"They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them;" Acts 16:6-7
How many times have we felt God leading in a certain area or situation in our lives, only to be stopped dead in our tracks from going forward? What is our reaction when this happens? I would venture to say that more times than not, our gut instinct is to think that we have done something wrong, messing up what it was we "thought" we were suppose to do.
The apostle Paul is a great example of such a thing, EXCEPT, his perception was not marred by the world, but led by the Spirit. In Galatians 1:12, Paul says "For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ." It is time we as Christians take our eyes off of ourselves, the people around us, our opinions, their critiques, and place ourselves solely in the hands of the Holy Spirit.
When our family of four moved to California, the number one thing I had to do was get us connected and grounded in a good church. In my mind was a lot of "man made" anxiety, thinking and feeling that it was in fact MY JOB to do this. I prayed, I cried, I searched (only for about 3 days, but still...that was an eternity to this PK). Anyway, once God planted us in our local church, I began feeling like I needed to get involved in some sort of ministry, and as a default, I went to what I knew best, singing. Now, I started this totally out of desperation, just wanting to do something I had always done, knowing I would be comfortable behind the microphone (note the word comfortable). I did pray about it, but to say I sought the Lord on it would be lying. Running parallel to this was a Bible Study I had began going to, focusing on Prayer. There were so many things taking place inside of me in the process of that Bible Study, that the voice of the Lord began to become clearer and clearer with every single day. On my last rehearsal before joining the team on a Sunday morning, I sat at the keyboard with our praise and worship pastor going over things when out of NO WHERE, I felt a shift in my spirit, looked at her and said, "STOP!! I CAN'T DO THIS! I DO NOT KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS MOMENT, ALL I KNOW IS THAT THIS IS NOT WHAT I AM SUPPOSE TO BE DOING". We both laughed at the candidness of the moment, and agreed that God was in that moment, very present.
Within a very short time, my personal praise and worship became much more than I could have ever dreamed. God gives us gifts and talents, but what man does with and to those is so often in contrast to His design. My mentality was "Oh, you were born into THAT family, well, then you have to be on the stage singing". By releasing myself from the pressures of what I thought I should be doing, and focusing on what it was GOD wanted me to do, my life took a major shift; was it comfortable? No; in fact, the journey has been one of the most difficult things I have faced, because in facing myself, I began to be stretched, refined, sharpened, (dulled when needed), BUT all with the affirming voice of the Holy Spirit leading and guiding.
We can do all the planning we want for any amount of time that we want, but if we are seeking after God, and He says "STOP", it may not be because we were doing anything wrong, it may in fact be because He has a Greater picture for us. The Holy Spirit told Paul he was not going into Asia, but within a couple of years, according to Acts 19:10, all those who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord. God is not ironic. We often label His works manifest as if they are ironic, but nothing about Him is coincidental or unexpected. He knew you from the beginning of time, and He has your story written. He is waiting for you to commit to going longer and deeper in your relationship with Him. He will make the path of your life known to you, In Him, there will be fullness of Joy and Pleasures Forever (Ps.16:11).