by Debbie Wilson
Did you ever play blindfold games when you were a child? I remember one in which the blindfolded partner navigated through a maze by following instructions from a trusted partner. “Three steps forward. Stop. Sidestep right.” Success depended on a trustworthy guide and a trusting listener.
Sometimes, trying to discern God’s will in a decision feels like playing blindfolded.
When I pray, I hope to receive clear directives like: Go with this doctor. Attend this conference. Send your child to this school. Move to this neighborhood. Instead, like the childhood game, God often says, “Take two steps forward; stop.”
It seems more efficient to say, “Put your child in this school,” than to say, “Call Sarah; see how her children did there. Sidestep. Attend a homeschool convention. Turn around; visit your public school.”
As in the blindfold game, God wants my full attention. He wants me to trust Him instead of trying to figure out the straightest route.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21 NIV). This Scripture indicates God doesn’t hide His will from us. However, instead of lighting up the path with a floodlight, He walks behind me whispering His directions as I go. My heavenly Father wants me to enjoy His company on the journey.
When I’m predicting everything that might happen or hurrying and worrying through to a decision, I miss the pleasure of His presence.
I’ve realized some of the stress I experience while trying to make the best decision comes from my effort to maintain an illusion of control. Like Eve, I want to be like God—in control.
God created us to need Him. Psalm 23:3 (NIV) promises that our good Shepherd guides us “along the right paths for his name’s sake.” His reputation is on the line. He watches over my every step. Providing for my needs is His job. Trusting Him is mine.
Here are some questions to consider to help take the angst out of a decision.
- Why does this matter to me?
- What am I trying to attain or avoid?
- Do I feel my well-being (physical, emotional, spiritual, or financial) or someone else’s rests on this decision?
- Does my perspective change if I shift my view from making the right decision to trusting God to be my provider, healer, source of joy, and strength?
For example, if you’re in the process of choosing the right place for your child’s education, why does that decision matter so much to you? Are you afraid for your child’s safety, career future, the influence of peers, or something else? Are you trying to avoid pain or regret? Do you believe God wants the best for your child? Do you feel your child’s welfare is up to you?
When I identify what I fear a wrong decision could cost, I am able to bring that concern to God.
Even when God gives a clear answer, it doesn’t eliminate the need for faith (Heb. 10:38). Ask Gideon. Having God personally tell him His will for his life didn’t erase all of Gideon’s doubts. A wise decision won’t eliminate the need for trust, either. So whether in making a decision or trusting Him with how a choice turns out, we must exercise our faith muscles.
Look at that decision again. How can you turn this into an opportunity to experience God? Perhaps the first step is to thank Him that He already knows your needs and praise Him for being your good shepherd.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 NASB
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, was released in February 2020.
She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.
Join the conversation: Have you experienced God’s direction? How did He show you the path you were to take? Please share!