Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Not Alone Series: Discernment

It's Tuesday again! The link-up party is hosted by the ever-fabulous Jen at Jumping in Puddles and Morgan at Follow and Believe.

We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?

I think the best way to answer this is to review some Scriptures that talk about God and our plans:

The plans of the heart belong to man, 
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
Proverbs 16:1

For I know the plans I have for you, 
declares the Lord, 
plans for welfare and not for evil, 
to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

God knows the plan for my life, because, uh, He came up with the plan. So God is directing my steps because He can see the end from the beginning {Revelation 22:13} and I can barely remember what I wore last week. 

So God knows where my life is headed, but how do I know? How do I go about living this life when I don't know where I'm going to end up? 

This question used to bug me... and by "bug me" I really mean keep me up all night worrying about Big Life Decisions. 

I would lie awake for hours thinking about all the things that I could see myself doing and wondering how to cram it all in to one life and wondering what degree I should get so that I could pursue as many career paths as possible and then I thought about meeting a man and naming our kids {at one point, I had a boy name and a girl name starting with every letter of the alphabet... just in case.} and worrying about how I would teach ballet and homeschool my children and travel the world and start an orphanage and live on a horse ranch and and and. On and on it went, and I would get more and more worked up each time I thought about Big Life Decisions.  

Then I got some sleep and realized that God is in control and that there is a very good reason for Him to be able to see beginning to end and for me to not be able to see past next week. I learned that I can trust Him, really truly trust Jesus with my life, and, like Mr. Incredible yells says, "We'll get there when we get there!"

That was a really roundabout way of getting to this part: when I'm faced with A Big Life Decision, it's ok. I already know that the outcome is going to be good because God is in control. I don't really want to start a free will vs predestination discussion, so I will simply say that I believe God is good, no matter what, and He works all things together for the good of those who love Him {Romans 8:28}.

Shall we get nitty-gritty for just a paragraph? When faced with A Big Life Decision, I pray. I consider my options. I ask my parents, my discipler, my friends {when appropriate}, for their opinions. I wait - no haste on Big Life Decisions! One of the things I specifically pray for is that my parents and discipler and I will all be in agreement, because that is really powerful. 

When I was considering going to Kentucky for the rest of my degree, I prayed that my parents and I would all hear the same answer, and we did and off I went. 

A few months ago, I was praying about a move, and my parents and I did not hear the same thing. I waited a bit longer, and suddenly things changed that made staying the right answer. 

Personally, the most important part of making A Big Life Decision is the peace that comes with an answer. Even when the answer doesn't make sense for there to be peace, like moving across the country to go to a random little school filled with Southern strangers, I was completely at peace in the way only Christ can provide. Sure, I was nervous as hell, but deeper, there was peace that surpassed understanding {Philippians 4:7}.

Whew, this is way longer than I anticipated. Like, way longer. If you are still reading, way to go! How do you discern God's will for your life? Join the conversation!


  1. Patience is so important! I imagine you heard about the PR fiasco around the recent meeting of the pope and other bishops in Rome. One of my friends immediately threw up his hands and started talking about becoming Eastern Orthodox. I cautioned him to just wait and see what would happen next. Things calmed down, and he reconsidered.

    I relate that story not because I'm against people converting, but because it was such a huge, hasty move he was about to make. Like you said, God has ALL the time. He will wait for us for as long as necessary.

  2. That's really true, Lindsay! God really isn't pressed for time, so we can totally afford to take another hour, day, week, etc., to really hear what He's saying. Thanks for commenting! :)