I remember when I had a decision to make of staying on the west coast or moving my four children to the east, closer to family and away from the greatest tragedy of our lives.
I stalled for months. When it comes to big decisions, how does one know?
I know I’m not the only one who has difficulty feeling confident with major decision making. But especially as an Amish girl, taught to serve, obey, and submit my will to men, I really wasn’t prepared to face the world when I grew older.
Decision making threw me into a panic. But I’ve learned some things since then that I’d love to share with you because they’ve brought me such peace.
1. You can’t always wait to make a decision until all your fears or questions are gone.
Sometimes God leads you to move into something in spite of questions or fears. As with the case for moving my children from Washington state to North Carolina, all I knew was that something needed to change and we needed help. So, I put my faith in Jesus and decided to put in a legal request and trust that God’s will would manifest in the court’s decision.
The day our lawyers fought like cats and dogs over mine and the children’s future was stressful enough to put me into bed for a few hours. The court session ended with no answers except that the judge would keep looking into the situation and get back to us. I waited for days, then suddenly picked up the phone to my attorney’s voice, “Sara, you can move.”
One sentence changed everything.
I still didn’t feel confident but trusted that God knew all things. In the next three weeks I packed up our 3400 square foot home, sold most of our belongings, cleaned out the large shop building, purchased plane tickets, and made the arrangements online to move into a rental we had never seen, in an area where we knew only one other family.
As my therapist always said, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
See this—my confidence had to shift from my own fallible self to a good Father God who knew all things and watched over us night and day.
Two years later I see what God saw all along. I’m sitting here smiling, realizing how He was putting pieces together for a better life, long before I knew. He led us to the right church, people, places, and things.
Always remember that courage is not the absence of fear; courage is moving forward in spite of fear. So if there’s a decision to make today, lean into it and make the best one you know how to make. Trust God to fill in any gaps you don’t see, just as you do for your own children.
Move carefully, but always make sure that you’re not giving in to paralysis from analysis.
We can paralyze ourselves from moving into God’s will for us because we’re so afraid of being out of His will. There’s a much better way to live—a way of confidence even while questions remain. Sometimes it takes moving forward to make the cowardly fear slink back into the shadows while the peace of God becomes stronger and stronger.
Immobility can cause even greater havoc in our circumstances or our hearts. Yet, we stay immobile out of fear because we’re so afraid of doing the wrong thing. Interesting, is it not? Satan loves to get us huddled in fear and sorrow when we could be moving in light and joy. Seeing the goodness and grace of God sets us free from immobilizing fear.
2. If the decision to make involves right or wrong, and you’re not sure what is right, look at scripture first.
Feelings are fallible, our minds can trick us, and people can lead us wrongly. But God’s written Word brings light from heaven that will never change or leave.
I was listening to a podcast in my car one day, sent to me by someone who wanted me to believe something was right, when suddenly a car in front of me swerved left with these words on the bumper, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
In that moment I realized that I couldn’t base my personal convictions off any preacher or person’s interpretation of scripture, but on scripture itself. I ended up realizing how “off” the speaker was and how I could not embrace what he taught. And as time went by I found increasing peace in what scripture plainly taught because I put God’s word above all human opinions of His word.
God may use dreams, a sense of personal peace, other people, pastors and speakers to help us determine His will. But His will is never opposing scripture. If someone differs from scripture or your own feelings differ from scripture, always fall back on the Word of God and require your feelings to subject themselves to God.
Don’t listen to people who say, “God would never require that of you.” The truth is, God does sometimes lead us down difficult paths. His way is narrow and He does ask hard things of His children sometimes. But He’s there to carry us along and we find His peace better than any easier way of our own.
In this way, you build a foundation that will never be shaken. Feelings change, people’s opinions vary—but the Word of God stands forever.
“Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
And the rains fell and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24&25)
I love and appreciate the fact that I am no slave to my own opinion or feelings. God’s will always sets me free to live a full and abundant life when my own emotions would take me down or lead me into things not lining up to the best life He has for me.
God is always freedom. Saying yes to His will can only bring you upward and onward.
3. Never stay stuck in a place of fear.
Immobility and isolation is one of Satan’s greatest tactics. But when God is at work, things move, change, and bring us into community with others.
I want us to know that putting God in a box is degrading the magnitude of Christ. When Christians hold to standards not found in the Word of God, they do not allow God to move as He’s able.
With Christ, there is wisdom but there are no boxes. If two young Christians decide to join a Christian dating app, rather than freak out, pray for them. When a seemingly positive answer comes along, help them process. Do away with the “Thou shalt nots” (unless it’s in the Bible), and replace them with a constant anticipation of watching God do something for the good of those He loves.
The shift in thinking is life giving to all those around you but immediate and swift judgment and standards on things Christ doesn’t even bother mentioning is oppressive to everyone around you.
Many, many Christians exercise control out of fear. The “will of God” becomes an excuse to push people away, create boxes, draw lines, and limit a magnificent Christ Who loves to work wonders in many different ways.
Mobilize yourself into love and keep an open mind to watching God at work in ways you didn’t expect or think of as “normal”.
And remember to back everything up to the Word of God. His no is not deprivation, but always an invitation to a better yes!
When you see all God says yes to, you can easily surrender when He says no. But if you’re immobile out of fear, you will be missing out on the goodness of God and in that way, fall more easily into wrong posture of heart or even sin.
Creating our own boxes keeps us in a box where we don’t see God move and are incapable of living His true will. There, we fall prey to unbelief, fear, depression, and judgment. All the while, God is moving in circles of LIGHT, LIFE, and LOVE where He invites us to join Him as we step out of fear and into His heart.
Stay when He tells you to stay, but remember that, even as you stay, He will move you into good. God is always on the move.
When your circumstances don’t change, remember that God is moving to change your heart. And a heart changed by a moving, loving, intimate Father God is the greatest move of all.
Stay in Grace, release control, have courage in spite of fear, and lean heavily into Jesus where all is grace.
Until next time,