What Does a Donkey Have to do with My Destiny? (Part 2)

How do you respond to changes in your life?  Do you go in kicking and dragging your heel? Are you one of those that can’t leave anything behind, so you try to juggle the old and new? Very few of us are excited when changes come in our lives. Changes in our lives are unavoidable. It is how we deal with them and accept them that affect our destiny.

I can honestly say I am one that thinks long and hard before making changes. I like to hold on to the old and familiar. Recently, my dearly beloved 18-year-old recliner needed to be replaced. This recliner had moved with me three different times and has served me Chair 3well, but the time had come for it to be replaced.  I have been putting off getting a new one for several years thinking this one could last a little longer. However, over the past year it had started to lose its stuffing in several places from wear. Finally, I had no choice, I knew something had to be done!

So why did I delay getting a new one? You see, this old recliner really fits me just right. It is so comfortable. The arms are just the right size to hold the remote. It is just the right height. It reclines to just the right angle for sleeping and watching TV. It is what I know. I am happy and content and even a little lazy. This old recliner has been doing its job. I didn’t want to think about going and searching for something new. I didn’t want to face the unknown world of recliner shopping; the colors, the styles, the choices. I knew there would not be one like the one I already had, and I would rather hold on to what I knew than to face the unknown.  However, once the decision to order a new recliner had been made, the question became what to do with my old recliner. Should I get rid of it or keep it around just in case I needed it for some reason. Can you relate? Do you hang on to stuff just in case you need it? (Let me be honest, the real reason I want to keep the recliner around is as a safety measure just in case I don’t like my new recliner.)

Some of you may be saying, “Well Brea, I’m glad you got a new recliner, but that seems very small and insignificant compared to the changes that come into my life.” You are right, but the decision is still the same. Sometimes you have to be willing to let go of things in your past or current life to embrace the new, exciting, and unknown things God has for you in the future. Be it a new recliner, a new Lifegroup, a new bible study, a new church, a new circle of friends, a new ministry, a new career or job, a new relationship, a move to a different city or country, etc. … You get the idea.

In the last session of the Priscilla Shirer Live conference in Knoxville, Priscilla gave us some warnings of things to be prepared for as we chase our donkeys heading towards our destiny. (To understand, read Part 1 if you haven’t.) The word of warning that really stuck me was that sometimes God calls us to let things in our life go: friends, possessions, ambitions, plans, and desires. (She is not talking about your marriage!)  Wait a minute! That is change! I thought I could just carry on with my every day task of chasing my donkey while waiting for my destiny. I didn’t sign up to give anything up. But God’s ways are different from our ways and his thoughts are different from our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9) Sometimes we have to be willing to change to meet our destiny.

In 1 Samuel 9:27, Saul experienced having to give up something. He had to give up his servant that had been traveling with him. Samuel told him to let his servant go:

“When they reached the edge of town, Samuel told Saul to send his servant on ahead. After the servant was gone, Samuel said, “Stay here, for I have received a special message for you from God.”

Priscilla told us that sometimes in order for us to grasp the new things God has planned, we have to be willing to let go. Saul’s servant had served his purpose by pointing Saul to Samuel and faithfully working alongside of Saul chasing after those donkeys. Let’s be honest, sometimes it is others in our lives that encourage us and point out new opportunities in our lives. We just have to make the decision to follow their suggestions.

A little warning though: Don’t be like Balaam with his donkey (Numbers 22:8-35) and follow someone else’s suggestion or encouragement out of un-pure motives or rebellion and without actively seeking for God’s permission through prayer to move forward.  Draper Rogers detour-44163_640said in his sermon a few weeks ago: “Road blocks are not the enemy and when you encounter road blocks they can be God’s warning signs to you and should not be ignored.”  Make sure you are watching for the road signs while you chase your donkey.  Detours and unintended hazards are no fun and can slow you down.

But back to change. When change comes in your life how do you react: Are you excited?  Do you embrace this new change? Are the words from the song in the movie Frozen your motto: “Let it go! Let it go!” Do you embrace the words found in Isaiah 43:19 (NET) where the Lord says: “Look, I am about to do something new. Now it begins to happen! Do you not recognize it?  Yes, I will make a road in the desert and paths in the wilderness”?

Are you willing to drop everything and follow Jesus, just like his disciples?

In Matthew 4:19-22 (NET) Jesus said to them, “ ‘Follow me, and I will turn you into fishers of people.’ They left their nets immediately and followed him. Going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. Then he called them. They immediately left the boat and their father and followed him.”

These disciples were willing to drop everything to follow Jesus.

Sometimes this is so hard to do. I have been known to flat-out rebel by refusing to make the change, or I try to juggle the old and the new. This never works. Can you relate to the rich man in Matthew 19:16-30 (NET), when he came to Jesus and asked him how he could gain eternal life? Jesus told him to keep the commandments, to which the rich man replied that he did, so what did he lack? Jesus replied: “ ‘If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ But when the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he was very rich.” This man went away sorrowful, sad. He could not let his possessions go. He missed out on following Jesus for things. Do you let worldly possessions, your friends, family members, job, church, current ministries, etc. hold you back from following God to your destiny? Do you favor them and the security they bring over God?  These are some really tough questions! Let me say from experience it is better to willingly give something up than to have the Holy Spirit come in and strip things away as he cuts and prunes your life. The hurt is a lot worse when God has to purposely remove something or someone, than for us to acknowledge and obey God’s instruction when He asks us to let things or people go.

Giving up the familiar and stepping out into the unknown is scary. But God has said in Deuteronomy 31:5 (NET) “Be strong and courageous! Do not fear or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who is going with you. He will not fail you or abandon you!” Also in Isaiah 41:10 (NET) God tells us, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! I strengthen you—yes, I help you—yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand!”

So are you willing to let go and step out on Faith? At the conference, Priscilla said, “Our calling/destiny is not here. It is there. And we have to be willing to release what God has called us to let go of so that we can fully grasp the future he has planned.  If we choose to hold on to the past it limits our enjoyment of the life God has given us. God lays the table and invites us to come eat, but we have to decide to leave things behind and go.”

It is time for me to let my old recliner go and embrace many years with my new recliner. What is God calling you to leave behind or change in your life so that you can experience new and exciting things He has for your destiny?

What Does a Donkey Have to do with My Destiny? (Part 1)

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Recently, I attend a Priscilla Shiver Live event in Knoxville, Tennessee, with some ladies from our church. (Side note: if you ever have a chance to go hear her live – take it.  You will be blessed!)  During the weekend she taught from 1 Samuel 9:1 – 10:2 with a message I would title “You have to chase a few Donkeys to reach your Destiny.”

Priscilla said God has already made a pathway for our future. We don’t have to rely on luck or the stars to tell us our future when we know the Maker of the stars.  The only thing we have to do is be faithful in regular mundane duties and tasks and our lives will intersect with our destinies.  Here are some Biblical examples she gave:

Rebekah was just faithfully going about her daily task of drawing water from the well when she had an encounter that would change the trajectory her life.  She met the man who would take her to marry Isaac.

The Woman at the Well was faithfully drawing water when she met Jesus and he offered her living water. That day her life was changed.

David was faithfully attending the sheep when his father called him to take provisions to this brothers, and he met Goliath.  He was also faithfully attending the sheep when Samuel came to anoint him as the future king of Israel.  These two events changed the trajectory of David’s life.

The passage Priscilla spent session one on was Saul and his search for the donkeys.  Here is an abbreviated overview of the passage.  Saul has been tasked by his father to go and find the donkeys that had strayed away.  He was going about a very mundane everyday task, but along the way he met Samuel, a Man of God.  Samuel had been sent to the city by the LORD to anoint Saul as the future king of Israel.  The task of chasing the donkeys set Saul on the path to meet his destiny.

Here are a few things to remember about chasing our donkeys:

  • It will not bring us fame on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
  • It does not matter if your family has failed to chase the donkeys before.  This is your chase not your family’s.
  • Your attributes, beauty or lack of beauty, skills or lack of skills, do not matter.
  • You have to make a conscious choice to chase the donkey.
  • We can’t be lazy or have apathy for chasing the donkeys.
  • You can’t think that chasing the donkey is not worth your time.
  • You have to faithfully keep chasing the donkeys until God moves you on.
  • You have to constantly be praying and seeking direction for the path and destiny the donkeys will take.
  • Sometimes you have to keep chasing the donkeys even if you know your destiny because it can take years to come to fruition. Just ask Abraham and Moses. God revealed to them their destiny, but it was years before it was fulfilled in their lives.
  • Don’t get ahead of your donkeys thinking you know where they are going. They may just take a different path.
  • Don’t grow tried and frustrated or be willing to quit chasing your donkey. Your destiny might just be around the next corner.
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Donkeys can be smelly and dirty and stubborn and not much fun.

You see Saul was ready to give up. He was tired, hungry, frustrated and had already traveled through 5 countries. He was ready to return home to his Father and admit defeat. But Saul’s servant encouraged Saul to continue on and seek out Samuel to inquire where the donkeys may be found. God was already preparing the way. God had told Samuel to prepare and watch for Saul. Saul only had to walk the path God had already laid out for him.

Are you chasing the donkeys set before you waiting for your destiny to come? Or are you sitting back doing nothing waiting for your destiny to cross your path? Mary Margaret Collingsworth, an employee at Lifeway and a speaker at the You Lead conference I also attended while in Knoxville, said “God wants us to be doing the everyday, not just looking towards the big picture and waiting for something to happen.”

Are you a single woman waiting on God to bring your future husband?  Then you need to be walking in purity and doing the task that God has laid before you faithfully.  One day, if it is God’s will that perfect husband will cross your path; however, if we are just sitting back and waiting on God to bring him to our front porch we might be waiting a long time. Are you a married woman who is tasked with folding the clothes and raising children? Are you faithfully fulfilling these task while you wait for God to bring your destiny? Be it writing a bible study or teaching a lifegroup or ladies bible study or homeschooling your children. We all want to know what our future holds, but are we being obedient and doing the things we already have scheduled on our calendars. Are we looking for new opportunities to serve God?  Are we willing to do those tasks we despise? What if you knew they were tied to your destiny?

Priscilla asked us if we were waiting for the current season in our life to be over thinking the next one would be greater.  A single feels she can’t wait to get married, and doesn’t enjoy her time of being single.  A young couple can’t wait to have children but miss the time of togetherness they have to build their marriage.  An older lady can’t wait to retire.  What about a job you can’t wait to leave? Something you agreed to do that you can’t wait to be over? You get the idea. Are you racing through every season of our life waiting to get to the next and missing out on the blessing of the current season you are in? We all do it. We are spending all our time waiting for our current situation to be over instead of looking for the blessing God has for us.

So as you chase your donkeys, be on the lookout for your destiny.  Keep being faithful to the small, mundane task.  Don’t wish your life away and miss out on what God has planned for you. Don’t be so worried about the big picture God has for you that you miss the snapshots of God working on in your everyday life. Don’t get bogged down and feel that what you are doing does not have purpose. Everything you do has a purpose.  You may just not be able to see its worth yet. When Saul completed his task and arrived at the appointed place and time there was a reward waiting for him – a feast in his honor, a special message from God, anointing for his destiny, and word that the donkeys had been found.

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Faithfully do the task before you as you wait for God to bring you to your destiny!