When God Moves Faster than I Can Keep Up

When God Moves Faster than I Can Keep Up by Pearl Allard (Look Up Sometimes)

Today I’m participating in the Five Minute Friday community. We’re supposed to write for five minutes and not edit. I take these rules as a kind of loose suggestion. The word prompt is: REGRET.

I had a post all set to send you today, but I deleted it. Maybe I didn’t want you to know writing is a struggle right now. Maybe I didn’t think there’d be value in it for you. If you’re interested, you can read about that HERE on a guest post I wrote this week for the Breathe Christian Writers Conference Blog.

Nothing’s changed — but maybe that’s the point. Words flow, but I’m having a hard time letting them go. (I’ll restrain myself from Disney karaoke. You’re welcome for getting the song stuck in your head.) I feel like a stream with lots of ice blockages.

My mantel is still haphazardly decorated for Valentine’s Day — just the way I let my daughter decide to do it this year. (Have you read Shannon Popkin’s Control Girl book? All about exercising letting go of our perceived control.) There are fake poinsettias from Christmas above my kitchen cupboards that look conspicuously out of place. I’m ready to sweep away the remains of winter, but what do I replace them with? Spring is not here yet in the Midwest, though last week we experienced a teaser. Today it’s back to frigid temps in the 30s, despite the sunshine. Do spring decorations make sense? Is that the order of things to renovate from the inside out?

valentine's decorations Pearl Allard (Look Up Sometimes)

Do you ever feel God gets in the way of obeying Him? That He’s asking you to move faster than you can go? He quickens the pace, and you quickly panic?

What does it mean to give God my best effort when I know I could do better but I sense He’s already moved on? “God, I could do a good job if You’d just SLOW DOWN.” I know He doesn’t get in the way of our obedience, but sometimes I get mad because it feels like it. I’m slooooooooow to get work done. Or more accurately, I’m sloooooow to put my stamp of approval on my work and release it. Why do I heap on deadly self-expectations when God calls me to be a living sacrifice? Why do I fear the opinions of those whose lives I pity? How do I change my thinking so I’m actually following Him and not my own ideas of what that entails? What does giving God my best work look like when it’s clear God is not after the same result I’m imagining?

When God Moves Faster than I Can Keep Up by Pearl Allard (Look Up Sometimes)
Giddy up!

I regret that I am my own worst enemy to following God well. I regret the paralysis that comes from all these wrong ways of thinking when God is telling me to move. In all my thirty-seven years, have I not learned yet? What does accepting grace look like in this situation?

What would I tell a friend struggling with this? I’d say, “It’s ok to struggle. There is blessing for wrestling to the end of it and not giving up. You are so crazy-loved, it’s not even funny. God delighted to design you just the way He wanted you, and He knows your particular fears and insecurities. God is inviting you to give Him where you are, to go somewhere better with Him. He won’t leave you. He’ll lead you. You don’t have to be perfect, because Perfection (aka Jesus) is His job. Your job is to aim for Him – not strive. Keep your eyes on Him. Focus on Him. Look up sometimes. His grace will empower you to go forth boldly in the wonderful way He’s made you and in the wonderful way He’s re-making you. Worst case scenario, you fall and His grace catches you. Then you get up and try again. That’s still forward movement. He withholds no good thing from him whose walk is blameless. When the walk feels more like a turtle trying to sprint, just try. What do you have to lose?”

Courage, dear heart. ~ C.S. Lewis

Dear friend, do you struggle with the regret of holding yourself back from the new growth God wants to spring forth in your heart, too? Let’s encourage each other! Let’s not fear taking down the remains of the old season to make space for the new — even if it means experiencing some uncomfortable tension in the waiting or even a few bruises from taking holy risks. If we run, we run in the wake of His victory.

Keep looking up!

17 thoughts on “When God Moves Faster than I Can Keep Up

  1. Seriously loving that picture of you on the turtle. Lol! And, wow! Seriously again, that thought, “What does giving God my best work look like when it’s clear God is not after the same result I’m imagining?” is worth meditating on. Talk about food for thought! Gonna have to chew on that one for awhile.

  2. Hi Pearl,

    Your blog post “When God Moves Faster than I Can Keep Up” resonate with me.

    Here’s my comment.

    An interesting concept, the Five Minute Friday.

    The first paragraph of your blog represents a realistic approach to the writing process as a Christian blogger.

    It reminded me of the fact that when we read well-written blog posts, we don’t see the hard work that has proceeded the publishing.

    This Five Minute Friday challenge has a bit of James Joyce over it.

    It’s meant as a compliment.

    I’ve not read Shannon Popkin’s book yet.

    Do I ever feel God’s asking me to move faster than I can go?

    I’d say yes, most of the time.

    He is always pushing out of my comfort zone, but I’m about to get used to it now, and I’m learning a lot.

    You wrote:

    “What does it mean to give God my best effort when I know I could do better but I sense He’s already moved on?”

    This particular sentence got me thinking about how important it is not to over-think situations, but built moment instead, knowing that we could do better.

    Sometimes I tend to overthink instead of just jumping into what I need to do.

    You’re right, there something satisfying working to the end with something rather than giving up.

    It’s essential, as you say, to encourage each other.

    I was encouraged by your post.

    God bless you and your work!

    Edna Davidsen.

    1. Edna! Thank you for such a thoughtful reply! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who struggles with overthinking things! And how wonderful that you are pushing past your comfort zone to the faith zone (as I heard a speaker say, once). Thank you for your presence here.

  3. Love the pics, Pearl. Your post made me think of something I read elsewhere this past week — about Jesus being useful or beautiful to us? As a recovering achiever (always striving), I think I’ve often looked at my relationship with Jesus as being useful. Something I desperately need in my life … but like you I’m learning it’s so much more. I’m also making room for the new in my life — outwardly and inwardly. I want Jesus to be beautiful to me and not merely useful.

    1. Melissa, that is sage advice. Thank you for pointing straight to the help source. Look up sometimes, right? I found a canvas on clearance that says “Give Up on Giving Up.” I kinda love it!

  4. I think we all go through seasons where things flow nicely along a string unhindered canal. But then comes the valley where there are twists and turns. Debris clogs the channel, strong currents pull us away. We get caught in eddies that even pull us backwards.

    It the challenging sections of life where we get to see what were made of and where God is still developing our ability to trust Him. It’s a never ending river of life. Grace enables us to enjoy the ride, even when it gets scary.

    As empty nesters with the challenges of raising three boys behind us, you’d think things would be “easier”. Nope. The challenges this season of life brings us are new currents in the continuing journey of faith. Fun!

    >Scott

    1. Mr. Scott, thank you for contributing your thoughts. I thought of white water rafting with your word pictures. I love the thought that grace enables us to enjoy the ride. (And if not the ride itself, our rafting Guide anyway.) I don’t doubt that life never gets easier – just different! May God’s grace rest upon you and your wife as you navigate your current season.

  5. Oh my – certainly we can all say (to one degree or another) “I am my own worst enemy at following God well!” I know that I can. But so thankful for His grace…and the faithful nudgings that push us forward. And outward. Hope spring comes soon to your neck of the woods. Those teasers are so hard:)

    1. Jennifer, glad we are not alone. We need each other, don’t we? So grateful with you for His grace – our lifeline! The seasons seem to change almost instantly here when the change occurs. It won’t be long! Are you in spring where you are?

  6. I enjoyed your post- lots of great advice! I think it’s a great question to ask in any situation we’re struggling with: what would I say to a friend who is struggling with this? I think often we have an answer but it’s somehow easier to show grace to others than to ourselves. Visiting from FMF #20.

  7. Visiting as your FMF neighbor. Pretty powerful stuff, kid. I was particularly struck by the paragraph, “What would I tell a friend struggling with this? I’d say, ‘It’s ok to struggle. There is blessing for wrestling to the end of it and not giving up. You are so crazy-loved, it’s not even funny. God delighted to design you just the way He wanted you, and He knows your particular fears and insecurities. God is inviting you to give Him where you are, to go somewhere better with Him. He won’t leave you. He’ll lead you. You don’t have to be perfect, because Perfection (aka Jesus) is His job … Worst case scenario, you fall and His grace catches you. Then you get up and try again. That’s still forward movement…’” As we inch closer to spring, may you have a blessed Easter and take holy risks!

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