Turning Aside and Saying Yes to God

I wasn’t ‘supposed’ to be there or so I thought.

Shopping off schedule, not on my normal day, shifting things around to accommodate other schedule shifts, cramming activity into the overstuffed container of life.  And now here I was, shopping at a Wal-Mart in the middle of the afternoon instead of during my normal morning jaunt through the store with a shopping cart and a coupon book before the crowd arrived after lunch.

I pushed my way through the sale items at the front of the store with my focus on my mission—shop, gather the items on my list without distraction, save money, and leave.

But then I saw her, a friend at the pharmacy counter.  Stopping for a quick ‘hello,’ the kind of cheerful greeting we small-town folks exchange in the Wal-Mart all the time, I pushed my cart to the side of the aisle hoping not to be in the way of other annoyed shoppers on mission.

This friend, though, didn’t need just a cheerful chat, but a sharing-the-heart kind of talk, a prayer right there in the middle of Band-Aids and Tylenol.

God sent her to the Wal-Mart at just that moment and then He rocked my world all crazy, turning my schedule upside down and sent me right on into that Wal-Mart at the exact same time she would be there.

I like to hold this white-knuckled control over my calendar and my agenda, fitting everything in just right and not being willing to bend, to flex, to rearrange and adjust, not without whining and complaining at least.

Yet, here is what happens when I release, open my palms and offer up the plans, saying ‘yes’ to God even in the daily.20931038_s

A few days later, God over-turned my normal routine again with special school events and unexpected trips to the post office.  There I was driving down the Main Street of town when I ‘shouldn’t’ have been and I was thinking of the to-do list items to cross off, the errands to run, the destination and the mission all over again.

But He opened my eyes to see ‘her,’ a woman I knew limping along the sidewalk painfully slowly.

I didn’t even debate over my plans.  Instead, I zoomed into the nearest driveway and she climbed into the mini-van (after I shoved aside the napkins, papers, and other Mom mess) so I could drive her to work.

A little blessing for her.

A huge blessing for me, this reminder of God’s divine agenda, the appointments He sets for us and the way I can miss them so easily in my stubborn addiction to having my own way.

C.S. Lewis wrote:

“the great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant (or unexpected) things as interruptions in one’s own life, or real life.  The truth is, of course, that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life.”

God’s involvement in my agenda isn’t always painful or unpleasant, but it does have this way of being unexpected.  Like Proverbs 19:21 says:

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Yes, I’m a ‘many plans’ kind of person who learns slowly to yield to this God with a perfect purpose.

God interrupts, intervenes, and now I must choose—whine and complain, reject and insist on my way, or submit and adjust and trust His plans, like Moses in the wilderness outside Mount Horeb as he tended his father-in-law’s sheep.

Moses wasn’t meandering along, aimless and purposeless.  He had a plan to lead “the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God”  (Exodus 3:1).

But God lit a fire within a bush and captured Moses’s attention.

What if Moses hadn’t stopped?  What if he waited until later, choosing to finish his own plan and then return to check out the curiosity?  Or if he’d ignored the interruption, adamantly determined to do things his way, in his own timing, and in his own strength?

Oh, how Moses would have missed out on God’s glory and God’s purposes for his life and his people!

Instead, Moses yielded.  He said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight” (Exodus 3:4).

This turning aside is what God teaches me in this walk of obedience, the willingness to be interrupted, the trusting Him with my agenda and not worrying and fretting over the unexpected and the out-of-control.

Turning aside when I see God at work, I join Him there and give Him praise.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Clash of the Agenda

Clash of the Agenda or I could call it an Agenda Conflict (capital letters for emphasis). That’s what it was.

My plan: Get my family dressed and presentable QUICKLY and then run out to register kids for swim lessons QUICKLY, then rush home, accomplish a million things and leave for other to-do list items shortly thereafter.

My daughters’ plan: Enjoy the full benefits of a summer morning.  Fight over a television show and insist that each child choose one entire program to watch before eating breakfast.  Arrive at the breakfast table one….at……a……time.  Carry around clothes for the day rather than actually putting them on and generally move through the morning at a slow and easy pace.

It wasn’t just them, of course, sabotaging my agenda.  Unexpected phone calls and email messages sidetracked and distracted me.  Finally, I decided we simply needed to leave so we drove to swim lesson registration leaving behind unwashed dishes, a pile of pajamas on the sofa, unfolded laundry on the loveseat, and general mess.

I even tried not to stress over my daughters’ hair being combed with fingers and not arranged into ribbons, bows, barrettes and headbands, but I gave in and swept their hair into whatever hair accessories were floating around my Mom Bag before actually going inside to register.

Agenda Conflict is a fact of life.  We can’t plan out every detail of every day of every life season and expect success.

Especially as moms.

It’s a stressor, a reason for my heart to race as I try to balance accomplishing my goals and remaining relatively sane while negotiating life with people whose agendas conflict with mine.

But it’s also a flex-or.  It’s a way for God to gently or even not-so-gently nudge us out of the driver’s seat of our lives once again.  And it seems a perpetual process for me, this becoming flexible enough to hand over control even to a Trustworthy God.

Because I’m not a go-with-the-flow person.  I’m not an arrive-whenever and do-whatever-works, leave-the-dishes-in-the-sink and change-direction-when-necessary kind of girl.  At least not naturally.  Not unless God demands it.

Which He does.

Because He alone can be God of our lives.  He has the prerogative to interrupt plans and redirect our course.  He has the option of taking the three-year-plan and deciding He’s ready to move here and now, this moment!  Or, He could choose to abandon the plan all together, crumple it up, toss it and maybe even leave us without an agenda at all as He whispers, “Trust me and that is Psalm 31enough.”

We can’t pray super-spiritual prayers of devotion to God and promises to submit to His will and then throw a stressed-out tantrum when the phone rings, the email comes, and the kids drag their feet on a busy morning.

Instead, those prayers for His Lordship in our lives require that we mean it in the everyday frustrations of Agenda Conflict and the unexpected U-turns in life that leave us hanging on breathless.

We must pray with the Psalmist, “My times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:15 NIV) and “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21 NIV).

We could press our agenda, of course, determined not to abandon the plan for anyone or anything.  We could demand it make sense on paper and make decisions on statistics, facts, and appearances alone.

But we could miss out on God’s blessing.

When Abraham began his journey to the Promised Land, he traveled with his nephew Lot until their shepherds began battling over prime grass and watering holes.  Finally, they knew they had to separate and travel in two different directions.

Abraham was on a God-directed mission to a land of promise, and as the senior member of their relationship he could have demanded “first dibs.”

Instead, he trusted God enough to leave the direction and the timing of his journey in God’s hands.  He allowed Lot to choose first, saying simply, “Separate from me: if you go to the left, I will go to the right; if you go to the right, I will go to the left” (Genesis 13:9 NIV).

At best, that seems like a coin toss to me, a fifty/fifty chance of getting the blessing.

At its worst, it feels like trusting your future to a fallible human, a selfish one at that.

But surely Abraham’s life, times and future were in God’s capable hands regardless of Lot’s choice.

Had Abraham pressed his own agenda for his own benefit, maybe he would have chosen as Lot did, to pitch his tents outside of Sodom.  Instead, God led Abraham on to blessing, all because he ceded the right to decide, to direct, to lead, to push, and to stress and left the agenda and itinerary up to God.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King