Rachel Jenae

Just Follow

Growing up I was never a very good follower. Ask my younger brother who sat under my dominate rule for many of his young years, until he realized he didn’t have to. Or ask my elementary friends who knew it was my way or the highway. Or ask my high school basketball team where I spouted off way too often to the coach and got us into trouble. No, I was never a very good follower growing up. In some regards I’m sure my parents knew being such a dominate leader would prove one day to be a good quality, but for the most part they knew it would wreak havoc until my independence was rightly submitted and my heart fully trusting.

In many of these situations I was simply sure I was right. I knew the right way, the right answer, the right anything. I was sure everyone else was in need of me not staying silent. I knew too many people who didn’t speak up and I felt it was my purpose in life to save people from themselves and their flaws. The flaws they couldn’t see, but everyone else was too scared to voice to them. Not me though. I wasn’t scared or intimidated by anyone, or so I convinced myself. I knew my “wise” insight would save them from many more flaws and…annoying anyone else.

Sure I knew it lacked in presentation and compassion, at least a little, and it wasn’t that I thought I was perfect, it was my “do unto others as you would have them do to you” routine. I didn’t want anyone pretending with me and the perfectionist striving in me knew the only way to perfect myself was to see what I couldn’t see in me–so I concluded this is exactly what I would want done to me, so why wouldn’t others welcome it as well. It was for their good.

Years of this thinking proved me completely wrong. Countless hearts wounded in my path, friendships hurting and most of all my heart was a walled up prison. But the best part, my favorite part, is that my heart was met with amazing grace. My independent attitude and life was confronted by a God who knew exactly what I needed and how I personally needed to walk through the process of learning to be a follower. Confronting my pride, my arrogance, my control, my perfectionism. He showed me how to have patience. How to give compassion and grace more than judgement. And ultimately how to know a love that let all of those things go, because someone had already paid a price for them. That was the love He knew I needed to get a glimpse of.

It’s been 12 years since God began that process. Well at least since I became aware of it. And only in the last two years did I come to an understanding of the great joy in simply following Him. Not helping Him. Not trying to figure life out and control it. Not perfecting myself or others around me. No. Simply following where He leads. That’s where I found my sweet spot.

I’ve barely been in this spot a second and I’ve realized I never want to leave. This place of unmerited favor, uninterrupted grace, abundant joy and peace… oh the peace! I don’t share this lightly, but rather from a place of complete awh. Awh that it was discovered by accident, as life often seems on our part. I can still remember when God whispered it into my spirit two and half years ago. I was getting ready to move out of my apartment and knew God had told me my roommate would be making other plans and that was for her best. I didn’t know where I was going to live and how I was going to afford it.

Then it came. “Just follow where I lead.”

It was the picture of all great dances led by confident men who step up not afraid to lead. Taking my hand asking me to trust Him-all of the ebbs and flows that would follow, in all of the unknown, in all of my uncertainty to even dance at His level-He was asking me to simply follow His lead.

With a playful smirk and a slight head turn, I slowly took His hand and consented. He smiled back and the dance began.

Two and half years later I can look back and see so many times when I wanted to retreat. I wanted to figure things out again and help Him lead. Like when I felt Him leading me to leave my nestled community that I’d been with for five years and follow Him into the unknown. Or when I was released from my job last fall and he twirled me into a completely different pace of life and foreign situation all to take complete care of me and provide. Or when I spent the first three weeks of this year praying about what God would have me do next for a job and watching Him open a door I never could have opened on my own.

The dance He leads us in, only He knows the music to. He knows the timing, the rhythm, the pace. It’s in our willingness to be putty in His hands that the dance becomes a beautiful display for all who are watching. The phrase, “she dances with such grace” makes perfect sense here. And we all recognize women who are trying to lead. They’re usually stiff, rigid, overly-opinionated, dominating and latched to a man that they created who is weak and serving their every whim. Now picture that man as God. He can’t be that…EVER! So that woman will continue dancing with a self-created idea of a god that she can control and manipulate. She’ll spend her life striving to fix something she can’t grasp because everything is out of order.

The greatest place of authority that a woman can ever be in, is when she is rightly submitted to her authority. It’s there she is safe, protected and in divine favor. Her striving for all that she thinks she should be or wants to be, because she’s compared herself to every other woman in the world, will only keep her circling the same mountain until she wearies of her self imposed ideas of a “godly” life. When she finally gives up, finally lays down her manipulating, her false motives, her agenda and rests in simply following her Father, as His daughter…she’s finally stepped into the most beautiful dance.