Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
The great American poet, Robert Frost, in his poem "The Road Not Taken" echos Dorothy angst about going in the right direction. Sometimes it's harder to know which is scarier, standing still, not knowing which direction to go, or going in the wrong direction, just ask the Scarecrow. In Psalm 119, the writer tells us how to know which way to go. Still, where in the "Word" can we find the answers we are searching for? Even the most studious Bible scholars can get stumped trying to use the Word to discern direction.
I'm not claiming to be the most studious Bible scholar, not even close. What I do know is my shortcomings do not dictate God's actions, or His interventions into our lives when we seek Him with our whole hearts ("for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust", Psalm 103: 114). Sometimes our choices are distinctly marked and we can see at least a little down the road. Other times, the distance to the destination may be clearly indicated, but there seem to be twists and turns along the way. Let's face it, folks, either way the decision of which way to go can be a challenge, especially with the major decisions like which college to attend, whether to get married now or later, which white top to wear today. You know, the really big stuff.
Launching into this new journey of writing, Tom and I have lots of decisions to make. It could be overwhelming, but so far it doesn't seem to be. Retiring from public education is a life-changing event, and in my state, there's basically no going back once you file the papers. But, like I shared with Mary recently, when I seem to be getting the same message from multiple sources in a short amount of time, it usually means God wants me to pay close attention. (Can we go with that, since thinking God may think I'm a little dense doesn't sound very flattering to my delicate ego?)
In the last month, nearly every preacher I have listened to, live and via media, have all said basically the same thing: God doesn't typically talk to us in an audible voice, skywriting, magic billboards, or anything else that flamboyant. One of my favorite preachers, Joyce Meyer, says "you know that you know that you". Creflo Dollar said it's knowing in your gut that it's something you just have to do. Even the devotional I'm reading now, Opening the Doors to Your God-Sized Dream by Holley Gerth, and many of the Scriptures in my personal Bible study have said the same thing the psalmist tells us:
The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.
This past week, as I was working on and researching for a blog post, a new opportunity presented itself. I researched the opportunity, maybe a little more for Tom than for me, then prayed, and waited for that scary feeling in my stomach and for my head to explode. But guess what? That's right, it didn't happen! Let me tell you, for this gal, that's a huge step! Once again, the Lord has shown His everlasting patience with me as He's tried every which way to drill it into my heart and head that trust is a two way street with Him. The more trust I put in Him, the more He puts in me. Is that amazing, or what?
Anyway, instead of taking two weeks, talking a decision to death, and more often that I would like to admit, letting an opportunity slip through our fingers, Tom and I had one quiet conversation and were both confident about forging ahead. (BTW, it's a huge step for hubby, too!) I am content to have taken a leap of faith, trusting the Lord will walk with us on the path, and knowing He "is the One who holds (our) hand(s)."
Committing to a publisher and submitting my manuscript are no guarantees of success, and there may be days when trusting Lord gets a little shaky for me. Those days will be a good time to go back to the Word, to be reassured by Proverbs 3:5-6 (Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.). Or return to one of my favorite passages in Psalm 91 (Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. v. 14-15) Believe me, I'm preaching to me, not to you. I need all the reminders I can get. You should see the Scriptures taped to my bathroom mirror to help me keep my heart and mind on the right path.
Are you rocking back on your heels, or feel like your toes are hanging over the edge as you ponder which direction to go? What helps you discern the Lord's will on matters large and small? What advice would you give the Scarecrow about decision-making?
excerpt from THE ROAD NOT TAKEN by Robert Frost
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.