This week I spoke with three people unsure over the direction to take in their lives. Each story was different but boiled down to “What should I do?”
Some decisions are weightier because once we commit, it will take time or money to undo them. A move across the country can be reversed, but it will take a bite out of your pocketbook. A volunteer commitment determines where you’ll spend your time in the coming year. How do we make wise choices?
Some of us would like God to give us exact directions like a GPS. “Turn right in 500 feet. You have reached your destination.” But God gave us a compass instead of a GPS.
I’m directionally challenged and can’t explain how to use a compass for physical navigation. But I know a compass always points north. So if you know the direction you are supposed to go you can use your compass to get there.
Paul’s desire was to please God, (2 Cor. 5:9). God has provided a compass for those who share Paul’s goal.
The Holy Spirit always points to Jesus. The Word reveals Jesus. Together these form a sure compass for life. Ironically, following this spiritual compass also makes the practical issues of life line up.
I asked my daughter what that looks like for her. She gave me two examples she’s given me permission to share with you.
When her year in Switzerland was coming to an end, Ginny had to let her employer know if she would stay another year or not. She prayed for wisdom but didn’t sense an answer. She continued to tell God she wanted His will and trusted Him to show her.
One day she set out for a walk and felt a change of season in the air. In that instant she knew it was time for a new season in her life too. She returned to the USA.
Another time she had to let a Bible study know if she would accept their invitation to be a leader. It was a yearlong commitment. Their predawn leaders’ meetings gave my night owl pause.
One morning she woke up at the time she’d have to get up for the leaders’ meetings if she joined. She opened her Bible and read “Wake up.” She sensed God telling her to accept.
Shortly after she joined the group, they changed their decades old history and moved their meetings to evenings. Only the Lord knew that would happen!
If we make it our ambition to please God, we can be sure He will guide us on how best to do that. And God has so designed us that when we please Him we are pleased.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you think seeking to please God has practical benefits? You can comment here.
Deborah W. Wilson
Compass photo by: Reuel Mark Delez
Flower photo by: USFWSmidwest
pat waggoner says
Debbie thanks for sharing Ginny’s experiences. So great to see a daughter following in her parents footsteps….but in fact that is what all of us do when we follow our Father’s footsteps.
Thanks, Pat. When we follow the same Father we walk together. That is wonderful indeed! I forgot to add how much she has loved being a part of her Bible study group. It was the best decision for her.
Keita Ikeda says
One minor objection – using the bible as a Ouija board is not a christian method of seeking God. Flipping it open and it happened to fall on this or that, is superstition. God was intentional in conveying his thoughts. With that said, I will meter my criticism by saying I am not discounting all providence – God may have providentially provided that verse for you.
What I would like to see is Christians be intentional because He is intentional.
1) Know what humans have been created for – That is, to love God, and to be loved by God, and to love, and to be loved by fellow man (Gen 2: We are created in His image, and we’ve been commanded to… Matt 22)
2) God gave you your passions (what you like, what you dislike, what makes you piping mad, etc)
3) God gave you your talents (you’re good at writing, articulating opinions, math, analytics, etc)
4) God gave you the opportunities (providence – perhaps a job opening, etc)
5) God gave you the resources ($ to buy a ticket to USA, etc).
So it would be wise to consider all these factors in order to make your decision. One thing that is a negative (in my experience) is nostalgia and emotions that may get in the way of proper decision making.
So praying for a GPS like guidance may be moot, as He may have already answered your prayer according to the five points above.
Keita, If that is the only time or way you read the Bible, then certainly you are missing a bigger picture of God and His ways. In the two examples concerning my daughter, either decision (to stay another year or return home, to join this study or another one) would have passed your five considerations. She knows God’s voice and recognized His peace. God knows how to lead those who seek Him. For Ginny that included waking her up in the middle of her sleep and prompting her to open her Bible. How do you choose between two good options?
Earle Finley says
Encouraging thoughts. I can certainly relate. Loved the examples from your daughter’s Ginny’s life.
Love you and Larry,
Ann Musico says
” when we please Him we are pleased.” That speaks volumes! I believe it all boils down to intention and motives of the heart. If our desire is to please Him, our intentions line up with His and we find pleasure and peace. A definite win-win! I appreciated what your shared from your daughter’s experiences. Being open to the Spirit is important.