Did you just say all I need to do is take the next step?
I did. Just the next step.
I’m confused. What do you mean?
I mean when life is difficult, even when it is the most difficult you have ever experienced. Even when you think you can’t possibly live this way another moment. Even when finally there is nothing left in you. Even then.
Even then what??
Even then just take the next step I tell you. Don’t try and start something new and reshape your life, thinking ‘if I can just do this or think this way, then this pain will go away’. Don’t try that. You can’t escape the pain yourself. It’s impossible.
That’s pretty harsh God.
It’s reality Mark. You’ve heard the expression – ‘Most men (and women) lead lives of quiet desperation’. People everywhere, people you know, MOST people you know are busy looking for ways to escape the desperation of their lives. They don’t CALL it ‘desperation’, they simply think they want to improve things. But it’s the same thing. They’re trying to reshape their lives, go new places, make new starts, new relationships, build new scenarios to escape the pain of where they are now. It never works. Still deep down is the desperation. There is only one way to move past the desperation. Move THROUGH it. Move through it, one step at a time, while I hold your hand.
There’s something else though too right? I can sense you wanting to say more.
Yes, there’s one more aspect. You’ll need to take each new step THAT I GIVE YOU. Don’t determine your own steps. Only take the ones I GIVE YOU.
How do I do that?
Ask better questions.
It’s not a rebellion thing, or even a ‘you’re bad’ thing. So many people don’t find out what I really want for the simple reason that they don’t ask the right questions. They ask ‘CAN I?’, or ‘IS IT OK IF?’, rather than ‘WHAT DO YOU WANT?’ or ‘WHAT ARE YOU REALLY THINKING ABOUT THAT?’
But they hear you answer.
Of course they do because the answer IS ‘yes you can’ and ‘it’s ok if’. I’m NOT a harsh God. I really will allow you to do whatever you want. If you ask me if I will allow you to do what you want I’ll tell you yes. You have to dig a little deeper if you want to know what I want, OR what I’m thinking about a thing.
‘And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong--you want only what will give you pleasure.’ James 4:2-3
Explain a bit more please.
Don’t ask me if I’m ok with something, ask me what I think about a thing and what I want you to do about it. If you don’t ask, then I probably won’t tell you. Can you see where the problem is going to come with that??
Yes. I think anyway. It’s much easier to ask if you’re ok with something I already want to do – ‘is it ok if I take this job, move into this house, make this change?’ – much easier to take that option than ask ‘what’s the next step THAT YOU WANT in this relationship, what do you want me to say to that person, what job do you want me to have, where do you want me to live, what do you want me to do with my life?’
Because getting a yes or a no answer is easier than having to hear you actually speak full directions. For me anyway. I find it easier. It takes less faith.
Yes but even more important is that if you live at the ‘IS IT OK IF?’ stage you never really discover what I want. And as such our relationship is always on your terms, not mine – and Mark YOU KNOW that a relationship isn’t really a proper relationship if it’s lived on the terms of only one. It must be lived on both our terms.
Mark I know what you want. But do you know what I want? Do you really know?? The only way to find out is to move past ‘IS IT OK IF?’ and walk right up to ‘WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO ABOUT?’
PRAISE FOR THE FREEDOM DIARIES
“I thoroughly recommend Mark Holloway's book The Freedom Diaries –it asks challenging questions about our own spiritual journey and encourages us into a deeper, more intimate conversation and relationship with God….” ANDREW URQUHART - RHEMA ANNOUNCER
“You will read this book and know what a conversation with the real, living God sounds like. What makes Mark’s conversations with God unique is the pure, genuine, sane nature of what God says. And you will know exactly how to have a conversation yourself with this very real, very talkative God.” BILL KASPER. COMPUTER SCIENTIST. AUSTIN TEXAS
If you like what you read and want to know more about these conversations with God, you can purchase your own copy of Mark Holloway's book, 'The Freedom Diaries - God Speaks Back'.