Recently I was offered an opportunity many would consider huge and crazy not to take. It was something three years ago I would have not even hesitated to jump at and take, but at this point in my walk with God I realized it would be unwise to jump in so quickly or to even accept it at all.
I am writing about this because I realized the many thoughts and feelings were running through my head and heart and though the answer should have been easy, I can honestly say I waxed and waned. Thanks to God and His gentle tugging and love I was able to make the best decision and the decision I know pleased God over all.
We have all had to make hard decisions or will have to at one time or another in our lives. What I have learned recently is we must be prepared to make the correct decision. I wanted to share with you the things I learned through this particular process in hopes of helping you in the future or perhaps right now if you are dealing with the same thing.
First and foremost, will the opportunity further God's Kingdom or glorify Him in any way? This is where I struggled a bit because even though the opportunity was worldly and in an ungodly environment, I questioned if God would want me there to spread who He is and His love in a place that needed Him most.
Here is what I found, though it may seem rational and possible, we need to dig deeper by asking ourselves these questions:
- Is that environment going to tempt me to sin and/or fall away from God?
- Do I have peace about going into this opportunity?
- Who am I ultimately trying to please?
- Is it in line with what God ultimately has for your life?
Pray and keep praying. Pray for discernment, clarity and peace. I prayed a lot and I wrestled with my own flesh and what I considered to further (myself and my success), and God whispered something to me over and over again: “Do you trust me or the opportunity?” At this moment I had my answer.
Don’t rationalize against the Holy Spirit; lean into the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will usually go against your logic because it goes against the flesh; our flesh.
Is it really an answer to prayer or a counterfeit opportunity?
One thing we have to remember is that satan answers prayers to. As the quote says, “the devil doesn't come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns. He comes as everything you've ever wished for.” The funny thing is a few days before the opportunity I referenced to in the beginning, I had been praying about my calling and how I could align and marry my God-given talents with my burning hearts desire. Satan’s greatest tactic is the ability to twist and re-word things; don’t fall for it like Eve did.
Seek Godly counsel. It is crucial to have godly people in your life you trust and who can pray for you as well as help you in making godly decisions. But remember, always go to God first and listen to Him ultimately.
Pride comes before the fall, so it is best to keep pride out of it and make it a non-factor. Pride is ego and will make you do insignificant things for validation or approval or for what the world sees as a big payoff. Oswald Chambers said, “It is arduous work to keep the masters ambition in front. It means holding one’s self to the high ideal, not being ambitious to win souls or to establish churches, but being ambitious only to be ‘accepted of Him’ (God).” He also goes on to say we need to, “learn to discern where the ambition leads.”
Who do you want to please others, yourself or God?
For a majority of my life I was a people pleaser who cringed at the thought of having to say, “no.” I did not like the feeling of having to give someone the answer of, “no” so I avoided it and usually said yes and then ran myself ragged attempting to please them all the while I would secretly harbor animosity towards them. I questioned why it was so incredibly hard to turn people down; was it the fear or rejection? The loss of love? Or was it that others may think that by answering, "no" I did not care for them? I never wanted anyone to think I did not care for them. I have since learned I want to please and glorify God; not man. I no longer need to spend my time worrying about what I will lose by saying no, because God has it all covered and what He has for me will always be for me and will not pass me by.
Once you've made your decision, don't waiver or be tossed back and forth like the sea; stand firm and do not look back.
“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6 NASB)
Making hard decisions will be challenging, but after a while of continually making the hard decisions (yet good decisions) it becomes easier because it becomes a habit and eventually will become more organic.
“It is not our business to succeed, but to do right. The rest lies with God.” - C.S. Lewis