It’s been a tiring few weeks. I always know when I’m going through a tough time, because I can’t seem to write. I can sit at the keyboard, my hands poised, and my fingers just float aimlessly. I struggle to make one sentence, let alone a page. My brain just can’t seem to make syntax or meaning or anything other than question marks. It’s been like that for a few weeks, and all of that confusion and those long pauses have been because of many things, but mostly because of a decision I had to make.
Have you ever had a decision that hung over you like an angry dementor? That felt as if it was sucking the energy and reason out of you? Well, that’s what it’s been like. To some that might seem like an exaggeration, but there it is. Being exhausted as I am right now has no doubt made the decision seem more difficult than it might have been otherwise. I’ve had many decisions and difficult choices to make over the years, as anyone has. This recent decision was by no means the most difficult, and in comparison to those others face it pales in insignificance. But for me, it has felt big. What’s been worse than the decision this time, though, has been the complete confusion I’ve felt over it.
I have approached any important decisions in my life the same way: with prayer. I’ve always gone to God first to lead the way. I did that this time, but for the first time I was met with silence. I mean really, no clue. At. All. I was praying morning and night, day after day, talking to Christian family, journaling my prayers and thoughts, reading scripture after scripture, and still came up blank. For the first time, I didn’t feel God leading me in any one direction. If anything, I had too many paths and none was standing out.
The times when God answers our prayers only with silence can be tough. They can be frustrating. They can be faith-testing. They can lead you, like me, to tears. And it’s so easy at those times to think God is absent, that He’s taking a break from your life and not listening at all.
I have felt like that over the past few weeks. It has worn me down. But what I have struggled with more is how frustrated I have felt with God. Why can’t you just give me a clue? I’ve cried out. I’m only trying to go your way – why can’t you just give me some sign or feeling or word to help me out?
I returned to an old favorite verse in this decision-making time for some guidance. At first, I’ll be honest, it didn’t help: if anything, it made me even more frustrated. Don’t try to figure out everything on your own, the verse says. That’s exactly what I was doing, so why was God not helping me figure it out?
But then, I read on:
I spoke to a very wise, very wonderful, Christian friend this week, and she helped me to see the meaning of this verse for me right now. ‘Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, every where you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track’ (Proverbs 3:6 MSG). If I am not feeling led in any one direction in my decision-making process, perhaps that is because, she suggested, either way is okay with God. Whichever path I choose right now, God will make that path straight and help me grow more Christ-like as I travel down it. Maybe it isn’t, like I had been so hung up on, a case of only one way being God’s way. God will lead me either way: so long as I submit to Him.
So I made my decision. Maybe I will regret missing out on one of the paths later down the road. Or maybe I won’t. But either way, I know God will be walking with me and I can do great things for His glory as we walk together. After that realization, my prayers changed. Instead of praying, ‘Lord, help me make a decision’, I began to prayer, ‘Lord, give me peace with my decision’. Not just any old peace, but the peace only God can give, the peaces that passes understanding.
I know there will be some who will be unhappy with my decision, who will think I’ve missed out on a good thing and took a risk that may not prove fruitful. But it has been my decision. Maybe that was what God wanted: for me to choose. Maybe He knows me well enough to know that with my stubborn streak, I’ll make it work. Maybe He wanted me to choose risk over financial stability. Maybe He wanted to remind me that silence is a part of our conversation. Or maybe, it was His plan all along for me to choose the path I have chosen. All that’s left for me to do now is trust Him and walk along this path for His glory. Now that I can do 🙂