Have you ever worried about praying wrong? As we approach the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, I recall all the times I’ve wondered, Am I praying wrong. Am I praying for the right things? And so it goes.
I suspect we all face that same question when we pray at times on this journey to live an authentic life with abundant faith. We wish we could stop worrying about getting it right and start praying with confidence for what we know God wants.
But how do we know what God wants? And so the worrying begins.
Because of our natural human fixation on “the seen,” we tend to think only of the impact of our story in this brief season of our existence: the here and now.
Although that impact is not unimportant, as immortal beings we should be far more concerned with how our story will sound when it is told there and then, in that next season of existence that will extend through all eternity.
Ok. I admit it. I’m a liar. Or am I? Funny thing about liars. No one believes them even when they do tell the truth. Which I am doing right now. I think.
If only I could be authentic and stop lying — to myself.
Here’s my problem. I am quite conscientious about speaking the truth to others–to you, for example. I’d put up with a lot of hurt to speak the truth to you. That’s not the problem.
It’s when I talk to myself–inside, where no one else can hear – that I struggle to speak the truth. I am all about being authentic with others, but I struggle being authentic with myself.
Weird, I know. But maybe you feel the same way.
I encountered some verses in Psalm 16 this morning that got my attention for they seemed to ask me: “Do you always start the day with God before you?”
I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope…. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (8,9,11)
When I asked myself that question, I confess that I didn’t like the awkward silence that followed. All too often I feel as if I am out in front, taking the lead and hoping that God can keep up. It’s silly, I know, but maybe you do the same thing from time to time?
When you’re thinking about stepping out in a new life direction, you should get advice. But be careful whom you ask for input. Not everyone is qualified to give you guidance about stepping out by faith.
I mention the need to get wise and experienced counsel in Episode 10 of The FaithWalker’s Podcast.
There may be voices in our life that we respect, but if they have never attempted to do what we are contemplating, we should take their input with a grain of salt.
When you’re considering stepping out in a new life direction, you should not expect it to always be easy. There is a learning curve that each of us must experience at the start of anything new.
The curve can be scary when you’re in it, even bewildering and disorienting. That is normal.
Let me repeat that: it is normal to find the curve to be challenging.
Following your new life direction will be scary at times. You will experience turbulence.
When you step out in a new life direction it is almost always going to be harder than you thought it would be.
What are you good at? Isn’t that the classic question people ask you when you’re trying to figure out your life direction? It’s not a bad question, but it’s not enough. We need to start by figuring out our strengths.
It took me five years to figure out my strengths. It doesn’t have to take you that long.
I worked it in between running a school, getting my MBA, and engaging a family of five or six–however many kids we had at the time. I didn’t get intentional about it, partly because I didn’t get to it until later in life.
You’ve probably heard it said that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. And usually that’s true. Except when we’re considering our life story – and God is involved.
Think about it.
God’s redemptive story has unfolded throughout history with a singular purpose, but it has often taken a circuitous route, twisting and turning unexpectedly, even doubling back on itself at times.
Or so it seems to us.
I had another post planned for today to help equip you to live an authentic life. I love hearing from all of you who let me know the faith challenges you face. I then prayerfully plan posts, podcasts, and other resources (in the works) to help you get clarity and confidence for living the Christian life. But today I wanted to share a few thoughts about how to get there from here.
I’ve recently had a number of conversations with people seeking clarity on life direction, something we all crave.
Marriage is one of the big ones. Most decisions in life don’t come close to it for life-altering consequences. What to wear, what to eat, how fast to drive, even what job or career to pursue pales in comparison. The potential implications of this question are staggering: How do I know if God wants me to marry this person?
Make the wrong decision when it comes to marriage and it can leave a mark for your entire life — and beyond, really, as children deal with the aftermath for generations.
No pressure; just pointing out what you already know if you are trying to figure out what God wants next for your life when it comes to getting married.