Showing posts with label decisions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label decisions. Show all posts

Oct 8, 2013

What Is God's Will for Me?

Sometimes it's hard to know if a task set before us is something God wants us to do. The difference between the old covenant law and the new covenant law gives us some insight.

God gave Moses the law written on tablets of stone (Exodus 31:18). Today, under the new covenant, the law is written on our living hearts (Romans 2:15).

When something feels like a heavy weight on our shoulders, an obligatory should, a pressure from outside ourselves, that is usually the tablets of stone. When I feel this way, I question whether it is from God.

When the impetus to do something comes from within, a pressure from the inside wanting to get out, that is usually the law written on our hearts. The thing may be difficult and take us out of our comfort zone, but it comes from inside.

Of course, this is not infallible. There are often things that feel weighty and obligatory that obviously have to be done, like changing a dirty diaper or mopping the floor. On the other hand, a compelling desire can come from within and be totally wrong for us. But this principle has proven to be true many times for me as I have sought the Lord's will. I hope that when you are facing a decision it may be helpful to you as well.

Jun 4, 2011

Blind Dog With a Brave Heart

We have a little 9-year-old, blind terrier mix with the heart of a lion. That is a picture of her standing on the arm of the sofa. She still walks around the edge. She also prefers jumping off the deck (a 3-foot drop) to walking down the stairs!

She gets around the house and yard pretty well, but on her walks she runs with abandon. We take a little woodsy trail most mornings and she's out in front, going for all she's worth. She lives for those walks. They are freedom to her.

You see she can do that because she trusts me to guide her. She knows that I won't let her run into anything or fall off some precipice. I am ashamed to say, we have had a few little mishaps but she trusts me anyway like dogs do.

We humans would do well to trust God the same way. Unlike me, he never makes a mistake. And like me, he loves us and guides us along life's pathway. If your life has taken an unpleasant turn, don't fear. The Flawless One has not erred. He is guiding you along the path that is safest and best for your soul.

Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
   along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
   and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
   I will not forsake them.

Notice, God doesn't say he will give us sight, just that he will guide. Dare to trust like little Snickers that God will safely lead, though you cannot see the way, and run life's race with abandon! And just like Snicker's you'll find God's guidance is your freedom.

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Aug 11, 2009

What do I *ultimately* want?

The fact that Jesus lives in our hearts can give us direction in finding His will.

The Law (including our "shoulds") is on the outside like a weight. It's an obligatory feeling that I should do X. But there is nothing inside me that resonates with this feeling.

In contrast, because God is in my heart, He wants to express Himself through me: to live through me, to speak through me, to touch through me, to see through me, to love through me. Therefore, God's will is usually a gentle pressure in my heart that comes from within wanting to get out.

Discerning whether something is coming from within or without is one way to distinguish God's will. He most often (not always) directs us through our desires, rather than "shoulds." Even though God's will might be uncomfortable and not what I immediately want, if I ask myself what I ultimately desire, it is usually God's plan.

One example is eating a box of brownies. I may want to eat them. But ultimately I want to be healthy and to be a normal weight. If I become long-sighted, and keep my "eyes on the prize," I will make the right decision and forego the brownie.

This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but it is a helpful principle. If something feels like a pressure from within, and resonates with what I ultimately want, it's usually from God. If it is an obligatory pressure from outside, it is probably not God.

Hope this adds some clarity to your life!

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Dec 31, 2008

My Faulty, Puny Image of God

Is our God big enough? Theologically, yes. But because I cannot wrap my human mind around Infinity, my image of God is, frankly, marred. That's where faith comes in because it is in the Unseen, the unfathomable.

My faulty, puny image of God causes me much unnecessary anxiety. I am presently faced with a choice about an upcoming trip. Most people would be envious of our destination. It dropped into our laps practically for free. We have been scrimping and saving in bits and pieces for over a year to have spending money. If I miss it, I will be throwing away a rare opportunity and deeply disappointing the person who loves me most.

But I have a chronic illness that for some reason is aggravated by travel. Thanks to the limitations of traveling via frequent flier miles, this trip has a rigorous start: 3 days and 4 cities to get there. My gut tells me I'm gonna bonk. My husband tells me I'm setting myself up to fail. My God tells me that if I miss Plan A, he has Plan B ready and waiting, full of favor and grace and perhaps even more glorious than Plan A.

Please allow me to wax theological for just a moment: We can never get around God's will. But He has what I believe theologians call a "perfect" will and a "permissive" will: Plan A and Plan B.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve missed Plan A. They sinned and ruined it. Plan A was for them to populate the earth with good, kind people who had never fallen and to set up God's glorious Kingdom full of light and love right on this planet. That didn't happen.

But in my humble opinion, Plan B, set up from before the beginning of time, is even more glorious. God became flesh and dwelt among us. He died a criminal's death for you and me: By one beautiful, horrific sacrifice Christ atoned for all men, for all sin, for all time. God's Son was raised again to sit at the right hand of God and will one day come again to defeat evil once and for all. He will rule with power and set up that perfect Kingdom on a New Earth where pain and loneliness and decay and suffering are demolished forever. God has revealed, and will continue to demonstrate to a watching universe who would never have known otherwise, His infinite love and kindness by the death, resurrection, and ascension of His Son.

OK, theology lesson over.

Now back to my trip -- and any decision you may be facing. Many years ago, I took a trip that made me so sick that I could have died. Other trips have left me confined to bed for months. Some have had no ill effect at all. (You can understand why I feel like I'm playing Russian Roulette here. Don't want to miss God's will on this one!)

What if I had discerned and chosen Plan A and not traveled at the wrong time on the wrong trip that made me so sick. What if I had never made some of the other choices that led to the development of my illness. I could have had a much easier life. But I never would have had the depth of compassion and understanding that I do now. I wouldn't have the ability to look across a room and see the pain that someone was hiding inside. I wouldn't have insight and hope to offer others who have suffered. There is no way I would know God in the intimate tender way that He has revealed Himself to me, and I certainly wouldn't be writing this blog. I believe I would be of much less use to God in general.

So maybe Plan B is Plan A after all. Maybe we're not big enough to screw up God's will for our lives. Maybe it all does turn out for the best even if it doesn't feel like it in the moment. Maybe the world is safe because God has it all under control. Maybe I am safe. Maybe, even if the worst happens, I'll be glad about it one day.

Maybe God is big enough. And maybe you and I can both dare to believe it!

With love,

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