How do I know?

Isaiah 55:9– “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Exodus 33:13-15–Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”
And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.

I had been thinking earlier today about God’s timing.  You know what I mean, how His timing is different than ours, how I want to be sure to do the things He wants from me when He wants me to do them, and how to tell when it is His timing and not mine.  I think I mentioned before how I want to start a MOPS group at my church and I have been seeking a lot of advice from others in order to determine how and when to get it going.  I even posted this verse as my Facebook status: 2 Peter 3:8–But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

So, that was the context of this discussion I was having with God about His timing.  Should I follow this person’s advice and get it going soon, trusting You to provide the leadership resources later?  Should I count the cost and wait until I have all of the leaders I need before starting?  Should I start it now in a different way and wait to see what direction You want to take it?  Is this just my idea, or are You in it?  How do I determine which doors that You open are the ones that I should walk through?  Is it possible that there is more than one way to approach this?  Am I hesitating, or am I waiting on You?  If Your ways are that much higher than mine, how can I ever really know and understand Your will?

All of these things were running through my head when another door opened right in front of me (I don’t want to get into the details right now).  This was a big one, too, that I couldn’t ignore.  So, here I am, standing in front of too many open doors to count and wondering if it is possible to walk through more than one.  Or, alternatively, maybe I can go through this one now and then come back and go through a different one later?  Can I clone myself and do more than one of these options?  Maybe there’s somebody else that you have in mind.  Not choosing is a choice, right?

So, here’s the skinny: I need some godly advice.  How do you determine what God’s will is in your life; and, once you’ve determined that, how do you determine when it is God’s timing?

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisha
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 18:36:28

    Stacy,

    I have two thoughts:

    1) As a wife and a mom, the Lord’s will right now is for your ministry to be to your family. Your husband needs you to be mentally, emotionally, and physically present at home. Your children need you to be all there, too. (Ok…I chuckle as I write “all there” because some/most days I feel like I am not “all there!”) In the past 4 months, I have pretty much cut out all of the extra things I was doing at church and in the community because I have been convicted by God that I was not in His general will for me, which I found to be clearly outlined in Proverbs 31 and Titus 2. Even though I have a passion for working with teens and for ministering to broken/hurting women, He has gently reminded me that there will be a season for those things; right now He wants me to joyfully spend most of my time at home. My girls absorb a lot about what wifehood and motherhood is like by watching how I spend my time. It really affected me when I was making pie for them one day and Abby asked “who’s coming over? You always make pie when we have friends coming over!” and I realized that my girls have learned that mommy doesn’t make fun desserts for them, only for guests. :/ Of all the people on the planet who need fellowship and discipling, God has given me my husband and children to invest my time in now.

    2) I have found 1 Samuel 14 to be an example for when I have an idea about doing something other than His general will (wife & mom). Jonathan starts to take action; he moves toward the goal he thinks the Lord has in mind for him but leaves room for the Lord to re-direct him if he’s wrong. The Lord affirms his decision, and he is victorious in slaying his enemies; but if God had closed that door Jonathan would have known there was a better/different way. So, for instance, with your MOPS idea, you begin to test the waters of interest and availability of leaders. But ask the Lord for a specific blockage if it is not His will for it to be accomplished right now. Maybe it is His will that it happen now, but not by your doing, and you ask for the Lord to meet the person who can do it. But then, resolve to drop it completely if He blocks your way instead of making up excuses about “well, it’s just difficult right now because…”

    I feel like I’m starting to ramble. I don’t know if this is helpful; regardless, I will be praying that you are completely open and at peace with whatever the Lord asks of you in this time, and that you won’t feel guilty or pressured to do anything that is not in His plan. Back in March I wrote about the weight that’s lifted when we realize that God doesn’t ask us to do everything (and isn’t more pleased when we do!) but that He delights in our obedience to Him, no matter the task. Since cutting out the extra and investing that newly freed-up time into my home, Will, and the girls, God has been pouring out spiritual growth and blessings that I could not have received if my wandering heart had been out doing lots of good things that He didn’t ask me to do.

    For His glory!
    Lisha 🙂

    PS Reading your blog has been so very encouraging to me; I sit here and basically nod and exclaim “yes!” to everything you write Thanks for being faithful!

    Reply

    • Stacy
      Jul 22, 2011 @ 07:31:47

      Thank you so much for your input. I don’t know why it has never occurred to me to ask for a specific sign before. That is some advice that I will definitely be hanging on to. I also want to acknowledge that God has also been working on me in the “virtuous wife” area, especially my idle hands. Thank you for your encouragement.

      Reply

  2. Linden Wolfe
    Jul 22, 2011 @ 08:03:56

    Since I am averse to formulas (but don’t we Christians love them). I will share my experience. I tend to get off track when I seek to find God’s will in the grey areas as opposed to focusing on His will in the black and white ones. In other words, I’m called to stay in the present and live out what I know He has called me to (His revelead will, Scripture) moment by moment. I must stay focused on being yielded, surrendered, and obediant to what is right in front of me – looking to Jesus and reliant on is Holy Spirit to follow what I know in the here and now as opposed to what He wants for me in the future (in terms of His general will). When I focus on Him and His will in the present then I find the future takes care of itself and He opens and closes doors for me (as opposed to me manipulating and orchestrating situations). Does that make sense? I wrote it and not sure I understand it -:)!

    Romans 12:1-2 is my key passage for this: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

    When I am a living sacrifice and my mind is being transformed into His mind by adoring Him through eyes fixed on Him in the immediate (Hebrews 12:1-3) – which is something I can most control – then His will for the future is most evident. The more I seek Him instead of His “plans” the more likely I am to be clearly shown what direction He wants me to take in such circumstances as you described. I think this priciple is confirmed in Jeremiah 29:11-13. When we seek after God we will find HIM. The blessed by-product is that we can discover His plans for our future best when we pursue HIM in the present.

    Anyway, that’s my take on this. Thanks for your ministry – it continues to be a great encouragment to me!

    Reply

    • Stacy
      Jul 22, 2011 @ 08:51:16

      Linden, thanks for that reminder. For me, being a living sacrifice means that I climb off of the altar occasionally. What do you do when life presents you with a potentially life-changing decision and you aren’t sure which way God would have you go? Both options are good, but which one is best? That’s what I’m faced with right now.

      Reply

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