In recent months I’ve had a couple of big decisions to make about things, and right now I’m seeking guidance again about whether I should do some part time study, and if so, what?
So I thought I’d chronicle what God has been teaching me about decision making and seeking his guidance.
(My one rule on this blog is that I must always write about what God is teaching me personally, and I sense that this will be one of those posts that I revisit regularly to remind myself, when the next decision comes along!)
1. It’s not easy and there are no short cuts. I’ve had to put aside extra time to pray, and think, research and plan, when part of me would really like God to write the answer in the sky or hand it to me on a plate.
2. Resist impatience. I am quick to tire of waiting on God and praying consistently and faithfully, but perceiving God’s will takes time! WAITING on God is a big theme in scripture, it trains our hearts to remember that he is God, not a divine genie!
3. The goal of seeking God’s guidance is me getting on board with his agenda, not recruiting him to mine!
4. Seeking guidance shouldn’t be passive. I need to think, get advice from people who know me, spend time in prayer and God’s word (Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105), ask good questions, and ‘push doors’.
5. God may answer in ‘spiritual’ or practical ways. Or a combination of both, sometimes by providing a clear opportunity, or a change in circumstances, or through a bible passage that seems to speak to me directly.
6. Sometimes any godly decision is the right decision. We can obsess over making the perfect decision, but if after prayer and waiting, research and ‘door-pushing’ I don’t receive any clear answers, I do what seems wisest, and ask God to bless it or show me an alternative way.
7. Sometimes God guides specifically and we need to be ready to hear it. He knows when I’m going through the motions and have already set my own agenda! Or when I’m stubbornly ignoring what he’s calling me to do. Sometimes God does call us to a specific thing, and we need to make sure we are open to hear it and obey. If I’m seeking to glorify God but making the wrong decision, he is more than able to redirect me!
8. God doesn’t see things the way I do! “8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. ” Isaiah 55:8-9
“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
9. Submission is key. I’ve had to submit my will to him again and again. I want to be in the driver’s seat, and set the direction for my own life, but I laid it down at the cross a long time ago, and it’s a process I keep returning too. God won’t be manipulated or brow beaten, he will always do what is right and good.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
10. God does all things for my good. It can be really tough when you thought God was saying one thing, and then your circumstances dictate another – a rejection letter, a missed appointment, ill health. But even when I face disappointment, complexities, and problems, the Bible promises me that nothing is wasted or futile. Romans 8:28-29, and 31-32 says 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Even when things don’t go as I hoped, or God’s answers aren’t the ones I wanted, I can be confident that God who gave his son up to death for me, will keep on doing me good!
I’m still trying to learn many of these lessons, and I’m thankful for those that have been taught to me by godly friends and mentors. (Special mention goes to my wise and patient parents, who remind me of them often!)
We serve a God who is wise, gracious, and abundantly kind to sinners, he calls us to come to him for help and guidance, and he promises to answer. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5-6