Monday, May 2, 2016

Soul Searching

I’ve spent the last month doing some real soul searching.  I was wrestling with God about continuing on in my current job.  I want more than anything to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.  At age 55, I am still wrestling with where is He leading me?  Am I where I am supposed to be?  I am finding that this is really a lifelong pursuit of God and seeking to stay in the center of His plan for my life.

How can I know that I am doing what I am called to do?

The first thing to consider is, am I walking with God?  Am I seeking to grow in my relationship with God? Am I spending time in the Word and in prayer?  Am I seeking to know Him and not just seeking to know about Him?  Am I taking advantage of opportunities in my church for Bible study and growth? 
Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I need to be willing to surrender my will to God’s will.  I need to be committed to doing whatever it is that He desires for me to do.  I can’t try to manipulate God.  I can’t tell God what my plans are and just expect Him to put His stamp of approval on them.  Jesus died for me, I should be willing to live for Him.  When I surrender my will to His, He will direct my steps.
Romans 12:1-2  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I need to be willing to be obedient to what I already know to be God’s will.  God reveals a lot of what His plan for our lives is through His Word.  Do I know His Word?  Am I living obediently to all I know? If I don’t obey what I already know to be true, why would He want to reveal any more of His plan for my life?  Obedience is a key beginning step.
Another key step is to seek the input of godly advisors in my life.  I need to seek out men and women who I know have a close walk with the Lord.  People I know will give me sound Biblical and godly advice.  I am trying to surround myself with five people who are living in close obedience to the Lord.  Then when they give me advice, I need to listen! 
Proverbs 11:14  “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”
I have been created to fulfill a specific role in this world. (And not just me - you were, too.) There is no one else who can achieve completely what God has created me to do. God has gifted me to perform some specific ministry/ good works which I alone was created to do. 
Ephesians 2:10  “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
I need to pay attention to how God has gifted me.  His plan for me will most likely be related to the gifts He has already given me. 
1 Peter 4:10  “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

I need to be quiet and listen to God’s Spirit.  I need to pray and I need to lay my heart out before the Lord, but then I simply need to shut up and listen.  I need to pay attention to what God might be saying to me.  I need to ask the Lord some key questions and then be still.

•What is my next step in my job?
•What is my next step in my ministry?
•What is my next step for my marriage?
•What is my next step for my education?
•What is my next step for my finances?
I need to spend time meditating on these kinds of questions.  I need to listen and allow God to speak to me.  Then I need to write down what He speaks to my heart - I can’t trust my memory!  What an amazing experience as His Spirit guides my thoughts and words.  I long for those times when He speaks to me like that!
John 10:27  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
I need to listen to the Spirit, but I also need to listen to my heart. 
Psalm 37:4-5 "Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."
As I am walking with the Lord, He will actually allow me to do things that I love to do.  When I am close to Him, He shapes my desires so that I desire the things that He has already called me to do. 
For example, I never knew that I liked to speak to groups of people about my faith.  As I sought Him, He opened the doors for me to speak at a women’s retreat.  I never knew I could have that much fun!  Then pretty soon I got another opportunity and then another and then another.  His plan is amazing and exciting!  I have the most fun in life when I am doing His will.  All that is because He is changing me and my heart to want to do the things for which He created me.
God often shows His plan for my life by lining up circumstances in obvious ways. And, He also shows me what is not His will for me in the same way.  He’s a master of opening and closing doors.  This is not to say that every open door is definitely God’s plan for me, but it does help give me some basic direction.
Does all of this mean it is easy to discern God’s will for me?  Not always.  But it does give me somewhere to start?  These principles help guide me in my pursuit to do and to be exactly what He wants me to do and to be.  As I seek Him with my whole heart, I will find Him.
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