Last night my husband brought up a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad recurring subject that scares me as much and flying off an Olympic ski jump.
The one where he says we really need to think about selling our house because it’s going to cost us too much over the long-haul to live here. Whenever he raises it I either run crying from the room screaming “Over my dead body!”, or cover my ears, shut my eyes and singing “LALALALALA”. It’s not a decision I want to face.
Last year our daughter and new son-in-law also had a big decision to make. Maggie had applied to grad school and had the mixed blessing of getting into every school she applied to. It blew us away. Who knew? So it came down to a decision between John’s Hopkins (stay in D.C.), London School of Economics (go), and Berkley (go).
What’s a decision you’re facing right now? Leave your job? Go back to school? Stay in a relationship you’re afraid is unhealthy? Move?
Holy buckets, it can make us crazy. Right? Whether it’s a physical place or a relationship or a job, we’re often faced with the hard decision of whether to stay with things the way they are, or risk going to something or someplace new.
One thing I do know is that we are called to go from anything that gets in the way of the “with God” life (which doesn’t necessarily make these choices easier!).
I listened to a message last year by Craig Groeshcel on how the decisions we make today will determine the stories we’ll tell tomorrow. One of the questions he posed was:
Are we making decisions out of fear or faith?
Sometimes the best decision you can make is to go when it would be easier to stay. Like God’s command to Abraham to “GO!” and leave everything he knew.
Sometimes the best decision you can make is to stay, when everything in you wants to run away. Like the disciples – commanded to watch and pray before Jesus was arrested.
If you’re in your twenties, you face decisions like this pretty frequently. As you get older, the danger is settling for the status quo and not being open to the “go” invitations. In either season, making decisions out of fear is a very real temptation.
And this is where it gets sticky – discerning God’s will for you personally.
Sometimes His will is clear – He does what He does (His providential will – like creation or redemption), or His moral will (the absolute “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots”). But what about His personal will for you in a particular situation unique to you? That’s the tough one.
That’s the one I’m thinking about.
Like an Olympic ski jumper there are thing we can do to prepare.
- We can look for God’s moral will to inform His personal will in our lives.
- We can seek the counsel of other wise believers,
- We can…you know…pray!
- And as Christians we have the promise of the counsel of the Holy Spirit
But it’s still not always clear, and in the end we may have to take a risky step that feels like we’re flying off the ski jump 295 ft high, saying along with Paul in Acts, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…”
When Maggie and Austin made their decision they prepared for the jump. They sought counsel. They asked their community to fast and pray with them. They weighed all the pros and cons. And then they made the decision that seemed good.
Stay or go, if we are trying to honor God, although all choices have consequences, He is with us and mid-course corrections are possible if we end up feeling like we “got it wrong”. Letting go makes space for Him to be enlarged in our life.
What’s one decision you face where you are seeking God’s direction? What’s helpful to you when it’s not clear?