How Do I Know…?

Posted: November 19, 2013 in Am i There Yet?, Wandering Thoughts, While i'm Waiting
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i’ve heard this over and over, and have said it myself as well, “i’ve struggled with trying to hear God’s voice concerning my future and where he wants me. i’ve searched for His direction and all i really want to do is His will. The problem is, i feel like i’ve had no response. What am i missing or doing wrong?

i don’t claim to have all the answers but, i can share from my experiences in dealing with these questions. Sometimes i’ve  made it hard. What i mean by that is sometimes i was “too spiritual” to hear what was actually in black and white and right in front of me. Example, as i was working a job and raising my children i used to constantly ask God about what he wanted me to do with my life.

Long after my children were raised i came to the conclusion that what He wanted me to do with my life at that time was work and raise my children. Earning a living and paying bills on time is important. Investing in my son’s and daughter’s character and godly upbringing was the highest item on God’s priority list for me. God was very practical and His will was clearer than i recognized.

So, now when asked by someone about knowing God’s will i tell them that the first question to ask themselves is, what are their current responsibilities and what is their life situation? Are they married? God wants men to be fabulous, loving husbands. If they have children, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6). Nothing will have greater significance. Do i have elderly parents? If so help and assist them through their end of life.

An old saying says, “Bloom where you are planted.” That means, right where i am is filled with plenty of God’s will for my life. However, there are times when I’ve been at a crossroads and i could go several directions. In those instances i want to know which way is God’s choice.

In those times i need to look at what my natural giftings and desires are? i have things that i am good at, things that i have a passion for, or have some natural ability for. Early in my life i learned to not skip past these gifts but to develop them. Ann Marie went to a seminar one time and they told her to do what she enjoyed doing and then find a way to make a living at it. Looking for something harder or more complicated in order to serve God may just complicate the process or plan that He has already equipped me for.

When it comes to ministry, it is important to understand my spiritual gifts because that’s the area where God probably wishes to use me. Reading the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Romans 12:6-8 and Ephesians 4:11 give us an idea of the value of the gifts that Christ gives to the Body of Christ. i have taken many gift assessment tests which have helped me identify the unique way God gifted me.

So…as i continue to search for God’s direction, i ask myself what do i LIKE to do? my career choice should match that and ministry may also involve that same thing. If i get along well with teens, then that’s a natural and maybe i should volunteer to help with Youth. i need to experience several of these possible passions by volunteering until something really hits home.

Sometimes other people have seen me much clearer than i have seen myself. i am never afraid to ask others what they think about me doing this or that. Get input from a few friends, the pastor or other church leadership, see what they see as your spiritual gifts.

Many people say that in asking God for direction they feel they have had no response. It’s during those times that i feel that God is silent because He’s saying, “ed you decide this one for yourself.” This is a silly example but i don’t need to ask God whether to go to the grocery store if the refrigerator is empty – i am to just go.

Now that I’ve said all that, i should be hearing God’s voice on a regular basis. God desires it; he is not trying to withhold himself from me and he does not delight in my frustration or confusion. God is speaking all the time but i need to learn to tune in to his frequency.

God speaks to me through His Word, through others, though my dreams, and most quite often through my circumstances. He also speaks to me directly in a still small voice right into my heart. Learning to tune out all the distractions and distinguish HIS voice verses my own voice or the voice of the enemy of my soul is possible and highly desirable.

A good way to begin is through journaling. Journaling is a spiritual exercise whereby you write out your thoughts, questions to God, and impressions from scripture and then also leave time for stillness and listening. Posting these blogs do that for me.

It’s up to me to still myself before the Lord and focus on Him. As i do i sense his heart and hear his voice. How do i avoid mistakes? First i slow down and don’t let so-called “once in a lifetime opportunities” rush me. i give time to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and ask for his help as i work through the process. i can also ask spiritually mature disciples to read my journaling as they can help me distinguish voices. A big one for me is to compare what i’ve write down as God’s voice against God’s Word. If it doesn’t match it’s not God’s voice. He never contradicts Himself or His written Word.

In closing, rely on God’s promise. “…and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:4-5)

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