Free but Walking in My Own Light
By Marybeth Whalen

“But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.” Isaiah 50:11 (NIV)

This past school year, I made a decision. I was going to stop homeschooling and put my kids in school so that I could handle things better. One too many comments that started off with, “I don’t know how you do it,” had convinced me that, obviously, I should not even try to. I had gotten focused on how difficult my life is and how much easier things would be if I just lightened my own load. Clearly, taking something off my very full plate would lead to happiness, right?

And so, I solved my own problems and made my own way, reasoning that I was doing what was best. After all, a woman can only be expected to do so much. With homeschooling off my plate, I resolved, I was freed up to do more ministry work. And so, I started waiting for the ministry opportunities to pour in. I hadn’t counted on God having a different plan for me.

Several months into my newfound freedom, I was, to put it simply, bored. I was baking like a mad woman and my house had never been so clean and, while I did enjoy not having to think about lesson plans anymore, there was still something missing. Most noticeably was the relationship I had with my children at home. But also there was a marked absence of those surefire opportunities I had counted on once my kids were in school. And so, I asked God about this. Why hadn’t He sent me those wonderful book contracts and speaking events I had freed up my schedule to do? I mean, in case He hadn’t noticed, I was F-R-E-E. And in the silence after I finished pouring all this out to Him, I heard: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” And then He added, “You made yourself strong. I couldn’t work with that.”

What a wake-up call this was for me as I considered that perhaps God had intended for me to do exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ask or imagine because of Him at work within me. And I could rest in that, without being fearful of failing, because it was “too much.” It was too much for me, but not for Him.

Understand that there are two things I am not saying in this devotion. One, I am not saying that everyone should homeschool. This is just a personal example of how God taught me a universal truth. Two, I am not saying that we should all be super busy or take on a lot. I know firsthand that there are times in life that God directly asks us to slow down. The point of my story is learning to trust God with our calling. We learn to do whatever He asks of us—whether He asks us to persevere in faith, or surrender what He asks us to. One answer does not fit all. He deals with each of us individually.

I had, as the verse for today says, fashioned my own torch, lighting my own way in the process. I had forgotten that Jesus taught that He is the light of the world (John 8:12). The only light we need. We don’t need to scramble around and take matters into our own hands. We just need to trust Him in our calling and rest in the fact that He is capable of supplying all we need, day by day.
Dear Lord, Please help me to trust in Your calling on my life—even when what You have called me to seems impossible. Help me not to take control and step outside Your will in the process. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

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For the Write Reason General Editor Marybeth Whalen

Application Steps:
What is God asking you to do that seems too big for you? Journal about this, writing down your concerns and offering it up to Him as a prayer of surrender and submission.

Are you in a place of surrendering something He is asking you to lay down, or trusting that you can do something He has called you to?

What obstacles stand in the way of both these things?

Are you walking in a light of your own creation or in God’s light?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 1:29, “You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted; you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen.” (NIV)

I Peter 4:11b, “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (NIV)

John 8:12, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.


Blogger Julie Gillies said...

From one home schooling mom to another: Thanks!

I sometimes think it's all too much, as well, and wonder how much more I could be "doing for God" if I weren't home schooling.

This year my husband felt strongly that our last child needed something more. So, she is going to a part-time school - she will be "at school" 2 days per week and home with me 3 days per week. A big change for us all, but I believe God is in it. And that's the important thing.

Blogger Van said...

Thank you Marybeth for the reminders. I have learned that ministry is right where I am. Ministry is reaching out to and loving on those whose lives rub right up against mine on a regular basis. In that sense it doesn't often feel life the work load is big-it just comes naturally. I appreciate your gentle thoughts.

Blogger mylifewith5kids said...

Wow what wonderful timing to find this devotional!!!! I have been trying to figure out how I was going to homeschool my children again this next year. One child in particular has been very difficult to teach. My husband has not allowed me to send them to school. I have really struggled with trusting God in this whole situation. Just tonight I was at a service and the whole night was about SURRENDER. I was told to write a letter of surrender to my King. Here was my letter.

Dear King Jesus,
I surrender to You this next homeschool year with (child's name). I will not fear what might happen through out this year. I will homeschool this child whole heartedly for YOUR glory.

Two hours later, I found this devotional. GOD is so good!!! Thank you for writing it!!!
This year He is going to homeschool this child through me. I am not afraid or overwhelmed!!!
Thank you Jesus!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much I too struggle with how to homeschool properly to teach all they need to know and to take care of my husband who is a bad diabetic I am going to surrender this school year to Him
and my duties to my husband to Him
He is going to light my path from now on Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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