How Writing Shift Transformed a Heart Full of Fear
When we take a step of faith, most of us have a vision for how things are going to turn out. To have expectations is human, and some of our dreams or visions were actually put there by God. The same God who created us is the Author of creativity and imagination, and he loves to see us use the gifts he’s given us.
But what happens when we take a step of obedience, and instead of seeing our vision come to fruition, we hit a wall? Or perhaps we hit a detour, and we spend months trying to make it back to the path we mapped out for ourselves. If you’re anything like me, this outcome can cause discouragement, frustration, and doubt. Often, we question whether we heard God in the first place.
After all, if we followed his leading, wouldn’t we be seeing fruit instead of a dead end? Wouldn’t we be seeing a harvest instead of what appears to be an endless winter?
These questions are what sent me on a journey of digging into God’s word, walking with the first disciples, and studying Jesus’ interactions with the Father during his earthly ministry. As I searched, I realized that we don’t have to wait until we’re on the other side of the struggle, the frustration or interruption to see God. We can see him right in the middle of it. But in order to do so, we have to shift our perspective.
This realization is how the book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God, was born.
If I’m completely honest, there were seasons before writing this book when my trust in God only went as far as my answered prayers took me. When I could see his hand moving the way I anticipated, I took another step forward. But when circumstances didn’t end up the way I thought they would, I feared God had abandoned me. The question I was forced to ask myself was one that transformed my relationship with him. How did I define faith? And was my approach to God really based on faith? Because if our faith is based only on what we see, it won’t take us very far.
Then I looked at each account of Jesus calling the first disciples in scripture and marveled at the fact that these men followed him without seeing a single miracle. Jesus said one thing: Come. And they left everything. There was something about Jesus that compelled them, but it had nothing to do with his supernatural abilities, because he hadn’t displayed those yet.
Though writing Shift, God transformed me in many ways, but the biggest breakthrough was discovering what propels me will determine my trajectory in life. If I’m led by fear of abandonment, I will always question God’s motives. But if I’m led by love and trust, I will know he has my best interests at heart, even when life doesn’t go according to my plan. The first disciples didn’t yet know who Jesus was, and yet they were led by some level of trust. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have followed him in the first place. They would have gone back to fishing and tax collecting, and missed the great adventure Jesus had for them.
As I wrote this book, I asked myself: What if I let go of my expectations a little bit, and realized God wants to surpass them? My finite mind can’t comprehend the infinite plans and love he has for me, but there’s one thing I can do. I can surrender and let him be the author, even when I don’t understand. This is not a one and done type choice, but one I must make every day. Even when I can’t see what’s ahead, I can choose to believe his plans are good and full of promise.
This choice is one I continue to make each day, and it’s changed my life. Is it easy? No. But it’s always worth it.
Order This Fabulous Book, Here: Shift
Meet the Author, and My Friend, Abby McDonald:
If we want to see God in the midst of our struggles, we have to change the way we look for him. Abby’s new book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God, is filled with insights to help you do so. Abby is a writer, speaker, wife, and mom whose work has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, (in)Courage, Crosswalk, and more. Her passion is to empower women to grow in faith, even when life is messy. Abby lives with her husband, three children, and mischievous lab in western Maryland. You can download “The Daughter’s Manifesto” as her free gift to you at abbymcdonald.org.