Have you ever been to a carnival or fair where you could walk through a hall of mirrors? This is a picture of a hall of mirrors I got to go through at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It’s really neat to see how mirrors work, distorting your body into all different kinds of shapes and sizes. But it can also be frustrating, running into the walls as you attempt to find your way out. Have you ever felt like you’re in a mirror maze, trapped and confused? You know God has a plan, but you can’t seem to find your place in it? Have you ever been stuck in the middle?
Don’t worry, God has a plan!
When a Christian is worried about the past, present, or future, there is one verse that is constantly given to them to encourage them.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“Thoughts” has been translated as plans in the English Standard Version. Christians have always taken heart with the knowledge that God has a plan for each of their lives. But what is the plan?
In no way am I trying to discredit Scripture, but is this really all God has to say to give us peace? The truth is that God has given much more specific instructions for the times we struggle with uncertainty in our lives.
There are three main areas I think Christians struggle with when they feel “stuck in the middle” of God’s plan for their lives.
Everything Looks the Same!
What makes a hall of mirrors so difficult to escape? Everything inside looks so similar. Fake and real lose all their meaning, and the escape route often turns into a wall.
As Christians, we are taught to wait upon the Lord:
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
But how often during this “waiting” do we lose interest? How often does the Bible become a textbook we’re required to read instead of the new novel we can’t wait to dive into? How many times do our prayers turn into daily reports instead of vibrant conversations with our Father? Sundays become just another day of classes, and our faith slowly becomes mechanical. Our responses to others become Christian cliches and positive catchphrases.
Monotony steals motivation. It discourages our devotion to God’s plan.
How do we combat monotony?
Joy is God’s solution to monotony. Nehemiah 8:10 defines our strength as the joy we have in the Lord. If we delight ourselves in the Lord, our love for God and joy in who He is will overpower repetition and discouragement. It gets pretty boring just walking through a hallway of mirrors-they all reflect the same thing. But if you enjoy your search, you will realize each mirror may reflect the same thing, but in all sorts of different ways. Redefine your repetition. Enjoy the variety God has placed in your routine.
Really? Another wall?
There were lots of times in the maze that I would be convinced we were going the right way. As our escape seemed more and more sure, I would pick up speed until wham! My face would smash into one wall after another. Needless to say, by the third or fourth time this happened, I was ready to try to knock the walls down.
Some Christians don’t struggle with the area of monotony. Instead, they struggle with frustration. They are super motivated, and are actively and zealously pursuing God’s plan for their life. But they keep running into walls.
How can I stop running into these walls that come up in God’s plan for my life? Stop running.
In Joshua 6, we learn about the destruction of Jericho. Jericho was surrounded by massive walls, but God promised Israel the city would be theirs. What were God’s instructions? Walk around the walls once each day, and on the seventh day, walk around seven times and then blow trumpets. Needless to say, the walls fell on the seventh day.
Walking may seem weak. Walking may seem like a waste of time. Walking may seem wrong. But walking is God’s way.
When we slow down, we stop running into walls. Persistence is not dependent upon pace. It isn’t wrong to adopt a slower pace. Slow and steady wins the race. Those who wait upon the Lord renew their strength, not those who hurry ahead.
Slow down, obey God, and be faithful. It takes more faith to walk than to run. If you keep running, you will burn out. Faithfulness crushes frustration. After all, it is called a “walk” with God, right?
Didn’t I just go this way?
So I am enjoying my walk, but I can’t find my way out. In a hall of mirrors, I was very easily disoriented and confused. It almost got to a point where I was scared we would never make it out. How should a Christian handle confusion?
“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.” – Psalm 71:1
Confusion is a confidence problem. Who are you putting your confidence in? We have to put our confidence in God. He is the only one capable of guiding us through the plan He created.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5
It’s interesting that David describes trusting in yourself as leaning. When you lean, you fall. When you lean on God, He steadies you.
The solution to our confusion is changing who we put our confidence in. We can redefine our repetition, we can walk with God, but if we don’t change our confidence, we will always struggle with confusion. Who else should we put our trust in? It is God’s plan for our life after all.
Make It Through the Maze
Christians can take further steps to defeat the struggles of following God’s plan for their life than just acknowledging that God has a plan at all times.
What were the tactics God gave us?
- Monotony-Find joy in the routine.
- Frustration-Walk, don’t run!
- Confusion-Change your confidence.
Pursue God’s plan passionately, patiently, and pointed toward Christ.
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” – Hebrews 10:36