just do something
"I don't know, Allison. I guess I was in my early 20s and I just thought I had to do what I was set out to do. I didn't think I could change my mind. I thought it was too late to do what I wanted to do."
I call my mom a lot. Probably more than the average 23 year old. (Anyone else?) I am so thankful to have the relationship with my mom that I do, and I know it's not everyone's reality.
Most phone calls we only have time to cover the basics, but recently we had the opportunity to enter into a conversation about purpose and discernment and passion. It was really special.
I continued to think about it after our conversation ended.
In our world of options, it's impossible to decide anything. I feel like I'm especially difficult when it comes to making decisions -- big or small. In a world of 87,000 combinations at Starbucks, a billion career paths, and even more (it seems) people to choose who to spend the rest of our lives with --
how do we decide anything? At least the big things?
You may have been there. You sit there and you pray really hard for an answer. You pray really hard for discernment.
"Okay God, is that a yes or a no?"
Figuring it out
What God is not:
- a vending machine
- a magic 8 ball
- a bulldozer that physically pushes you
(although sometimes it may feel that way)
After studying scripture and reading a bunch of other books on how to handle this; when we feel stuck and we don't know what to do -- when we're held between 2 or 3 choice or we don't have any choices at all --
just do something.
It's not and it is never too late to get up and do something.
If there is breath still in your lungs, you're not done.
Today -- write a list of what you are passionate about, see where things meet and start doing those things -- even just in small steps.
Make that plan to have that conversation, start that book or blog, launch that organization or idea. Get off your booty and do it.
What's the worst thing that can happen? You fail?
We're failing in our complacency too, so what do we have to lose?
Philippians 1:6 "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
That completion that God will bring may be failure,
God just doesn't promise success in our lives.
Stop thinking that we are promised any kind of success.
We are however promised trials.
Romans 5 says that we should then "rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces character, and proven character produces hope. [And] this hope will not disappoint us..."!!!!
We aren't promised success, but we are promised hope.
Let's get practical
There is obviously a time to wait on the Lord and be patient; but I think you know the feeling when you're stuck on a decision and you just need to make it. Or you just need to make a change.
You know when you're there.
You want to know how to do it?
(1) read the Bible responsibly
(2) seek wise counsel from others (from wise, Godly people, please); and
(3) pray for illumination, wisdom, and what you already know is God’s will¹
"We have really over-spiritualized "The will of God".
Are you loving God with all of your heart, mind, and soul?
Then you're in the will of God.
Are you loving your neighbor as yourself?
Then you're in the will of God. Don't complicate it."
- Jackie Hill Perry
We should trust God’s “will of decree” and follow his “will of desire,” of what He gives us in scripture, but not wait for him to reveal to us his “will of direction"² -- because we may just not get a blinking arrow sign. If we are waiting for a blinking arrow sign on where to go with our lives, we will be disappointed.
Point your life in the direction of God's desires, and it will show you how to live.
He doesn't care that much about your toothpaste
This could be controversial -- but I don't think God cares necessarily all that much about what toothpaste you buy, where you go to lunch, or even what college you go to.
I do think He cares more about your surrender of your heart.
When you lay your heart down fully to His desires, you will begin to have His desires.
When your desires change, your mundane life decisions become less important and how much you look like Jesus in any situation matters.
I'm not pretending that I have any clue what I'm doing. I was a communications major in my undergrad because I wanted something broad and easy, and I am currently in over my head in a counseling program. Every day looks unfamiliar, I'm not comfortable, and I'm trying to give my whole heart to living my life with my hands wide open for whatever God has for my life. I'm not claiming to have this mastered, but I think I'm beginning to understand more clearly.
I think praying for discernment should begin with a confession that we simply cannot do this on our own.
Your decisions will become easier when you are confident in how you live and who you live for.
For you to follow Christ and have an intimate relationship with Him, regardless of circumstance and standing, is God's will for your life.
"For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God..."
¹There's a book by Kevin DeYoung called "Just Do Something" and I'm going to steal from it a little bit today
²There's a book by Kevin DeYoung called "Just Do Something" and I'm stealing from it again.