I war with myself over this business, more times than I would like to admit. I desperately want for it to be a blessing to my family and to all of you. So, I pray and pray and pray asking for God’s direction and His desire. And yet much of the time He is silent. Allowing me to move in a direction that I feel Him leading. Allowing me the opportunity to trust in His goodness, whether or not that direction leads to what I would deem a failure.
But I don’t like failure. And a good portion of 2013 was an enormous failure. In my mind at least. And I want to avoid that at all cost.
So I pray. And pray. And pray some more.
Asking for clarity and courage and vision and focus and creativity.
Ultimately though, what I’m praying for, what I am asking God to do, is to help me avoid failure and pain. I wrongly think that if God were to speak audibly to me, making known to me the next steps He wants me to take I would be secure (or my silly definition of it), I would be able to avoid pain and failure. I would be able to make my definition of success happen.
I imagine we all do this to some degree, we beg God to show us His will, what job does He want us to take, what career to pursue, what college should I go to, is this the guy I should marry, when do I start a family? I’m afraid though, we are asking those questions for the wrong reasons. Somewhere along the way we began to associate God’s will with a path that held no pain or suffering or mistakes. So we ask those questions out of fear of making the ‘wrong’ decision and from a heart that does not fully trust in the goodness and sovereignty of God.
In God’s amazing power and goodness and sovereignty He already knows the answer to those questions. And yet He gives us the freedom to move, to make decisions, to go in a direction. And we trust Him. We trust that He will close the doors He doesn’t have for us. And we trust that He is good and for our good. Even if that means He allows pain, suffering, hurt and even failure. None of those things in of themselves are indicators that we are not in God’s will. (In Philippians, for just one example, we see that suffering is in fact a gift, not something to be seen as an indicator of being out of God’s will.)
So, what does that mean practically? What do I do with the constant barrage of questions going through my head?
It means that we pursue Jesus, we pray to Him, asking for wisdom, discernment and for a heart that is spirit-filled. We read His Word, we seek community in the church (not an organization but people, followers of Christ), we seek out accountability (trusted followers of Christ that will help us see our blind spots), and then we move. We make a decision and go in that direction until God says no.
As a side note, it is always God’s will for you to seek obedience and that applies to mandates in the Bible such as sharing the Gospel or baptism or being a part of community or committing to your local church or giving or serving… those are areas of your life that you don’t need to even pray for God’s will in that situation. Yes, you should be baptized. Yes, you should be committed to a local gospel-centered, Bible teaching church. Yes, you should be giving of your time, talents and resources. If the Bible says yes, then it’s a yes. Likewise, what God reveals through His Word as sin, is sin and it is never God’s will for you to sin. If you need clarification on that I would love to help, just send me a note!
I am so blessed to have been discipled by amazing Bible teachers over the years who taught me such great truths about God. I am blessed to know what the Bible says about who God is and His character and even about knowing what the will of God is and yet I forget. I completely forget and lose focus and allow that internal struggle to completely consume and divide me… keeping me from the work He has created me to do.
As Asher and Adelee were eating lunch yesterday, Asher pulled one of our memory verse cards off the table and asked me to read it.
God is so gracious to spell it out for me when I so often forget.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
‘… this is the will of God.’ He could not have said it any more plainly. Oh what a gift God has given, that He would pursue our hearts with such grace and mercy. God’s will is for me to rejoice in Him and the salvation He has graciously poured out. To pray continuously, and not just for those questions I want answered but for a heart of repentance, a heart that is spirit-filled, for those around me, my husband, children, friends and neighbors who are far from Him. To give Him thanks for the place, season and circumstance I am in and to remember it is for my good.
When I saw the passage Asher was asking me to read I literally laughed. What a beautiful reminder that God not only controls and rules over the vast universe but He is in our midst, working in the smallest of ways. Trust Him friends. Trust that He is working. Trust that He is good. Trust that He is for your good.