In the last blogpost, I talked about the process of writing. That post in itself has made me think about life and how often we take shortcuts when we are discerning God’s will for our lives…(If you haven’t read the last post, have a quick look now, it will make the later part of this post make a lot more sense!)
As I am growing in my relationship with God, I am learning how to discern His leading more and more. And as I do, I keep asking, how can I go even deeper? How can I know what He wants me to do all the time and not just guess?
One of the things I have learned in the last few years is about patience and not making decisions under pressure. There are few times since we moved to Peru five years ago when we have needed to make a rushed decision. In fact, only one sticks out in my mind - that of moving out of our rented house and buying a new one. It all happened in 13 days from idea conception to moving in, and God clearly guided the way. He gave us hints, Bible passages, visions, total financial provision where there had been none, opened doors and miraculous happenings as confirmation that it was all Him.
Other decisions we have to make are not so clear cut.
Take travelling for example. I always find it incredibly difficult to book flights because I never know when the right moment to book and the exact dates we should book. Mark is hoping to travel to the jungle every month next year, and we need to decide when he should travel on each trip. Sometimes, perhaps it doesn’t matter, but on other occasions, it will. Do we book earlier to get potentially cheaper prices, or do we wait?
What about logic? Of course, we can look at the calendar over the next year and look at key dates to avoid, we can see when it is most difficult for Mark to be away (over weekends), etc. But ultimately there are things we can’t foresee. And, yes, I know there is grace for that, but I don’t want to just be limited to logic and grace! I want to live by relationship! Principles – trying to do the right thing, are good, but can become religious. Relationship leads to life (and most definitely, an adventure!)
Bill Johnson says: “If you live by a principle, you will be right a lot. If you live by the presence, you can be right all the time”.
I want to be right all the time! (And yes, not just because I was one of those kids at school who always wanted to be right, but because I actually want to have a relationship with God where I know His heart!)
This week Mark and I discussed visiting a jungle town I would love to visit again in January. We both love the idea and had provisionally agreed to the idea with one another over the phone. I then lay on the bed and started pondering the details of the trip and a voice came into my mind: ‘Have you actually asked Me if I want you to go on that trip? Have you asked My opinion?’.
And no, we hadn’t. What do you think? I asked, boldly. It’s not my idea. Came the response.
Good idea? Maybe. God idea? Nope.
And so I was reminded just how important it is for us to take time to ask God His opinion. (Didn’t the Israelites suffer from presumption too?) And for us to actively seek God’s will in our prayers. To spend time (note the word ‘time’ here, not ‘a moment’) wrestling, thinking about, discussing, praying, and seeking confirmation for an idea.
And so here is where the relationship to the last post comes in – how often do we include God in making our decisions? How often do we specifically acknowledge thinking and praying time (and actively engage in it) before we ‘write’ the plan? Or do we just do our research and then begin writing?
And God is reminding me too, that it isn’t my responsibility to find our His will – it’s His responsibility to show me. My responsibility is to seek Him. And to leave anxiety to one side.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Other blogposts on discerning God's will:
On enjoying the journey:
2. When I can't feel Him (Stop being a baby!)