My husband is thinking about making, well, we’ll just call it an investment. While I will wholeheartedly support whatever decision he makes without reservation, I have just one request. I want to be included in his decision-making process. Not included as in tell him what he ought to do and pout if he doesn’t listen. No. Included as in he tells me what he is thinking of doing, when, how, and why. Included as in we discuss the matter together, pray about it together, and wait on the Lord to either stop us from making a mistake or confirm that he is with us in it.
I got to thinking…I bet that’s just what God wants from me, too. There are a lot of things I think I can do on my own without talking to God first. But what if Adonai – the very personal, altogether sovereign God of the universe wants to be intimately included in my life? Not to run it in a manipulative, coercive manner, but in a mutually respected love? I do call him “Lord” after all, don’t I? Maybe He isn’t really out to veto every fun and fantastic idea I come up with. Maybe He just wants to be the first one to hear about them. He wants to be that important to me. Perhaps he really does want to be closer than a brother.
And if He’s not that to me, then what is He, really? A mere asset to my already made plans? A safety net in the very unlikely event that I make a mistake? A distant, unimportant acquaintance? A kill-joy? A road block to the bigger and better? Or, is He not really much of anything to me? These are the questions I have to ask myself when I find myself failing to include the Lord Jesus in my everyday life.
My little girls and I have been reading through the gospel of Mark. Each day I begin by asking, “What do you think Jesus is up to today?” We’ve read about Jesus’ baptism, miracles, and many parables he used to teach. My goal in daily Bible lessons with them is to help them understand the importance and priority of God in their daily lives, equip them with wisdom for the world they will face, and build a solid foundation for genuine faith. I want them to wake up asking, “What is Jesus up to today? How does that affect my life? My decisions? My attitude?”
The truth is that most of we adults do not ask these very simple, yet profound, questions at the start of each day. I reckon if we did, life might just make a little more sense. We might just have a little more internal peace.
My friend quoted C.S. Lewis the other day saying, “Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings. Ask yourself, ‘If I were sure that I loved God, what would I do?’ When you have found the answer, go and do it.”
In my life, time and again, I find that fear, doubt, selfishness, uncertainty, and even guilt often are the driving forces of my behavior and decisions. These are foes, not friends. I must climb over these “feelings” in order to get to the truth of the matter and act accordingly. I must ask, “What is Jesus up to today? If I love him, what must I do?”
Practically, what it means is that my spiritual health – which happens to be the health of all else in me including emotional, physical, sexual, etc. – is very much dependant upon how well I know the Lord Jesus; how much time I spend alone with the all-knowing God of the universe. Why? Because Jesus explains the details of his will and his ways in private. He encourages and inspires us in private. He teaches us in private. Jesus wants a real, time-invested, one-on-one relationship…just like we do when we authentically love and value someone.
“He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.” ~Mark 4:34
Therefore, the wisdom we glean knowing He is in the still, small voice rather than the noise of the one’s speaking loudest is that patience is paramount. God does not usually converse with us at a high rate of speed. We simply cannot handle what he is trying to teach us that quickly. So, he often begins with a broad brush. He shows us an illustration. He waits as we consider the implications of the story he is telling; while we count the cost of believing it. He watches whether we follow him…further. He waits for us to ask questions. He answers in the quiet of prayer.
No child ever grows up into maturity quickly. It takes days, weeks, months, years, and decades for children to become adults. Likewise, it takes God’s children a considerable amount of time spent with him to get wisdom and exhibit significant growth. We grow one day at a time, one decision at a time, one prayer at a time. If you are facing a decision and seeking God’s wisdom, here are some helpful things to remember:
-Haste makes waste. Never be in a hurry when you’re waiting on God. As uncomfortable as it is to wait, experience shouts that the results of hasty decisions are obscenely more uncomfortable. Ask me how I know.
-There’s no shame in seeking wise counsel from spiritual parents. Those who are elders in the faith have likely faced similar situations. Ask them their opinion and think about what they have to say. It often goes well for children who obey because they trust Daddy even when they do not understand why he says “no” than for those who whine about why and do their own thing anyway.
-Consider what you’re saying “no” to. Recognize that there is no “yes” that does not come with a “no.” Saying “yes” to one thing always means saying “no” to another. Are you willing to sacrifice all the no’s in order to say “yes.”
-Peace is paramount. If you have internal conflict void of peace surrounding a decision, it is often an indication that it is either the wrong decision or the wrong time. God offers peace when He is on board. If peace is absent, God, may, too, be absent.
When we have been faithful to spend time alone with God, to consider His leading, wait upon His answers, and trust Him above ourselves, we will know what we ought to do. We will know why we want to do it. And we will have the peace that passes understanding when we do it.
At the end of the day, I want God to be all I really need…because He is whether I realize it or not. I want Him to be the all in all that’s so easy to sing about on Sunday morning. I cannot know that He is unless I seek Him in all things. I’m betting the farm He is always up to something.