Wait. Wilderness. Things Above.

Last year, there was one prayer that I wrote continuously in the pages of my journal “Keep us humble, Lord”. Nothing big was happening in our lives. My husbands team wasn’t achieving great success, things were just mediocre. So, it seemed odd for the Lord to reiterate those words in my spirit. I have watched many people get caught up in the culture of striving and success. Sort of like a spider web to a bug, it seems like a possible good place to land, but the more you wallow in it, the more trapped you become until you can’t break free. I have watched people change because of success and lost friends. I have watched people lose sight of the Lord in their success- and it scares me to think there would ever be a day I would rather be successful than hidden away in Christ.

Therefore, I kept praying, “Keep us humble, Lord”, not because I expected success to come into our lives, but because if it came, I did not want it to change us and be stripped of humility. You always hear, “Don’t pray for patience or God will give you circumstances to be patient in”. Well, to say God gave us a season that ushered in utmost humility is an understatement. My husband will be a coach in some capacity until someone tells him not to show up anymore, just because he loves it so much. But neither of us will feel the same way about winning ever again.

Back in April, during the height of COVID quarantine, God laid three words on my spirit one day during my quiet time with him- wait, wilderness, things above. I wrote the words down and moved right along with life, forgetting about the words altogether. We waited, for what seemed like forever, to see if there would be a football season, and then the green light to play came from our state. We were so thankful. There was much anticipation prior to the season of how my husband’s team would perform. Most news outlets speculated the team would most certainly make the playoffs, while possibly making a run at a region championship.

No such things even came close to happening. If something could go wrong for our team, it did. The days and weeks were dark in our home. My husband began to question his calling and his purpose so much so that I questioned him and myself to. More than that, I began to question God. So we wrestled, God and I. I asked hard questions, some of which I never imagined I would voice to the ear of the Father. I got angry and I yelled. I pounded my fists and I cried. I could not see how we would get through, and I could not see a hope or a future.

On one particular dark day, a friend reached out to me unexpectedly. She told me she was reading her Bible that morning and heard the Lord clearly to read the Scriptures to me that she had read. It was about Moses and the Israelites, more specifically their time in the wilderness. I’ll never forget her words, “I don’t know why I feel led to tell you this one word, but wilderness kept coming up. Morgan, God did not tell the Israelites to worship after they were out of the wilderness, but He told them to go into the wilderness and worship. I think that’s what God is needing to tell you”.

Suddenly the three words from month before came flooding back and I could not get home to my journal fast enough. I searched frantically for the words the Lord gave me- wait, wilderness, things above. We had waited for this season, and now we found ourselves in the thick of the wilderness. But I still did not understand things above. I mean, I felt that we had “set our minds on things above”. Sure, now we definitely needed to look up, but it did not feel that simple.

I wrestled with the concept of things above for a couple weeks until one day I finally understood. It was one of the first days I decided to sit with God in stillness and one of the first times I had come to Him not angry. As I prayed, I heard Him say, “Morgan, you can think you set your mind on me all you want, many people do. But until my glory, my purposes, and me alone are enough for you, nothing ever will be. Being in my will sometimes looks like being uncomfortable and not successful in the worlds standards. But, if you are faithfully obedient to where I call you, you have found all the success that matters.”

The world’s measure of success is not God’s definition of success. That means we can walk in our calling and never win a game. We can walk in our calling and never climb the ladder. We can walk in our calling and never be rewarded. But, if we have been obedient to the call of Christ, if we trust Him with everything (even losing seasons), we have succeeded.

Over the last several weeks, my husband and I have taken inventory of our motives, our dreams, and our purposes. We’ve learned it’s a daily surrender to “things above” and not a one-time understanding. Living for things above requires a daily action step of faith, obedience, and surrender. Telling God that our hands are open to His anything is the most terrifying and most freeing thing all at once.

Success for us now is accepting that winning in our purpose as a football family might never have anything to do with winning on a field. Success might only ever mean that we were faithfully where our feet were and that we followed God’s call, no matter the sacrifice, for the glory of His name alone and not our own.

- Morgan Easley

No Comments