No Plan B – Don’t Settle, Don’t Opt Out!

Jeremiah 29:11For those encountering ‘God’s delay’ in fulfilling a promise given to you years ago or seeing breakthrough in any number of areas, this blog is for you and me. God breathed the ministry of Rivers of Eden into my heart in 1997. Over all these years, seasons of discouragement filled my life when I was so far away from any semblance of the promise. Many times in the midst of great regret, I railed at God for being less than faithful to me. I cried deep tears wondering if this life as it existed was all I could ever dream for or hope to get. There is so more but all I can tell you is that I went though so much stuff, like many of you.

In all these years the vision of Rivers of Eden has never died within my being. It seems like this promise is interwoven into my framework, my DNA. In times where I wanted to walk away, I realized that no matter what I did, my heart was set on the promise given to me by God. It was today, while driving, that I realized so clearly that I never wanted a plan B. I never opted out no matter what came my way. His grace sustained me in the journey, even when I did not see Him or feel Him in the slightest way.

There is no glory in plan B for me. In fact, there is no plan B for me. Only Plan A – the promises of God, as He spoke them to my heart, alive and flowing in me out to the nations.

Now having said that, I also want to say this. Plan A does not work itself out like we think. The way I thought Rivers of Eden would flow is not the way God saw it flowing in my life. So His Plan A is different from my perception of Plan A. His seed of promise is growing in me and I tried to work it out my way, in my time. Now, I see He is faithful to His way in His timing in His wisdom.

So for those reading – don’t settle for anything less than what God promised you. No matter how long it takes to see fulfillment. No matter how far away you seem to be from it, don’t settle. As God aligns your vision with His, and as you hear His sound, rest in His way and release what you thought into His process. Eventually passion and joy will be infused into your life as you realize that you are not forgotten and something greater than you can imagine is upon you, unfolding one step at a time.

Why am I so encouraged right now? Well quite simply, I just watched a movie today called “Mr. Holland’s Opus.’ I’ve seen it many times but Holy Spirit kept prompting me to watch it again with spiritual eyes and ears open to receive.

Here’s a brief recap of the story. Mr. Holland has a dream – to write his symphony, his opus, as a composer. He thinks about it all the time. He works on it all the time. Then, life hits – bills to pay, baby on the way, house to buy, job needed…you see the picture. Life has a way of distracting and diverting us from our dreams.

He accepts a teaching job but over the years, his involvement with the students increases to the point where his symphony seems to take a place way down on his list of priorities.

All through the movie, he deals with regret, loss of vision and discouragement. He feels he is losing his passion and his dream in the daily outworking of his life. Yet behind the scenes something was happening that he didn’t see. Plan A was still being worked out, but not the way He thought it would come together.

It all happens in the last scene of the movie. He walks into an auditorium to find people, hundreds of people who are there to honor him for how he impacted their lives over the course of many years. While he thought his dream was dying, it was birthing itself over and over in the lives of people. They were his symphony, his opus.

The stage is full with an orchestra made up of former students. Their lives were his opus from years of of his encouragement, his patience and his love for each of them. But, he never saw it until that day. As he began to lead this orchestra in the symphony, his dream, his Plan A came forth in the sound of beauty, honor, love, respect and so much more. It came together, not in the way he planned it, but in a much greater way than he could ever imagine.

As for me, there is no Plan B. There is only Plan A fulfilling itself right now in the journey in God’s way in His timing. He is faithful to complete what He seeds into us. I will enjoy the journey, rest in His grace and walk step by step in His promises right now as He leads the way. I pray this encourages you in some small way today.

DebraIn Christ,
Debra

I would love to speak at your conference, gathering, church or home group. Contact me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Enjoy reading about Rivers of Eden and the Timeline of our Life!

Sometimes You Simply Can’t Go That Way? Then What?

I found myself telling a friend, “I can’t go into that room with you.” The words came out of my mouth, without an immediate understanding as to what they actually meant. I just knew, deep inside, that these words were accurate in what I felt. This room is not actually a room but a place in life where there may be a fork in the road. One person has to go one way while another person goes the other way. I simply said, “I can’t go into that room with you.”

For months, God did not fully explain why I said it that way. He also did not indicate to me what that statement meant. I lived in the tension, trying to figure out what I meant. Not wanting to be careless, uncaring, or arrogant. Not wanting to be nebulous or vague. I simply could not walk the way she was walking. It does not make the path inherently wrong. It simply means that it was not a way for me at this time in my life.

But, why? There’s the question. I finally got an answer, which brought me great peace and increased freedom.

One day in prayer, the Lord spoke to me.

“Debra don’t hedge your bets.”

Hmmmm? I always get these one-liners from God that take me down a path of understanding His way for my life. They work for me. God is gracious to talk to me with a bit of humor with a lot of creativity.

“Don’t hedge your bets.”

What does it mean?

“Debra, don’t walk forward, leaving a means of retreat open in case Plan A does not work. In your case, stick with the plan. There is no plan B. Follow me.”

“Debra don’t try to protect yourself from any losses by creating a protective barrier around you by following the same ole’ same ole’ way you have always gone.”

“Debra, don’t try to minimize your exposure to loss.”

“Debra, I have created you to take risks.”

God and I spent a whole day rehashing and talking through some things. Like how I have lost my ‘edge’ over the past few years. About how I opted for a safe route because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and rejected and invisible.

I can’t hedge my bets by choosing a sure thing. The only sure thing for me is a person, Christ Jesus. He is leading me by a unique, adventurous path. And I already see it starting. After I accepted His words. He began to tell me how He wired me to be and how I actually am and not to fight it all anymore.

So, I could not go into this room with this friend. Yes, she went into it but I could not. And, God does work it all for good, loving all His children.

I have to live my life following a different rhythm, not always easy or predictable but filled with a measure of risk and adventure. To not do life this way only leaves me bored and passive which is death to my soul.

Follow me a bit further. It gets good.

Jesus spoke to my spirit (paraphrasing of course).

Release fear of the future. I’ve got it all in My hands.

Release fear that the past will repeat itself like “Groundhog Day.”

Release fear that you have missed My plan for your life.

Release fear that people control your destiny by their actions.

Release fear of what people think about you – your failures, mistakes, etc.

Then, very succinctly, I heard, “Ask no more questions about the past. Walk forward.”

From that moment something happened, all in a progression of happenings over the past year. I sensed more and more freedom each day.

I know. I can’t go into anyone’s room that may pull me back into the mundane, doing what is expected in a safe way. I can’t walk into a place where possibilities are only something  continually talked about, but never pursued? Not me.

I can’t walk into rooms that are created for someone else. In fact, I don’t want to live in a room at all. A room is a confined space, limited for me, but perhaps not for others. God is cool in that – giving us what we each need.

I never intended to be selfish by not going into that room but I have followed people into so many rooms over the years that now, I want wide open spaces.

I have walked into rooms where people wanted me to mentor them, counsel them, finance their endeavors, talk with me, cry about their problems, walk through their pain with them, enter into their sorrow, their divorce, etc. And YES I have done it and always will do it as God leads for people who I love.

But NOW, that is not God’s plan for me. I want the wide-open fields, the broad places that are beautiful when it is sunny or when there are blustery winds and thunderstorms. I want these wide-open spaces for that is how I am wired in God.

I want the wide expanse of possibility that exists in the midst of what seems impossible, not being contained or conformed to the pressure of normalcy or the status quo.

I sought a measure of comfort for the past few years due to internal struggles and hopelessness. I am happy to say, that is not the case today.

So Lord, take the roof off or better yet, lead me out in a way you have chosen for me to walk…and to run. At least for this season. To walk on the path of faith that God places before me.

Lord, I won’t hedge my bets by choosing the safe way. This is the life you have given me to show forth your glory. Besides that, to take a path that I have taken before, expecting different results is insanity. I did not say that, Einstein did. He probably also liked wide-open spaces.

I won’t commit to be safe

I won’t rely on Plan B when you are a faithful God.

I won’t look for a way out.

I won’t live in fear and choose what is comfortable.

I won’t protect myself against loss by following what seems to be a sure path or a path where others may go, but I cannot go.

I won’t let safety and comfort be a protective barrier around me, keeping me in a false sense of security.

So what now? Doors are opening, wide, very wide. I had nothing to do with it. It is all about Jesus. Kenya is the first door – 3 weeks in August with a great team of people.

Here is a word for me – changed my life….hope you also love it.

Garris Elkins

The way forward you seek is through a doorway that will remain invisible until you step across its threshold of faith. Many have stalled at this point in their journey because they demanded to see the doorway before they were willing to step forward.

What you need to see is not visible in this realm of natural options and solutions. Seeing with natural eyes will only cause you to stumble and stall. The way forward will appear like a step into nothing, but it will become a step into something wild and beautiful.

As you step forward, you will be responding to a voice. Listen for the voice – this is your doorway. The one who said, “I am the door” is the voice inviting you to step forward. Once you cross this threshold an enter this doorway you will see what was not previously visible in your current circumstances.

In Christ
Debra Westbrook

Debra and ChloeRivers of Eden Ministry is called to challenge people to live a prophetic life of creativity, revelation and intimacy in Christ. Marvin and I look forward to hearing from you, allowing us the opportunity to minister in the grace and love of Christ in your gathering, church, home group or conference.  Currently we are planning a trip to Kenya in August in which we are looking forward to establishing new relationships with leaders for a Kingdom purpose. Contact us on Facebook or Twitter for more information if you would like us to minister in grace and glory. If you even want to donate to this ministry, here’s the Rivers of Eden link.