By: Brooke Pitman
Have you ever felt like you’re in one of those giant human size mazes full of countless twists, turns and dead-ends? You may have been to the Gran Maze in Panama City’s Coconut Creek. I have lost track of how many times my friends have talked me into paying way too much money to willingly put myself into this life size puzzle of frustration and frenzy (and a little fun). Running from one dead end to another, all in an attempt to be the first one to figure their way out of this giant sea of white walls twisting and turning in what feels like circles. If you’ve done it before, you may feel the anxiety and competitiveness rising even now.
If you’ve never done this, there are four separate towers above the white walls of the maze that have a hole punch up at the top of them. Before entering the maze, each person is handed a small card with four boxes on it that must be punched in order to be recognized as successfully completing the maze. Even if you find your way out of this Gran Maze but fail to have your card punched, you have not actually won. It is only in your ability to find the four towers and punch your card that you can boast that you have fully found your way out of this infamous “Gran Maze”!
The first time I heard God ask me if He could have my life to be used for Him in full-time ministry I was 15 years old and in the 10th grade. Although a bit nervous as to how God would use me, I said yes and instantly felt like I had just stepped into a spiritual, mental and emotional maze. I would watch powerful and anointed Pastors, teachers and missionaries stand up and speak with remarkable understanding of the Bible, travel the world and live a life full faith and I would sit back confused, asking, “How do I get from here to where I want to be…there?!”
As my High School graduation day was approaching, I could feel the pressure to make a decision about what I was going to do with my life growing inside of me. Although I had clearly heard God tell me to step into full time ministry, I was still at a loss as to what that looked like or how to walk it out as a 17 year old newly graduated student. Just like standing at the start of one of those Gran Mazes, with so many pathways and tunnels to choose from, so I felt in the next decisions of my life. So many options of schools, internships, jobs and careers. A myriad of voices speaking to me, pressuring me to “just make a decision,” all the while feeling as though every other young adult was racing past me with the answers to this “maze” in their pockets.
My brain was in constant thought with questions such as, “Which way do I turn? Is there a wrong way? What if I end up choosing the wrong career and forever live in regret? Will God be mad at me if I miss His “will” for my life?” Geez! Quite the intense internal dialogue for a 17 year old kid!
Maybe, just maybe, as you read these sentences, your heart has started to race and your breathing has become slow as you find yourself standing in the middle of your very own “Life Gran Maze”. Will you allow me to speak into your life for just a brief moment and speak some truth into you that I wish the 17 year old Brooke knew way back when? As you stare into the daunting “Life Gran Maze” hear me say…
1. Search for the Master, not the Map
The first ministry God calls us to is to Himself. A man without a prayer life has no ministry. “It’s the glory of God to conceal a matter; it’s the glory of kings to search it out (Prov. 25:2).” Begin to live out your calling right where you are, right now. It starts in our daily decision to wake up every single morning and choose to follow Jesus. On the hard days, sick days, easy days and lonely days. Your future job title, spouse, career and ministry all come from what you do with your right now. You don’t need to know everything if you know the God who does. Learn to walk closely to the Father and He will lead you through the maze. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), but the builder of our character. He will grab you by the hand and lead you into a journey of deconstruction of “self” so that He can then reconstruct you, not into a “better version of yourself” but rather a reflection of Himself. This only happens if you spend time with Him regularly. I love what Mark Batterson says, “The plans of God are found in the presence of God.” Some things God only whispers to us in private. Get close enough to hear the Master’s whispers and He will show you the map.
2. Turn to the Towers
Proverbs says, “In the multitude of counsel there is safety.” There are many men and women who have walked this maze ahead of you and are now on the other side. As you are traversing this maze of decisions look up into the “Spiritual Towers” of the ones who have gone before you and ask them to help navigate you in the right direction. Lower your pride and allow people like your Youth Pastors, teachers, parents, Lead Pastors and other Christian Leaders to point out the dead ends that they know are around the corners. Let them lead you!
3. Stop Worrying and Start Walking
I have watched so many young people just sit down on the call that God has for them. Some out of fear and others out of frustration. You don’t need to know all the answers right now because you are following the God who does! Look at all the promises He gives us:
“A man plans His steps but the Lord orders His ways.” (Prov 16:9)
“I know the plans I have for you…for a future and a hope…” (Jer 29:11)
“If I take care of the flowers how much more will I take care of you.” (Matt 6:30)
Whether it’s deciding between a particular college, working to save money for school, going on a missions trip, interning at your church or getting serious about your walk with Christ, put your PLANS into motion and start moving in the direction of your destination and watch God navigate your STEPS! Do the next right thing by being obedient with whatever God gives you as He gives it to you, and then trust that God is going to meet you every step of the way! Because He’s FOR you!
4. Relax, It’s Not a Race
I once heard it said, “Compare and compete and you’ll always live in defeat.” Our human nature has a horrible tendency of looking at the race others are running, and how well and how fast they are running it and feeling like we are constantly behind.