knowing where God is guiding you
After three long hours of driving, I was more than ready to pull into the hotel parking lot and dive headfirst into that fluffy king-sized wonderland. Having just exited the freeway, only a few more turns stood between me and my destination.
Unfamiliar with the area, however, I was relying heavily on my GPS. I turned right as instructed, only to be confronted with an immediate fork in the road, and good ‘ole Siri hadn’t quite caught up yet—the next direction was still loading. Traffic closing in behind me, I didn’t have time to wait. A decision had to be made, one I couldn’t be sure of. Using my best judgement, I channeled my inner Beyoncé and gently turned the wheel to the left.
If you’re a Christ-follower, I think it can be generally assumed that you want to walk in God’s will for your life. This is a good desire.
It can also be paralyzing.
Have you ever been at a crossroads, uncertain of your next move?
I certainly have.
When it comes to making decisions, and following God’s leading in our lives, there are absolutely general principles of wisdom we should operate within.
For example, decisions should be biblically-based, and we should pay careful heed to the convicting movement of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and the counsel of godly friends.
What happens though, when both of the options at your crossroads fall in line with Scripture, the counsel you’ve invited has remained neutral, and there has been no discernible sense of a guiding towards one option over the other?
A while back, I was torn between two different opportunities I had, unsure of which to step into. Both were good, but my schedule only allowed for one.
I felt that the decision was an important one, and I wanted so badly to make the right one, yet I didn’t know what that was. I was seeking advice, fretting, and praying over it, yet I still didn’t seem to have an answer. I was uncertain of where God was guiding me, and therefore unwilling to move. I was too afraid of making the wrong decision.
I was stuck.
My indecision and subsequent inability to move forward were causing me more stress than any wrong decision likely would have, and after a few weeks of torturing myself with the mental back and forth, I decided something had to change. Anything would be better than the limbo of paralysis I was suspended in.
Feebly, I decided to step into option “A.” I wasn’t sure that’s where God was leading me, but I also hadn’t heard an answer one way or the other after much prayer.
Funny thing is, once I stepped into this option, I found out that it no longer was an option. But I wouldn’t have known that unless I tried stepping into it. Turns out, all along I was sitting there waiting for God to give me an answer and all along, the way He was going to give me that answer was through the closed door.
Sometimes, the way God guides us is through the opening and closing of doors. But oftentimes, we can’t know if God is closing a door unless we try opening it.
Turns out my Beyoncé-turn to the left actually wasn’t the right move, but you know what?
I was rerouted.
The thing is, the GPS stays silent when we stay stationary.
Without forward momentum, the only thing that changes is the estimated time of arrival, increasing ever so slightly as seconds turn to minutes. But if we move forward, even in uncertainty, the GPS is always faithful to reroute us if we make the wrong turn. In fact, it will keep rerouting us, no matter the number of wrong turns taken, until we arrive safely at the destination. Its voice doesn’t raise in frustration, it remains even. Persistence, not impatience, sees us through.
Right around the time the “Option A” door closed, opportunities opened up in “Option B” that I hadn’t even sought out. For so long I’d been stressed and stuck, but all it took was a simple step forward, even in uncertainty, for things to start to fall into place.
When it comes to following God’s will, it’s easy to remain paralyzed because we are so fearful of making the wrong decision. Unless we have 100% certainty of God’s guidance, we refuse to move.
But I believe God gives us the freedom to make decisions, when we’re operating within the boundaries of what He has shown us to be good and true. He doesn’t want us to fear failure, because fear leads to paralysis. Fear will keep us stuck but failure, on the other hand, can propel us forward, down the correct path, if we let it.
A few weekends ago, my family and I went for a bike ride at the San Leandro Marina. I hadn’t ridden my bike in about a year, and when we got there I realized my seat was WAY too high. My dad didn’t have the right tools in his car to fix it, and we didn’t know what to do. They were all having a good laugh just watching me try to get on my bike, so there was no way I was going to be riding it.
Thankfully, we ended up coming across a character who introduced himself as “Echo the Vegan,” and had the right tools in his van, happy to help us out.
As he twisted screws, Echo passionately preached to us about the proper technique of bike-riding, repeating again and again, “You just gotta get up on it and go! You can’t hesitate, just start pedaling, and go!”
Humorous as it may have been, his point was true.
If a bike is stationary it can’t be steered. Heck, if it’s stationary, it can’t even stand up on it’s own. But forward momentum gives the bike balance. When you start pedaling forward, even in the wrong direction, that movement allows for course correction.
God wants to partner with us. He wants to walk with us and co-create to bring about His light and life in this world. He doesn’t want us to remain inactive out of fear that we’ll make the wrong move.
We’ve been given the basic command to love God and love people, and when we start moving towards those things, even in uncertainty, God will be faithful to guide us into the unique path He has for us, unveiling our unique passions, personality traits, and purposes along the way, which will serve as road signs directing us towards our destination.
What’s one simple step forward you can take today?
God’s destiny for your life awaits.