So, I’ve been one to set out on my own, making decisions without asking my Heavenly Father’s opinion. Many things I’ve done or ventured towards I can honestly say I didn’t earnestly seek the Lord’s heart and will on it, how He wants things done. I’ve even forged forward without seeking God’s heart because I wanted to do my thing, afraid He might have other thoughts and plans...that sounded more like a “no” to me than my “yes”.
It’s done with a heart of arrogant independence; it’s done with a lack of respect toward the One in authority over me – my Lord, Master. It’s rude. Presumptuous, as if I knew what was best for me. I’m very well aware of this, and I’m repentant. I’ve made it my determination not to do that anymore. I’ve confessed my independent attitude, and told God I want to rest, trust, wait on Him, and just walk into the next thing that He has for me. This takes decision making out of my hands.
But as I go along, I find that I have to make decisions. And when I do make decisions that ‘feel’ God-led that eventually get turned upside down, I feel guilty like I did something wrong, or struck out on my own out of my own self-serving motives. Then I feel bad because I can’t do it right, or I can’t hear His voice correctly. So now I can’t trust myself, and it makes me frozen.
There’s a particular scripture that has had me running scared in the past. It’s Isaiah 30. Verses 1 & 2 say, “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the LORD, “who carry out a plan but not Mine, and who make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin, who set out to go to Egypt without asking for My direction.” Now, given my history of independent decision making, I was so afraid to make the wrong one. At every turn I was afraid that I was disappointing God. And honestly, the reason I was so needing to “not disappoint God” was not so much because I wanted to be obedient, but more because I was so needing His help and wanted to stay in His good graces - so that he’d help me. I figured that the more I was able to be a “good girl” the more He’d be inclined to help. He was then, in my mind, a transactional God. Yep, I’m just being honest. I was desperate.
Last year, I had to make a pretty big life decision about selling my house...the first time. I prayed and asked God for His leading in it. I didn’t really hear a definite answer from Him, but I took a step of faith. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Or are you supposed to stay there on your knees in faith until you get the answer?
I had been reading books about hearing from God in decision making; people who would travail for hours just to hear His voice on a subject matter, not moving until they did. And, apparently, they always did. It is possible that I truly can’t discern the will of God? Is it true I can’t “hear” Him? Or is it with full faith that I step out, not seeing what the future holds? Which formula is the right one this time?
But, I felt like He was affirming His approval by providing amazing provisions for moving into a rent-house. That was the one thing I didn’t have settled was where I was going to move after I sold my house. It’s the one component that sent anxiety right up my spine each time I thought about it. But, He made a provision that was perfect and I thought that was His “yes,” so I moved forward. I was at such peace and in awe of His activity in the provisions. It was so specific.
A few months after the house was on the market I received a contract. It was a contingency, but I took it anyway. Then the buyer’s contract fell through on their house, and they pulled out of my contract. Frustrated with it all, I was asking God to please speak loudly to me and tell me what I was supposed to do. At that very time, I was driving down the highway and saw a marquee for our local event center. All that was on the sign was the word STAY in big letters. Now, I’m not one to go looking for a sign to see if God is speaking to me, but there it was. And I had to ask, “Are you telling me to stay in my house and not sell it, God?” Seriously, I was desperate to know what He wanted me to do. Because, you know, I needed to be doing the right thing so as to please Him.
A few days later I received some funds that I wasn’t expecting, and I felt like I didn’t want to sell the house & this was a perfect provisions for staying. But, I mean, who knows at this point, right? Again, I asked God but didn’t hear anything. Silence once more. Crickets – as a friend just said to me the other day as she’s been seeking the Lord on something.
So then, I looked at it from a financial standpoint, crunched some numbers, and decided to take the house off the market. Once I did, I immediately got confirmation from 2 people that I trust, that said they felt like it was the right decision to stay in my home. That they didn’t think I was supposed to sell in the first place. “Too soon” they said. So, again, I thought the confirmation was His “yes.” But was it really a “no”?
So, which was it? Did He want me to sell my house or stay in it? Because the provisions He provided to get me to the next step after selling my home felt like confirmation of His “yes”. But so did the unexpected funds that would allow me to stay in my home. Did He change His mind? No – I believe I’ve come to understand that (and here’s the exciting part!) He doesn’t care whether I sell my house or not. Really! Not that He doesn’t care about the details of my life. But in both confirmations, He was showing me that whether I chose to sell or to stay…whatever I chose to do…He would make provisions, because He’s a good Father.
Immediately I was bombarded with words of wisdom from people I trusted and theologians. And Psalm 46:5 confirms my discovery: “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved. God will help her when morning dawns.” Did you hear that? God is in the midst of her! That is, the fullness of the God-head is in her inner parts, the seat of thoughts and emotions. That’s it! The decisions I make while my purposed determination is to be one with Him are decisions made with Him. He is directing my thoughts and intentions. My desire is to be making right decisions with holiness, fully pleasing to the Lord. He knows that! And He’s in the decision-making process, even if I’m not fully aware of it.
But there’s even more. As I read Psalm 139 again the words show me that He is always with me, no matter where I go. Now, this wasn’t new news to me, but it had new meaning today. “If I go…If I ascend…If I take…You are there. Even there Your hand shall lead me, Your right hand shall hold me” That is Psalm 139 and I highly recommend you chew on that a while. These verses are a promise that even if I step out on my own, or make the wrong decision, He comes with me – whether I’m aware of His presence or not. Even there He’s there to lead me and speak truth to me. Isaiah 30:21 reminds us that when we turn to the right or to the left, then our ears shall hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” This is so exciting to me because it’s God’s invitation to step out…take a step, and then He’ll direct you from there. Nothing can separate us. We are one. I see Him now everywhere! In everything! In the little conversations with friends, and in the voices placed in my life to call out greatness in me…even when I can’t see it for myself. Even there. He is always speaking, always leading.
And then here was the revelation that pushed me into a rest that I’ve never known before: There are some decisions that God just doesn’t have a hard and fast opinion on. Case in point, selling my house. Basically, in the end, I found Him saying to my heart, “Tricia, if you decide to sell your house, I’ll make astounding provisions for you to do so. If you decide not to sell, I’ll make other astounding provisions for you there, too.” Wow!
John Piper says, “Decisions like whom to marry or what house to buy or what job to take or whether to buy this shirt or that shirt – in every decision – if you are acting in a biblical, holy way, God is pleased. That’s a wonderfully liberating thing - that God is more concerned with your holiness in the decision than the decision itself.” End quote
Is it necessary to travail much in prayer to hear His voice on a decision? Are those people I’ve been reading about making it too difficult, when sometimes He just isn’t as interested in the particular decision as He is about the heart of the decision-maker?
I so believe this is true. For me, I believe that the silence of God was His indication that He wanted me to make the decision about the house, and then He’d make provisions either way. I’m not sure this is always true about every decision, which is why I believe seeking God’s counsel is vitally important. But I’m specifically addressing the silence of God when asking for His opinion on a decision.
As I look back at the admonition from God in Isaiah 30, I was afraid that making a decision without hearing His specific direction would disappoint Him and keep Him from helping me when I needed it the most. But here is a very important part of the equation that was missing. I did not consider the union I had with Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
As a Christian, you, me, we have been unified with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are one. I am in Christ, and He is in me. I’ve given my life over to Him for His will and use. He knows that it’s my desire to please Him and to serve Him for His kingdom purposes. I’ve told Him on multiple occasions. He knows my heart. So, we are not only unified in Spirit, but in purpose. And with this unity, this oneness, I have the confidence to go…step out…turn…make decisions. I can be assured that we are moving out together with purpose – my desire to serve Him, and His delight to lead me in that way.
No longer do I have to get freaked out or worry that like a “stubborn child” I’ve set out to “go to Egypt without asking for direction”, or that I’m making plans without Him in mind.
This is not me that Isaiah is speaking about. Quite the opposite, and God knows it.
So, here is the faith-rest that’s found in moving in relationship with Him.
There’s so much more grace in a relationship with God than I was giving Him credit for. So much graciousness. It’s not hard to walk with Him. It’s me that is so uptight and structured. He is easy, relaxed with me.
In the book The Practice of the Presence of God Brother Lawrence says, “He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for His graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you…”
Wow, Is it possible that a relationship with God is that easy? That uncomplicated? I’ve added so much legalism to the work of the cross. Brother Lawrence ended his thought by saying, “One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us that we think.”
So, friend, are you asking God for or about something and just hearing crickets? I hope this gives you freedom to move forward. Trust the mind, the intellect, He’s given you. Trust the relationship. Trust His perfect character. Trust that He’s not a transactional God, but One who loves His children relentlessly and faithfully…even when we are not. And trust that as you step out in faith and in confidence in your relationship, that He’s with you, showing you where to turn to the left or to the right. It’s just that easy.
Friend, you’ve got this!