I pray for wisdom every day. Another thing I pray for, particularly when faced with making big decisions, is that God would speak through godly people in my life when I go to them with what is going on.
But what happens when you feel quite strongly God leading you in one direction, but others you trust are saying something different? How do you navigate and discern the difference between whether God is really pulling you towards something, or its nothing more than a voice in your head?
Now to be up front, I don’t know the perfect answer for that. If you figure it out, write a book about it and you could probably retire early. But here are some thoughts when you are faced with something like this:
1. Don’t ask everybody
Everybody has an opinion. Either about you, what you are trying to do, or both. Asking everyone you know is not only impractical, it will leave you stuck; there will be too many conflicting responses.
What you should have is a few godly people that care about you and that you trust. And the younger you are, the more important you have some older people in this group. You may still not get uniform direction from all of them, but it’ll still at least be helpful and give you productive things to think about.
2. Your walk with Jesus needs to be consistent
The reality is that many times your faced with big decisions, they can come up on your pretty fast. So what do most people do? That start to pray a lot and spend more time with God and beg that he reveal to them what they should do.
A better approach is to have a consistent walk with Jesus. Consistent in your time spent with him, consistent in your prayer life, and making honoring him with your life a priority.
That way there is no frantic, and often selfishly driven desire to hear from God. Imagine: it’s time for a big decision, but your relationship with God doesn’t need to change.
Of course, it could cause for some extended times of prayer, but as a whole your routine is largely unaffected because you are already seeking him in your everyday life. This reduces a lot of stress.
3. Make a decision
Not making a decision is still making a decision. Trying to decide if you should switch careers but aren’t sure so keep staying where you are at? Well you’ve made a decision but are still stressing about making a decision.
Staying at your current job means, at the moment, that you aren’t going to switch careers. Yet because you haven’t actually decided to not switch careers, the anxiety over what decision you should make is still looming over you. So in effect you have made a decision but still feel like you haven’t.
Sometimes you just won’t know until you try it. Other times you need to decide to say no, not say “no” by not deciding.
Personally, I have yet to run into a situation where I strongly felt God leading one way, but had everyone that I trust tell me differently. And this is where having a genuine and consistent relationship with God is so important.
There have been times where some were undecided or maybe even discouraging to a desire I had, while others affirmed it. In those cases where I have personally felt lead by God and had at least a few advisors encourage me while some discouraged, I have gone through with what I felt God leading.
If I was feeling one way about something, and everyone I trusted told me differently, I really doubt I would go through with it at that time.
The reality is “God told me to do it” is really subjective. And it may be true God wants you to do something. But if that desire isn’t coming from out of a strong relationship with him and is against all wise counsel, I personally don’t see it as something God really wants for you to do. At least not right now.
So there it is. In the end faith is still involved, so no matter what you decide, there will still be an element of uncertainty.