Watching from a Window | Chapter 12 of "How Much More?"
Whether you're incredibly clear on what you hope and dream for your life or you're stuck in confusion, we've all had those moments where confusion is brought on by someone else's opinion.
This inspired "Watching from a Window" Chapter 12 of my book "How Much More?"
I'm super excited to share this chapter with you today!
Watching from a Window
If you’re like me, you might find yourself trying to want what other people want for you. It’s easy to want your path to look like someone else’s, but the reality is, it never was and it never will be.
Trying to do what other people want for you will only confuse you. You can’t try to become what God wants for someone else, and God won’t give away what He has for you to someone else.
I spent a lot of time trying to want what other people wanted for me. It only became confusing and discouraging, and God doesn’t want either of those things for us. Confusion and distractions can pull you away from God and away from His plan for you.
To stay focused on God and what He specifically wants to give you, you have to have an increased awareness of how you’re uniquely wired. This means spending less time and energy on what other people might want for you and more time in an intimate space with God, allowing Him to speak into your life.
It’s easy to seek the approval of other people and to allow others' wants or goals for us to distract us from God’s wants and goals for us.
If you’re wondering if this is something you’re struggling with, just consider how often you think about other people and what they think of you. When you’re making a decision, how much weight do you give to outside opinions or expectations? Are you focused on honoring and glorifying God, or are you wondering if you will disappoint someone or if you will make someone else uncomfortable?
I'm going to let you in on a little secret...
You're going to disappoint people.
It might not be intentional, but someone might give you advice and tell you what they want for you. Maybe they really hope you’ll consider grad school. Maybe they think your career choice should be different. Maybe they have some insights to offer on your dating life.
Good, godly wisdom is always welcome, but at times, you might have to choose obedience to God and what He wants for your life over what other people want for you or even what you want for yourself.
Right after I got married, I had some people who told me that it was my chance to explore and travel the world and I would never get another shot unless I took it now. Others were happy to share their conviction that I would get to travel later, so I should settle into being a wife and embrace a more traditionally feminine role in my marriage.
It wasn’t really important for me to choose one or the other. It was really important for me to lean into God, to see how He uniquely made me, and to allow Him to direct my life.
God has given you unique desires, and a unique calling, and a unique path to accomplish His purposes for you. It isn’t going to look exactly like anyone else’s, and that’s a good thing. He made you different.
You have gifts and talents, a unique personality, and dreams for your life. You are going to want things that are different from what other people want. God made us all different, wanting different things because He has different roles for each of us in the Kingdom. It’s not a one-size- fits-all kind of thing.
I want to give you permission to want things in life, even if they are unexpected, scary, or different from what the people around you want for you. You might surprise people with what you want, and honestly, you might even surprise yourself. I hope you do because that’s a hint that it’s God who is stirring something new in you.
He created us before He even created the world. “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind” (Ephesians 1:4 MSG). Some of our hopes and desires have been around for a very long time, and He doesn’t want us to miss those either. Ephesians 2:10 in the New Living Translation says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
That dream you have had forever? It matters.
There will always be people who offer opinions and judgments while watching us from the sidelines. They aren’t even playing the game.
In the Bible, people were watching from the window.
As the ark of the covenant of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart. 1 Chronicles 15:29, NIV
This verse caught me off guard. Why does Michal despise David?
He’s joyful, he’s celebrating, and he’s worshiping God.
She’s watching, and she is judging what he’s doing.
Michal was offended and upset by David’s actions, but he was doing exactly what he should have been doing. The ark of the covenant was a physical representation of God’s presence in the Old Testament. David was in the presence of the Lord and He was celebrating.
Michal didn’t want David to be acting like he was, and she took offense and despised him for it. She stood by watching from the window as the presence of God entered the space.
At first, this verse surprised me, but it also felt oddly familiar to me.
If your dream or desire puts you in the presence of the Lord, don’t let the people watching from the window stop you from moving and rejoicing in it. People are always going to have anopinion about what we are doing and what we are pursuing, but God is the only One who really knows what is within our hearts and what is behind our actions.
I'm not saying you can do whatever you want. Don't believe the lie that you will always have good desires or let just any desire lead your life. Instead, take them all to the Father. Tell Him with open hands and a heart of surrender about what you want and ask Him about what He wants. Watch what He does.
Some of your desires are from Him, and He puts them on your heart because He has a specific plan for you and for your life. When you lean into that, you will feel the most like who God originally designed you to be. When you pursue those longings, when you act on what the Spirit is prompting you to do, you’ll end up in the presence of God—joyful and delighting in Him. And it’s okay if that makes someone else uncomfortable.
What matters is that you are being obedient to God.
Let your desires come into alignment with God's desires for your life. Ask Him for those desires He had for you at the very beginning. Don't look at what other people want for you. Also, don’t immediately trust what you think you want for yourself.
Go to God every time, sit at His feet, and wait. Listen and let Him plant what He wants for you in you. Tell Him what you want and entrust that to Him. He is going to give you more than you could ever imagine. He’s just that good.
You might want some crazy and unexpected things. Some things will feel too soon or too late, and you will disappoint some people along the way when you take chances. Not everyone will understand what you’re doing, but they don’t need to.
Maybe Michal thought David looked foolish, but David was obedient to what God wanted. David wasn’t focused on what Michal wanted from him, and if he had been, he would have missed out on a moment of delighting in the Father and bringing glory to God.
I don’t want you to miss that.
When you’re obedient and willing to do what God wants for you, you’ll find yourself right in the center of the presence of God, dancing and celebrating, and you won’t notice if anyone is watching.