy, she swung.

Her friends burst into commotion as her first attempt met the empty air.

Undaunted by the miss and more sure of the direction, once more she fired her warrior stick, slightly grazing the pinata’s tip. Determined to annihilate the only thing standing between her and the desires of her mouth, she reared back and swung with all her might, twirling as though she were dancing for an audience.

I wish I could say she snapped it in half but frustrated by the attempts, she pulled the blindfold off, paused briefly to watch it sway in the tree, and marched to the back of the line.

So often, I’ve approached life choices the same way, whether it’s to establish a healthy habit, spend more time with God, built a character trait, pray more, or (insert yours here). Tired from the attempts, I pause briefly before marching to the back of the line to try yet AGAIN.

All the while, the treasure stands within reach but sways in the tree reminding me of another failed attempt.

Sounds familiar? Did you know that 80% of all resolutions end by the second week of February? Now, I’m not one to set New Year’s resolutions because you can start making a difference at any time, but I think this applies to most changes in life. We start off with a sincere desire to make different life choices only to have life changes derail us. The new excitement wears off, and we fade back into the same routine.

That’s why I’m excited about our next series here on the blog: “At The Crossroads.”

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Benjamin Franklin said it this way, “We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice made in the context of whatever value system we have selected to govern our lives.”

In my life, I have made some great choices, but I’ve also made some incredibly bad decisions. Those really rotten ones, well, they were governed by my value system. A system consisting of my desires and dreams, past experiences, the opinions of others, and more.

Every choice you and I make is a crossroad. A decision that cannot coexist with another.  In Scripture, we find four overall main crossroad areas, which we will cover in the weeks ahead: God, self, others, and money.

“This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16

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From this one verse, we learn:

  1. God speaks. Are we taking the time to listen?
  2. Pause – if you’re “standing,” you’re not moving so take time to pause and be still.
  3. Look – evaluate the choices ahead.
  4. Inquire – Ask for an enlightened vision to see the ancient path He chose for you long ago; the excellent way that leads to life. Ask and ask again.
  5. Walk – For any change of direction, it must be acted upon.
  6. Find Rest – Our soul’s rest comes from following His leading in all areas.

So, sign up for the newsletter, grab your Godly goal sheet, spend some time pausing, looking, inquiring, and listening over the next week. Then, check your e-mail next week for your first set of worksheets and meet me back here as we dig into the most crucial crossroad – God.

Let’s make this the year we rip off the blindfold and swing our warrior stick!

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