Putting My Foot Down

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;  I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. – Psalm 32:8 NIV

I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. – Psalm 3:5 ESV

 On the Fourth of July, I put my foot down.

“You aren’t doing any work outside today,” I told my husband, whom I affectionately refer to as “DH” – which stands for Dear Husband or his name, Dean Huey.

The weather had been hot and humid for days, and the Fourth was even more so. Dean works 11-hours days in a shop with no air conditioning. Evenings, Saturdays, and holidays are the only time he gets to do work around here. His vacation days are usually spent traveling, camping, or visiting our out-of-state children and their families.

This Independence Day he’d planned to mow our two acres of lawn, which usually takes more than two hours. Working in the garden and planting a flowering shrub were also on his to-do list. But when I took something to the camper and felt the oppressive heat, I put my foot down.

DH loves having projects to work on, and I held little hope he’d take my advice. Imagine my surprise when he did and spent the day on the back deck, just a few feet from the woods on the hillside behind the house, where it’s much cooler than anywhere else.

Unlike me, DH doesn’t spend hours in a book or magazine. I figured he’d get bored and head out in the heat to do something. But he didn’t. It seemed every time I looked at him, he was slumped in his chair, snoozing.

A well-deserved snooze

The Sunday before the Fourth we’d returned from a 10-day camping trip to Michigan, where we spent every day exploring the area. Mid-way through the vacation, I took a day to relax and read, but DH, camera in hand, headed for a hiking trail a few miles up the road.

The drive out and back took nearly 12 hours each way, for a total of 1,133 miles pulling a 33-foot, fifth-wheel camper. Our exploring took up 736 miles. DH drove every mile. We got home Sunday evening after 11 hours on the road and 570 miles of mostly interstate driving. Then Monday it was back to work for Dean for 11 hours. Monday evening he drove to Johnstown and back (another two and a half hours on the road) to pick up our son’s dog, which we were to doggie-sit for the week.

In between his snoozes on the Fourth, I joked that he was practicing for retirement. But as I put all the numbers together, I realized the poor man was plumb tuckered out. I was glad I put my foot down.

Sometimes the circumstances of life get unbearably hot and oppressive. Our first instinct is plow through, thinking we’re to persevere and persist. But that’s not always what’s best.

Sometimes we need to get out of the heat, step back, and get perspective. But if you’re like me, you’ll persist until you realize you’re repeatedly butting your head against a solid wall. Something’s got to give, and it isn’t going to be the wall.

That’s when God puts His foot down.

“You need to back off,” He tells us. “Give it a rest.”

Sometimes He simply needs us to get out of His way so He can work. Sometimes, like my husband, we need to rest our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Whatever the reason, when God puts His foot down, it will always be for the best.

Thank You, Lord, for putting Your foot down when I need redirection. Amen.

Read and meditate on Isaiah 40:29–31.

 © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

 

Moving On or Settling In?

My Presence will go with you. Exodus 33:14 (NIV)

Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. –Exodus 40:36–37 NASB

I’m a city girl born and raised, but a country girl at heart.

This truth was never more apparent than on our vacation this summer—not a rest-and-recharge vacation, but a “see as much as we can in the four weeks we have” vacation. We pulled our 29-foot fifth-wheel camper nearly 7,000 miles through 15 states. We rarely stayed more than one night anywhere. Most of the time we stayed at RV parks.

I learned there’s a difference between an RV park and a campground.

An RV park is where you park your RV. It has electric, water, and sewage hookups. It may have a fire ring (a place for a campfire), but it may not. It may have a picnic table, or it may not. You don’t have a campsite, you see— you have a parking space, and most often a gravel one. Not grass.

It’s not a place to set up and settle in. It’s a place to park your RV while you visit the sights or just spend the night between long stretches on the road.

A campground, on the other hand, is a place to settle in and relax. You have grass, trees, fire ring, and a picnic table on a site that isn’t merely a parking space.

Oh, you can probably guess which one we prefer.

But travelers need both, depending on the journey.

Isn’t that just like life?

Just as God guided the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land, God leads us through this wilderness we call life to our Promised Land—Heaven.

Sometimes He has us stay in one place for a while. Sometimes we want to settle in and stay there. But eventually we have to move on because that is not our destination. God has much more for us to see and experience. More than we could ever dream of.

Sometimes we don’t’ want to stay. We’re itching to get out of there and move on. But God says, “Not yet.” In His time—His perfect time—we will move on.

Other times He pushes us forward, mile after mile, day after day. But, remember, we travel on His timeline, His route, His map, His agenda.

He has a plan and purpose for our sojourn on earth that go far beyond what we can imagine –“far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20 TLB).

Although it wasn’t our style of vacation and the entire trip extended us beyond our comfort zone, we had a fabulous time. We experienced parts of the country we’d never before dreamed of visiting. We learned more history on that trip than we have our entire lives—history that will stick with us because we were there.

We are campground folks. We like the wide-open spaces, the slower paces. We like to settle in and explore the area.

And so we shall. We’d like to spend a week or so exploring Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And visit as many lighthouses as we can. (I’m a lighthouse freak.)

And I want to spend time in the Colorado Rockies and see the sights on horseback.

Dreams don’t die as we grow older. Instead, they grow bigger and better.

And they challenge us to step out of our comfort zones, push aside the fears that hold us back, and live to the fullest the life God has given us—whether we’re moving on or settled in.

Thank You, Father, for both the moving on times and the settling in times. Thank You that You have a purpose for each one. Amen.

Read and meditate on Exodus 13:21; 40:36–37

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.