Give Now

Chalk-Line Faith

November 26, 2018
“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” Proverbs 16:1 (ESV)
Pinterest Image

A few years ago, I was praying for a close friend. She had made choices that created a personal crisis. It had the power to destroy almost everything she cared about. As I prayed for her, I asked, “Lord, what can I do?” Though I was asking God for help, I was already on task.

I would offer wisdom. I would be her accountability partner. I would give encouragement to support her through the hard days ahead. I would help her navigate this crisis.

As I prayed, however, the answer tumbling into my heart was not what I expected.

This is not your assignment.

This was surprising. It seemed right to offer words of wisdom or help her make a plan. It seemed best to help her take the next step.

But that’s not what God was asking of me in this situation. As the weeks passed, I started seeing this journey with my friend as “chalk-line faith.” It was like God had drawn a chalk line around my feet. Everything within that chalk line was something I could do. I could pray. I could be present. I could love her.

Everything outside of that chalk line was either my friend’s assignment or God’s.

Years later, I’ve realized the power of chalk-line faith. It’s something God has brought to mind in other situations. It’s not easy, but I’ve learned from it.

In today’s key passage, we find a wise saying that helps us when we’re making plans, especially if those plans concern someone else.

Proverbs 16:1 says, "The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.”

My plan was to rescue my friend, because I loved her. Chalk-line faith recognized that God loves her even more than I do.

My plan was to offer words of wisdom, perhaps even a plethora of them. Chalk-line faith meant I held back my well-meaning words because the Lord may have had something different to say.

My plan, though I may not have admitted it, was to help fix the situation and soften the consequences. Chalk-line faith meant God wanted to do His work in her and for her to trust in Him as she did the hard work.

Chalk-line faith wasn’t easy in the beginning. There were multiple times words bubbled inside of me dying to get out, but each time, I imagined that chalk line.

One day she called and said, “Thanks for listening. I really appreciate all the words you spoke to me. They were so wise.”

I smiled at this. I had not given one piece of advice, and the words I did share contained no plans, no fix-its, but simply let her know I was praying and I loved her.

Instead, she and God were talking daily, and He was doing an incredible work in her heart. It wasn’t an easy or consequence-free path, but it was one that was changing her.

Proverbs 17:27a says, “A truly wise person uses few words” (NLT).

My friend was not the only one God was teaching through “chalk-line faith.” I was learning as well.

Wisdom is not found in our plans or our words. Wisdom is found in allowing God to have the first and final word.

Heavenly Father, my instinct is to rush in and make plans, especially if someone I care about has made mistakes. Remind me of that chalk line around my feet, Lord. Show me when I start to step outside of my assignment. Give me the courage to trust You and allow You to work in this person’s heart and life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” (NLT)


Cyber Monday is happening NOW! Get free shipping on orders over $50 in the U.S. and Canada. Click here to start shopping!

We may not always know what to do, but we are promised a Helper. Discover how the Holy Spirit leads us into truth and discernment in Suzie Eller’s book, The Spirit-Led Heart: Living a Life of Love and Faith Without Borders.


Join Suzie on her blog today, where she’s offering a fabulous giveaway. Or, connect with Suzie on Facebook.


We might equate chalk-line faith with not caring. That’s not true at all. Instead, this frees us to do our assignment well, rather than fail at what was never ours to carry.

Today, think of ways you can make a difference within your chalk line: Be present. Send a card saying you care. Listen, and then let them know you’ll pray.

What are some ways you can make a difference within your chalk line today? Be present. Send a card saying you care. Listen, and then let them know you’ll pray. Share your ideas in the comment section!

© 2018 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

Join the Conversation

Study Products

Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You

Do you remember what it was like to be in that "in-between" stage when you were transitioning from a child to a teenager? Maybe you remember feeling like you didn't measure up and would do just about anything to fit in. You probably found yourself wondering, "Where did my confidence…

Return to Refuge Experience Guide (Digital Version)

This is a digital product only. It will be automatically delivered to the email address provided at checkout. The Return to Refuge Digital Experience Guide serves as your companion book to the daily First 5 teaching. Once you receive the file on your computer, you'll be able to type directly…

Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads

What if there was a real-life invitation to a lifetime of unexpected destinations and adventure? What if your faith was the key? In her warm, conversational way, Proverbs 31 author Suzanne Eller shows how your faith is just that. How when you take a step away from the uncertainty, the…

Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures

In this six-session Bible study (DVD/digital video sold separately), author and Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Lynn Cowell explores how confidence-in-question keeps us from boldly experiencing what God intends for our lives. Dive into six stories in the Bible of not-so-well-known women who found themselves needing confidence to make their move,…


Time is almost up!

And we still need your help! We need 1,500 more donations to meet our 5,000 donations goal. Each One who donates will be equipped with resources to Reach One more woman with God's Truth!

We can't do this without you!


About Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ, with Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide.
Learn More

Support Proverbs 31 Ministries

In a day and time when the world is trying to quiet biblical truth, Proverbs 31 Ministries is determined to help women engage with God’s truth like never before through the resources we offer each day.
Give Now