When you have no idea where He’s leading …

by Kari on July 2, 2012

“How far?” Jeff looked up at me as he pulled on his running shoes, a little challenge in his voice. How much was I up for?

I took a deep breath, clipping my ipod onto my shorts. I’m such a wimp.

“Six miles.”

He smiled. “Alright.”

We hadn’t run together in ages. With two little monkeys on our hands, we always run separately. And while I’d passed the six-mile mark on my own, I usually choose the flattest route possible and run my snail-pace and make the whole endeavor as painless as possible.

I hate pain. 

We slipped in our earphones and jogged out onto the narrow country road by our house. He took the lead and with no idea where he would take me, I resolved just to follow.

I’ve been learning to follow. 

Literally. Back on June 1st, God put on my heart to focus all my energy this month on following Jeff. On blessing him, cheering for him, serving him, praying for him, encouraging him, affirming him, loving him and championing him. To simply following his lead, wherever it took me.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for a month.

It was good I’d had some practice before Jeff took me on this run. 

After two miles Jeff turned us off the regular flat-route I call home, and took us down trails, through parks, up and down different roads, and through the forest. Up and down we went, my thighs burning. Every once in a while he’d look over and raise his eyebrows and give me a thumbs up to ask, “You ok?” I’d nod and try to smile and give him a thumbs up back. “I”m alive.”

Now, I don’t mean to be overly dramatic–it was only a 6 mile run. But it was far harder and faster than I normally run and I’m not exaggerating when I say I prayed the entire way. See, I’m a wimp when navigating the unknown. When I run, I always run the same path. I always go the same pace. I usually go the same distance. I get easily frightened when I’m challenged to do something physical that’s outside my comfort zone. I’m really really really not one of those hard-core workout people who loves risk and daring new adventures. Nope. In fact, if I really had my way … I’d walk instead.

But Jeff knows me. And he knows that I’d prefer a stroll through the park and a caramel macchiato, and he also knows that I can do much more than I think I can. He knows I won’t actually die even though I say I will. 9 1/2 years of running together has taught him that.

So as we run I pray, and I can see so clearly that learning to follow Jeff is simply learning to follow God. Do I trust Him? When He takes a sharp left turn and leads me straight UP the hill instead of down the flat course, Will I follow Him?

Will I follow Him even when the path doesn’t look safe at all? 

Will I commit to following Him wherever He goes? Whatever route He chooses? However long? At whatever pace?

Do I actually trust Him?

Do I trust that wherever He leads me will be for my good? Do I trust that He will never run me to death? Do I trust that however long this race, He will give me the strength I need to run with endurance? To finish strong?

It was perfect that we did our run in silence. There was no space for objection, complaints, whining. I held my tongue, prayed to God, and followed my man.

And each time he looked back I gave the thumbs up: “I’m ok.”

Oh God for the grace to do that each day. To hold my tongue, pray to You, and follow my man. To stick right behind him and when he glances back, to give him the thumbs up sign and let him know I’m ok. No matter what we face, I’m ok. No matter how scared I am, or how steep the road looks, I’m ok. 

As I’m learning to follow my man–and my God–that is my prayer. 

 

{How are you learning to follow the Father today? Please share any life-lessons with us, so we can glean as well. Thanks so much for reading.}

 

 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie July 2, 2012 at 2:12 am

It is amazing all the things God uses marriage to teach us about His love and walking in it well. This was beautiful – thank you.

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Kimmee July 2, 2012 at 3:50 am

Lovely! Way to go girl! Edification like that for your man is so important! Watch it change your marriage!!!!! You are doing such a fantastic job!! Way proud of you!!!!!!!!

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Kristin Buys July 2, 2012 at 6:58 am

I wish there were a LOVE button! Once again, you have hit home for me Kari. When I tell you that the good Lord above speaks through on a regular basis, that is no joke. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this little story:
Just last week a few doors got slammed shut for my husband and his business partner. They have been working on getting a new business started up for a bit, but still holding onto their current-steady jobs. Well, last week both of them in different manners had their “steady” jobs no longer. This already living a very tight, next to nothing budget Mama was in utter PANIC!!! Pat, my even keel hubby, told me the Lord had a bigger plan. I love the Lord with all of my heart, but sometimes I admit I just want a preview of the plan…..(I know need to work on that) 4 days later their business had more work than they had ever had! Praise God & Praise God for amazing husbands.

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Kari July 2, 2012 at 8:26 am

Kristin! What a story! I have to email you, girl. Wow, wow, wow. Thank you for the encouragement! JUST what I needed to hear today!

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Kari July 2, 2012 at 8:25 am

Who do you think inspired my month-long challenge of lovin’ on my man? :) Do you remember who I hung out with on June 1st? :) Love you.

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Melissa July 2, 2012 at 7:14 am

What a wonderful reminder, Kari! It is so easy when you are married to go about things in different directions especially when there is a million things to get done. My husband is busy to say the least and lately I have been putting out the extra effort to do things at home that he normally does just to left him have more time to “be” at home. I firmly believe we are in a marriage relationship to be a helpmate for our husbands and if he notices, Wow! that is a reward in itself!

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Kari July 2, 2012 at 8:26 am

Amen, Meliss!! You are an inspiration to me, always!

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Becky July 2, 2012 at 9:03 am

Thank you so much for the great reminder… I need to try to remember to do as you say in your closing paragraph! Thanks so much for all of your insight, inspiration & encouragement ALWAYS!!!

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Tara July 2, 2012 at 11:18 am

I, too, am learning to be okay with zero control. We’re still waiting to find out, where next? Like we have been for 4 months. When I was starting to plan a few weeks ago, I clearly heard God say, “This is between me and Jeremy. You need to stay out of it. Only pray for wisdom and open eyes.” Ouch!

So that’s what I’m doing praying, and waiting to follow Jeremy where God leads. It. Is. Hard.

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Jen Wilde July 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I love this example! Isn’t this is what submission looks like? To follow those footsteps of a loving and trusted leader? He has already taken each step before He asks us to. I have a picture in my mind of a snowy trail where His steps literally carve a trail for us to follow. I’m making mental note of this to recall in the “Winter” seasons of my life. Thank you for this beautiful example…it definitely speaks to me. I cannot imagine the delight of our Leader, when He looks back over His shoulder to see us not only following, but with a thumbs up!

This encourages me to follow after my hubby in the same way…he is made in His image, so this must resonate in an extra special way that I may not even understand.

Powerful stuff! Thank you!

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Chelsea Madison July 3, 2012 at 8:32 am

Kari,
Thank you for your words! They are such an encouragement to me and challenge me to press on! I’m always fond of the comparisons of running and life because so often the pain of running and pushing yourself relates to life.
God is using you in my life! Thank you!!
Chels

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Kari July 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Thank you so much Chelsea! Yes, I find that it’s worth it to run just for the life analogies! I feel like God always uses those times to speak. Bless you girl!

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Sarah July 3, 2012 at 11:13 am

This was perfect for where we are at right now with some major decisions of where to live and how to be smart financially. Lots of trusting and reminders to just follow and wait on God and my husband in silence :) keep coming up along the path right now. Loved this reminder and Kristin’s story. You’re both such an inspiration. Thank you!

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Kari July 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Thank you, Sarah! Praise God for his perfect timing. I’d love to connect with you soon, ok? Love, k

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Kelsey July 4, 2012 at 12:51 am

So very timely. God is just amazing how He speaks the same message in different ways to different people. God is leading me to a different school, a totally different region, and has remained faithful throughout the whole process. Me on the other hand am learning trust, and what it looks like to believe in Him whole heartedly with a grateful heart.

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