“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going, I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.” Thomas Merton
Can you relate to this thought? Do you sometimes wonder what God’s direction is for your season or even your life?
This thought is not coming from a spiritual lightweight, but Thomas Merton! A giant in the faith!
Greg Garrett shares this thought in his book, [amazon_link id=”B005SJ1WS2″ target=”_blank” ]No Idea: Entrusting Your Journey to a God Who Knows.[/amazon_link]
He shares how discerning the will of God for our lives is always a challenge.
“…any attempt to know what God is trying to tell us is complicated by the fact that God rarely writes down his desires for us on a slip of paper and hands it to us.”
Garrett shares a few principles to help us as we discern what God has for us.
1. Get out of the Way. Be totally committed to God first.
“It was Augustine who famously said, “Love God and do what you will.”…you might expect that to be a license for bad behavior…what he meant, if you love God completely and totally, if your values are God-values, then the choices you make will tend to be in tune with His will in your life”
2. Pray. Prayer changes things, even changing us and making us open to things we previously were not considering.
3. Use the good mind God has given you. Do not neglect the gifts, talents, and abilities God has built into your life. This is why I never feel like God is calling me to something in the arts. It just is not going to happen when I look in the mirror!
4. Be Aware. Listen to all the ways in which God speaks, not merely when the words of future direction supernaturally appear in the sky!
- Read the Bible a lot and allow it to speak to you.
- Listen to other people in your life. Decisions are not made in a vacuum.
- Listen to God in the ordinary. Does a blog resonate with you, a message at church, or even something you see in a movie.
5. Lean on Community. In our increasingly individual society, we can tend to go it alone. This is the heart of every body analogy in Scripture.
Parker Palmer says, “when we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, we will know it because we will be energized by it, joyful in it.”
“Simply put: Does the path you’re on bring you joy or pain?”
Even when it is difficult, is there a sense of fulfillment? This does not mean you love every minute or the tiny details of every task. But in a really broad sense; are you content?
Greg Garrett shares the end of Thomas Merton’s prayer:
“You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always” (from Thoughts in Solitude 1999)
He wraps up this chapter with these words,
“it’s my own resolve to go on believing and trusting, and to keep my feet moving on the path, so that up around the next bend or over the next rise, maybe what God has in store for me will come into view”
Let us continue to put one foot in front of the other in pursuit of God’s plan for our days, years, and lives.
[amazon_image id=”B005SJ1WS2″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]No Idea: Entrusting Your Journey to a God Who Knows[/amazon_image]
Photo credit: After this, I give up. Probably. via photopin (license)