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Margaret Wills  

Pressing into Thin Places...Encouragement for the Heart Blog
by Margaret Harrell Wills, EdD

Welcome to my blog and its initial posting. I look forward to sharing with you some of my thoughts, stories, teachings, poetry, and personal experiences. The central purpose is to encourage your heart and mind toward God in daily living by pointing to the importance of faith in our personal life. It has been said without faith man needs something to sustain him. Within the matrix of faith in God, I believe the Truth, Wisdom, and Hope found in the Bible guides and nourishes us through the twists and turns of daily life.

Life is neither simple nor easy, but we can cling to and depend on our faith in times of trials or when burdens are heavy. Faith also gives us a sense of gratitude as we rest, praise, laugh, and worship within the joys of life and the marvels of creation.

I hope your walk through the words of this blog will provide encouragement and a reason to press close to the source of our peace and to discover the “thin places” that allow us to glimpse another truth—that there is a world beyond this fallen one that our eyes can see. I encourage you to share with me your experiences of thin places as you read this blog or my book, Pressing into Thin Places: Encouraging the Heart Toward God.

Moving Forward

I once listened to a young man who was discouraged. He lamented the fact that he was stuck in behaviors that did not benefit him and stuck with choices that did not help him move on a forward path. He said he wanted to do what he knew he should, but lacked the will. It was like he was flying solo, on autopilot—in the wrong direction.

He was happier, he said, when he was reading the Bible, but lately he had not been doing much of that. Then he said, “I thought all you had to do was ‘believe.’” I said, “Yes, you must have faith. You must believe. But change and spiritual transformation is something you and God do together. God respects your ability to choose Him freely. He will not zap you into behavioral changes with the wave of a white-tipped wand like a magician. Spiritual change is a choice and a process. It is a daily journey. You need to trust that God works for your good. You will be given Grace to empower you.”

I told him that Satan didn’t want him to read his Bible. “In fact,” I said, “if Satan sat down in a chair and told you his goal for your life, he would say his intention is to steal from you and destroy you.” Without blinking an eye, my young friend said, “No, he wouldn’t. He’s a liar.”

I had to back up. He was right. Satan lies to us. Although his goal is to do us harm, he is too crafty, too clever to tell us the truth. He deals in deception. He distorts everything that is good and beautiful. He tells us that God would cause us to give up too much, or that we will never be any different, or that we are not good enough. He never tells us that God’s plan for us is abundant life, peace, and joy. It is Jesus who tells the truth. Yes, Jesus tells us that Satan is a liar and a thief, a tempter and destroyer. Jesus came to fulfill our joy, our talent, and our potential. Jesus is the truth-teller. I do not believe the issue is in our inability to do what we think we should or should not do. I believe we can. But I think we must start from two foundational truths: God loves us and God is good. If these two things are true (and they are) we have much to gain by following Him.

To get unstuck, we have to move forward . . . do some things different, make some changes, even if they are baby-step changes. I have every confidence that God will nudge us along the way and we will not be left clueless. God’s plan for all of us is that we go through the process of spiritual transformation. This comes from the Word, the Holy Spirit, and our obedience. It comes from Faith and Grace.

When I say process, I mean time. For example, when I go to the beauty salon and get color on my hair, the color has to process. It does not immediately change color. It takes time. This is how it is with us. Change is a process. Apart from the process of obedience, we drift and are carried by the winds of other voices or how we feel at the moment. A strange thing happens when we drift without spiritual or personal direction or without a plan. We are in control of our life but our life seems out of control. We can feel overwhelmed and unsure of ourselves. But be assured, God knows who we are and how we are. He will lovingly take us right where we are and move us forward.

We all get stuck from time to time—stuck in grief, discouragement, or emotional pain. Maybe we are in a ditch of wrong choices, bad habits, or failing relationships. Many times we dig in or let our wheels spin. God always respects our free will—our ability to choose our own path. In other words, he respects our choice to fly solo and set our own course. But he wants us to turn off our autopilot and ask him to fly with us. Believe me, we won’t crash. He will carry us on the wings of hope. We will get unstuck and off of the ground. God loves us and God is good. As we partner with Him, He will move us forward.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

John 10:10 NLT

Forget the former things;

do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!

Isaiah 43:18–19 NIV

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