John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. John 3:27
Prayer of Discernment
I am involved in many things but my heart is not. There are things I want to quit and directions I want to move but I feel stuck. I am paralyzed by the fear that if I make the wrong move, that you will be disappointed in me. Shed light on those things Lord that are yours, that you want me to keep. Show me where the divine is and where it is not. Show me if the things that I am involved with come from my own making or your loving hand. Help me to let go of the things that need to move so that you can prepare me for the things that are of you. And show me Lord where envy and pride reside in my heart so that I can rid myself of it with your help.
In Jesus Name, Amen
We do not control Providence
One man succeeds and another does not, even though they may have the same skill set. Providence is a mystery. Trying to understand the ways of God is like trying to understand why you were born on a specific day. It was what God willed. These are like pieces to a puzzle whose picture will be completed in heaven.
Here on earth our focus should not be on providence, but on cooperating with the will of God.
We often sit to ponder or discern why this person received this particular blessing, why they have money and we do not, why even when we try so hard we just cannot seem to get the thing that we have been striving for. These are the places we have to discern. If we are striving, if it seems too hard, we must ask, are these things rooted in Christ or in envy? When we dissect the source, really look at it, our answers might be both heart breaking and surprising, but this is what we need. Our motives are suspicious.
God wants us to question everything
Am I self-seeking or Christ- seeking? I once heard a wonderful analogy about discerning the will of God: Fish do not swim against the current they swim with it. Think of yourself in that very same way. Does this thing, Does this want or desire I have seem to fit with the flow of the stream or am I swimming in the wrong direction against the current? In cooperating with God’s will, we will feel the steady stream, the ease of swimming with the current and not against it, even if it wasn’t what we anticipated.
Recently, I stepped down from a position that was close to my heart. God handed me the position. It happened quickly, overnight. It was a flash of lightning. I was successful at it just by being me. I certainly was not the most qualified and I never applied for the position. In fact, it was not a position. It didn’t even exist before I was there.
Sitting down to discern, I pulled away by God’s design and calling. I did not think I would return. I emailed out my resignation and began to let go. But I missed it like a mother misses her child. It was more than a position to me, it was divine. What was I doing? I continued to follow God’s voice and call. Then a change.
Nobody acknowledged my resignation. It was as if I never sent it. It was get -back- to -work- and -quickly. It was no- time -to- think. I watched God’s providential hand reach down and grab me, placing me directly, squarely in the center of that universe. The position could be no one else’s because it was mine- created divinely for me. And every created position, job, success, assignment has the same end goal- the salvation of souls, it just looks different on different people. It is a vast wardrobe- your coat is different and does not look like mine. I should not envy yours. It is a waste of energy, I will never wear it anyway. It is not designed for me. It will not fit me. It was made for you.
These thoughts gave me energy, meaning, feeling, perspective. I was free to do the thing that God created me to do. I could apply this insight to all of the things I have on my plate in this moment- Is this of God’s making or mine?
Frustration and lack of want does not necessarily indicate it is not of God, it may very well be that it is exactly where God wants you to be. Like trying to quit a job a thousand times only to end up in the same position.
Put your feet firmly down on the ground and dig in. Sit in that space. What is easy and what is hard? What is God saying? Are you swimming against the divine current? All of these are good questions to bring to His ears in prayer.
Sit still… hear that? It is your answer.