Several years ago, my husband wanted to make a change. He was ready to go forward with his career, and was offered a position which would require a move to the Washington DC area. This area is a broad one, so we had the option of living in either Maryland or Virginia. The job was a good one with potential, but this was a new company, a start-up idea of some colleagues he had worked with on a project a couple of years before. Consequently, there was some risk involved in taking the job.
We prayed for direction.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]I can’t know the future. [/pullquote]Not only would we be leaving good friends and a church family we loved, but our 2 children were just out on their own, and would be staying behind in the area we thought of leaving. I was also in the midst of taking classes for my Master’s Degree at a nearby Seminary. To further complicate things, the housing market in the Washington DC area was outrageous. Even older homes were priced at crazy amounts, and should anything have gone wrong after purchase, we would have been in a pickle.
So there was a bit of a dilemma. I knew how to move, so that wasn’t an issue. But I wasn’t totally sold on it either. My husband really wanted to go. Since he is the breadwinner, it seemed like he should be happy where he worked.
You can see why we needed to pray for direction.
I don’t know about you, but when I pray for direction I’m often disappointed. I want a sign, literally a big sign from God that says “THIS IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO….” I never get a sign like that. Or even if I could have an angel, so bright I can hardly look at him, tell me what God wants me to do. It’s what I want. Truly.
But I never get those things.
Instead I have to make a decision. In this case, my husband was all ready to go, but he was letting me come to terms with it and decide what I wanted to do.
I thought I would share with you some things I learned from this experience about making decisions:
- God has forbidden the use of such things as a crystal ball. Even Jesus is denied the knowledge of the future time of His return, why do I think I have the privilege of knowing how things will turn out? I can’t know the future. It’s simply not for me to know.
- Because God has given me the means to reason, I need to use them. Certainly, I sought counsel with friends. We researched the area. We would not go into this blindly.
- The Holy Spirit lives inside of me, giving me the ability to discern, if I’m paying attention. Often it seems that our decisions are between two goods. Maybe the best is not very obvious, because they are both very good.
- Sometimes just saying ‘yes’ to one of the choices is the next step. Then, wait and see how it all pans out.
In our case, we chose to move to Maryland.
A year later, we were making plans to move back to Pennsylvania.
It was a bit of a lonely year without my kids and friends, but we met some great people. Particularly our next door neighbors, who became Christians soon after we moved away. They later told us, it was on our influence that they came to Christ. We lost quite a bit of money in the housing collapse…we bought high (although we negotiated the lowest price in comparison to our neighbors) and sold low.
Did we make the wrong decision? Perhaps. A Christian woman I know told me, after hearing this story, that we had stepped out of God’s will when we moved down there.
The thing is, I see a lot of good things that came about as a result of our decision to move to Maryland. Some bad things, too. Financially, we took a big hit. But good stuff. Our neighbors came to Christ! My children chose their spouses during this time of our absence, and I now have two wonderful “kids-in-law”. Currently, we live in a great house in an area we love. We attend a church out of our deepest desires. We have really wonderful people in our lives.
What does this say about seeking direction from God? I don’t know. Definitely do it. But keep in mind, as Bette Davis said in the movie All About Eve, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
You never know where your prayer will take you. I guess it’s just another lesson in trusting God. It always comes down to trust, doesn’t it? Trust that God has the best in mind for you. Trust that He is with you when it really seems like He is far away. Sometimes it takes a couple of years to look back, and say, “God was in this”.
….even if He didn’t send a huge sign.
Not to be clichéd, but….
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28
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This resonates with me on so many levels. Thank you for sharing!
Your welcome, Natalie. Praying for you.
Can I edit this and say “You’re”…?
I had to laugh when you punctuated the other person’s comment about stepping out of God’s will with whatever. Yep, it’s amazing how when things go exactly as planned or better it’s God’s blessing and, when they don’t, WE are misbehaving. Life just doesn’t work like that! And if all you do is help a couple to find Christ, well, that’s pretty good enough!
I almost changed the “whatever”. Then I thought, why do people say things like that to other people? Don’t we carry enough guilt with us as it is?
‘But good stuff. Our neighbors came to Christ!’ That’s enough. Right?
Well…. if we believe, God makes all things good…. it kinda takes a little of the pressure off of making a decision(again, a decision between two goods) or helps to lift the worry of not being in “God’s will”.
“Sometimes just saying ‘yes’ to one of the choices is the next step. Then, wait and see how it all pans out.” I used to wait for a peace about which decision to make, but rarely had that peace. Until after I said “yes”. That’s when the peace came. Now I know I won’t always have that peace until after I’ve said “yes”. Or “no”. Or “whatever”. 🙂
That’s what I’m learning. We can always change our minds, or usually can….maybe… And really, it seems the bottom line is about my trusting in God’s goodness.
Once again, this reminds me of the young women’s group I facilitate. I try to encourage them that while they need to listen for God’s still small voice, He can’t/won’t(?) do much to help them unless they take that first step in faith. Objects in motion stay in motion; objects at rest stay at rest. Do SOMETHING. God will let us know, via the people & situations around us whether we need to alter our course. I know I get so afraid of doing the wrong thing. But your point about trusting that God’d goodness gives confidence to, well, trust Him.
Exactly. I think he wants us to trust him. It’s just hard when you are in the midst of stuff.
“whatever”. One of my favorite words. Covers such a broad spectrum. When I think of what you’ve done in my life, I’m thankful you moved. There would be fewer warm necks in my little family. You mentioned that you struggled and prayed before you made the decision. I think that’s all you can do. God doesn’t send us texts to clarify our choices. You prayed.
I wish he would send a text! But the process is part of the journey.
This was so timely, thank you! We have some changes in store for us over the next year and they get me all locked up. We are seriously considering a move to Phoenix to help with my medical condition. We have the means, my husband can get a job there, I can work remotely. Most days I feel like God is putting this in our paths. Yet growing up in PA and leaving our church, friends, family- young adult kids- yikes- that makes me so anxious.
Every day I pray for God’s direction and I wait for some loud clanging bell to tell me I’m doing the right thing.
“Sometimes just saying ‘yes’ to one of the choices is the next step. Then, wait and see how it all pans out.”
You’re so right! And to Gretchen’s point and to quote Nike, sometimes we need to “just do it” and trust that God is working for our good, in all things.