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Spirit lead me
where my trust is without borders
let me walk upon the waters
wherever you would call me
take me deeper than my feet
could ever wander
and my faith will be made
in the presence of my
-Oceans by Hillsong
How do I know that I’m following God’s will for my life? I’ve made some important decisions over the past few months that I feel God is in. They were choices that led me away from the familiar and were wrought with questioning and prayer and conversations with trusted souls in my life. What seemed to others as difficult decision-making actually brought me a sense of peace, freedom, and relief. I was led. Now, these experiences have definitely brought a different sense of peace than I’ve experienced before. Instead of feeling certain about what lies ahead, my sense of peace lies in leaving things behind. I have a peace about NOT continuing in the familiar and a desire to let go of the comfortable. This is definitely an unfamiliar path.
I resigned from a major leadership position in my church a few months ago. It was a three-year commitment, for which I was only a year and a half into my term. This was not a decision I made lightly. I’m a commitment kinda girl. But, I walked away. I ignored the people-pleasing voices in my head that told me I would disappoint others and listened instead to the louder Voice that I needed to let go and trust Him. I’ve never let go without the next step clearly in front of me. I’ve always had the open door awaiting me, where letting go of the former led almost immediately into what was next.
This part of my life’s journey is closest to what I experienced when I moved out of state over a decade ago to begin a new career, a new life. I entered into that final phase of growing up and being out on my own. I left my family, my friends, my job and moved three states away to a city where I had never been. My discernment of God’s will was more powerful than I had ever experienced. I couldn’t explain how I knew it was the next step for my life, I just had a deep inner knowing that was undeniable. Total trust. Connectedness. I didn’t overthink it or enter into fear . . . I just went.
Be strong and courageous; be not frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9
This week, I let go again. I gave up the comfortable and familiar, something that I enjoy, something that I’ve ‘always done,’ something that defines part of who I am. I backed away from the music ministry at my church. I handed over my weekly commitment of making music on Wednesday evenings, something I’ve done for the past 25 years, and said I would not return. I’m not sad, I’m not excited, I’m not questioning my decision. I DO question what God is up to. I haven’t felt Him in my music-making for close to six months. It’s an absence that makes every difference in the world in how I play. The vibrancy just isn’t there. Instead of bringing a sense of peace and connectedness to Him, it has brought me pressure and stress. I have to wonder if God wants to use my OUR music in a new way.
Gosh, I hope I’ve made the right decisions so far. I’ve had unparalleled certainty in the past, only to discover that what I thought was ‘the plan’ wasn’t. I’ve been sure that His steps were my steps and was certain we were journeying together. But, I’m realizing that maybe in those experiences, it wasn’t MY plan. . . it was HIS plan instead. When the path I choose doesn’t end where I think it will. Maybe those experiences are an unexpected answered prayer. What if the path I take doesn’t lead me where I want it to go, but instead leads to where God intended for me to be instead? If He answers my prayers according to His will, will I recognize them as answered prayers? Having the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I realize that God is always on this journey with me and my once-thought wayward discernment didn’t led me astray after all. I truly believe that God weaves my path into His plan, even when I head in a direction that veers off course. This is the promise I hold on to when the seemingly ‘wrong’ decisions of my past replay in my mind. He has answered my prayers in unexpected ways that sometimes take time to identify as blessings.
In my life, there are few ‘forever decisions.’ Most of my decisions aren’t permanent and that takes the pressure off as I live into my choices, leave things behind and continue into what’s next. I don’t know His timing. I don’t know where He’s leading me. I don’t know how He’s equipping me to serve. I’m just open and ready and floating from one new experience to the next. I don’t think He wants me to land just yet.