How do you make decisions in your life? I think most of us would know what the ‘right’ answer is if we are in a relationship with God, or have some awareness of God. We would say we pray.
The hard part is….you can pray and even fervently pray and yet not really feel like you get a clear answer, an answer that you know for sure is from God.
How can you tell when God is speaking to you? It’s easy to conjure that kind of thing up and then wonder if it’s really God or if it’s just wishful thinking.
I think for many of us we probably live by the open door system. I’ve done it. A door opens, some type of opportunity and we assume that means we are to walk through. It’s an interesting philosophy. One that has taken me many places I probably would’ve never gone on my own. I have discovered though over time that just because a door opens does not guarantee that I should be walking through it. In fact, there are usually multiple doors that could be options…God gives me choices.
That’s a novel concept right there. You have choices. How many of you really feel like you have choices? I think far too many people don’t think they really do. They feel trapped in a situation with no way to get out for a variety of reasons and so they find that they live out life based on what is expected instead of by making deliberate choices. I’ve done this. I’ve felt the weight of the trap on my back. Expectations…realities…bills…conformity with the rest of the people.
One of the most profound things that I feel has been shown to me as I dreamed, thought about, approached and am now in my sabbatical is the reality that every one of us has choices. They may be hard to find…they may require a million tiny steps in a new direction, they make take time, they will most definitely require risk and stepping out in faith…but we all have choices.
If you were living in a third world country I would say your choices are far less. But even there, some choices can still be made. Definitely here in the U.S. we have choices. If we live in a way that we think we don’t…it just means that we’ve bought into a life that looks like everybody else and counts on money and security that I provide rather than what God will provide for me.
We made tradeoffs. We work our way up the ladder to get more money and security and in the end find that we are miserable and have greater health issues caused by the stress of living this way. We must decide what we really want our life to be about. We will make tradeoffs no matter what we do…we must decide which ones we are willing to make. No decision still equals a decision. Everyone makes tradeoffs.
The dad who is a workaholic to provide for his family finds that he misses out on time with his kids and they are all to fast grown up and gone.
That’s just one example but all of us no matter if we are stay at home or working are making tradeoffs. We just have to decide which ones are worth making.
Right now for me and my family…we’re trading money for freedom and time. Soon I will not be receiving my teaching income. I’m banking on the notion that us being free and having time together to be present with each other will be far more important to us than having the ‘right’ clothes, or a big house or a new car. Mine is six years old and I’m sure I won’t be getting a new one anytime soon. We are banking on the provision of God for security rather than a pension system. We are doing something that is very counter culture. Our nation is big about money, pension, security, more money, and insurance for everything and anything. We create our own cocoons that are supposed to take care of our every need.
The problem is that far too often in the process we lose our very soul. We give up on dreams and hopes and who God made us to be. Honestly, we stuff it down so much we don’t even remember who we are anymore anyway.
I realize this is a generalization and maybe you are perfectly happy in your job…if so…awesome! But I think there are many, many people out there who are living half hearted. They tell themselves they’re in the job their in even though it’s miserable to them, so they can provide good things for their family. I’m not sure that a lifetime of this way of living is good for anybody.
We must consider what really makes us come alive. And then find ways to do it. It might mean less money. It will surely mean less security. But if the tradeoff is that I passionately live out my life in pursuit of what I really feel alive doing…I think giving up some money and security might be a great tradeoff.
I’m still in the beginning stages of this whole thing so maybe what I’m saying doesn’t have much proof of actually working…but I’m willing to at least give it a try.
How do you make your decisions in life? Are there certain people that guide you, trusted mentors? Do you read the bible and hope that a verse will make it all clear? Quotes, song lyrics…not always reliable. A feeling…a chance encounter, a thought that runs through your mind. How do you know if God has really spoken to you? It might be different for each of us.
I think one way in which He speaks is that He gives us a sense of peace when we are on the right track. Not because everything is easy or perfect. That’s not what I mean. Following our passion and following God is not about ease or pain free living. But I think we will still have a sense of peace that overcomes the questions and doubts. A peace that lets us know that no matter what we see right now…we are on the right path, making tiny steps in the right direction.
When I lack peace…when I feel unrest in my soul I know something is wrong.
Are you at peace today? Again…peace does not mean…no problems. It just means that you know with confidence you are headed in the right direction regardless of the way things look.
We can bump along through life and just live our lives like balls in a pinball machine being thrust here and there and thinking we have no choice but to go. Or we can realize that’s not how God works. He has given us choice, hearts and souls, passions and dreams. We have the ability to make change in our lives and I believe that as we have the courage to go for it, to really be all we were made to be, He is already there waiting to meet us there and help us.