Thursday, August 4, 2022

Not a Horse or a Mule

 “What do you want to be when you grow up?” 

That question plagues me even at this advanced stage of life. It’s not that I don’t know what to do or want to be, it’s that I am often afraid of failing.

“Deep down inside of most of us there lies a hidden desire which we keep stuffed away and are afraid to even think about, let alone attempt to achieve. We have so suppressed our desire that we often do not even remember that we ever had one. We bury these desires for a number of reasons: we convince ourselves that it is only a childish dream, we believe that it is too incredible to even consider, we are afraid to hope because we are afraid we will fail, and we do not want to be disappointed again, or people will laugh at us. So we stuff the dream, and convince ourselves it was mere foolishness to even hope.

You say to yourself, ‘Get a life and find a real career.’” [Quotation from Destiny, Who am I?Why am I Here?, What do I do Now? ]

Lately,  I get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and sit down in my office to pray and spend time with the Lord. After praying a few rote prayers, I got down to the business at hand.

“Lord, what do you want me to do?”

Lately, I get the same response - silence.

What’s wrong with me? I seek the Lord and His will in my life, but the more I pray, the less I hear.  

I don’t think I’m the only one that feels this way in seeking the Lord’s guidance. We keep on asking for a sign, a word of prophecy, something that will point us to our next step in life.

Then, I came across Psalm 32:9 in the NIV.

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”

This scripture hit me right between the eyes. I realized that I have often been a horse or mule - needing a sign in order to move. A wise mentor once told me that God often gives us a choice and either is correct. The important thing is moving.  The rudder of a boat cannot influence the boat's direction unless the boat is moving.

December 1987 was a turning point in our life. My secular responsibilities and our Lay ministry activities both increased to the point we could not continue to do both. One had to go. Rita and I spent months of prayer, not questioning our ministerial call, but questioning the next step that would lead us toward our goal of full-time ministry. 

Soon it boiled down to a choice between two options. Both required resigning from my company: Stay in San Diego and find a less taxing job to pay bills while our ministry grew or move to an area where the cost of living was lower. I had received an interesting offer from a friend in Seattle who asked if I would be interested in joining him in a new venture. It would be a less taxing job, so I expressed interest. We had an established ministry in Southern California but would be starting over in the Northwest.

So, like a horse or mule with no understanding, we sought after the Lord for a word or a sign that would tell us what to do. We were fearful of making the wrong choice. We needed that bit and bridle before we took the next step.

We often are like young people with a desire to accomplish big things, but afraid to move. Instead, we allow others–parents, well-meaning friends, and teachers - to set our goals for us.

It took us until April 1988 to make our decision. It was on a Friday at a restaurant in Napa, California. Rita was with me on a business trip to Oakland. As we talked again about our options, it suddenly occurred to us we should move to Seattle. It lifted a ton of emotional bricks from us.

With that decision, the wheels rolled. At home there was a letter from my friend in Seattle whom I had not heard from since December. It contained a firm offer of employment and an apology for the salary offer. It was about half that of my current job, but exactly what Rita and I had figured out it would take us to live. On Monday morning, I called my boss back east and alerted him that I was resigning. 

Later that day I received a phone call from the head of a para-church organization who knew I was considering moving to the Northwest. When I told him I would move in June, he asked if I would become their regional overseer–no salary, but able to get financial support. In addition, we already had a standing offer to work with an established ministry in the Seattle area.

God wants us understanding. The Hebrew word translated as "understanding" in Psalm 32 means more than have knowledge. It means to have knowledge and know what to do with that knowledge.

Over the years, the Lord has led us in several different directions. But since elementary school, I have had a desire to write and create. In 2001, we founded Aslan Ministries, Inc. to equip and encourage the church and its leaders. The Lord told me then, “Write.”

So today, when I pray asking Him, “What I should do with the rest of my life?” His silence is understandable.

It is as if he is saying, “I already told you what to do. If anything changes, I will tell you.”

No more a horse or mule.

Bill Johnson


1 comment:

  1. That was a very encouraging post. Yes, from age five, I have wanted to create. not oalways esy to follow the path, but now at age 76 I am creating, writing and painting, took me a while to get the message. Thanks for confirming what we already know!