“Pushed to the wall, I called to God; from the wide open spaces, he answered. God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid – What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:5-6
God has been teaching me a lot lately about not compromising. When was the last time you felt “pushed to the wall”? Maybe it was a boyfriend or girlfriend pushing you farther than you wanted to go…you feel like your voice is caught in your throat – saying no sounds so dumb. Maybe it’s the coaches, teachers, and adults in your life filling up your calendar until you have no space to breathe. You can’t imagine not doing what you’re asked. Or maybe it’s your friends – the most important people in your world – saying things about you that just aren’t true. After all this time, how can they still not get you? You feel the pressure to do something to make them understand who you really are.
I know how you feel. In cases like these, you just want to cave. You honestly feel pushed up against that wall with no way out. I want to suggest a new plan: ask God to push over the wall.
For real. Check out the Psalm above. The author is pushed against the wall, he calls to God, and God answers him from WIDE OPEN SPACES. God makes him fearless — he’s no longer trapped in people-pleasing. He’s free.
Here’s a practical example that happened to me this week. To give you a little background: God has had me in training against compromising. Every morning Jesus & I do planks (the exercise kind, where you hold your body up using your core strength) and I pray this prayer: “I will be stubborn. I will speak out. I will say yes, I will say no. I will not compromise.”
I’m a children’s pastor, and I’m also an artist. The problem is — the last time I played a show on a Saturday night, I was so tired that I just wasn’t all I could be at kids church the next Sunday morning. I believed the Lord was leading me to make a new boundary: No more shows on Saturday nights, for the sake of the kids at my church. So, one particular place I recently played asked me to come back again on a Saturday night, and I said no. My booking agent said, “Are you sure? Just one more Saturday? They only have music on Saturday nights. They really want you to come back.” I felt the familiar pressure to people-please, but I remembered those planks and said no thank you! I prayed and said, “Lord, if you want me to play at this place, you can open up another door.”
And what do you know? God pushed down the wall. I got a phone call a few days later saying they’d like to have me on a Friday night –their first time doing music on a Friday. My booking agent was surprised but I just smiled. God is cool.
What’s your wall? The need for someone’s approval? Ask God to knock it down. The need to prove yourself? Are you sure you really have to do that? Ask God to knock it down. Feeling like you have to say yes? Maybe there’s another way…maybe God has another plan. Call to him. Let him lead you into wide open spaces.
Say yes. Say no. Be stubborn. Speak out. And don’t compromise.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:10
Kelly Goddard is a kids pastor/singer/songwriter/speaker living in Philly and working in NYC. She was also a counselor/teacher/pirate plank jumper at Delanco last summer. Hang out with her online at www.kellygoddard.com.