Sometimes, God leads and guides us with a clear calling. Sometimes, the path is not so obvious, and we need clarity. And sometimes, we need to decide for ourselves.
“You Need to Choose for Yourself”
As I was growing up, I’ve always had the Holy Spirit guide my important decisions one way or the other. Subtle pulls on my heart that I learned to recognize as the voice of God. Whenever I had a significant decision to make, I would spend time in prayer or reading the Word. At some point, I would feel the Holy Spirit direct me. But there was one time I didn’t hear God’s voice, and I wasn’t sure what to do.
There was a life-changing decision I needed to make in the summer of 2006. I had prayed, and I had sought God’s Word and wise counsel, but I was not feeling the familiar tug on my heart from the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know what I should do. For the first time, God was not giving me clear instructions. I kept asking God for His wisdom and His guidance, but it did not come.
One day, towards the end of the summer, and only a few weeks away from when I needed to make my final decision, I was at a friend’s birthday party. My mind was heavy with indecision and confusion. Why was God ignoring me? I left the party and paced my friend’s backyard and prayed. For what felt like the 1,000th time, I asked God what I should do. He finally spoke to me.
It was not audible, but it was as close to physically hearing the voice of God I have ever gotten. I heard it like a bell my heart, and I knew it was the voice of the Father speaking to me. I remember His words clear as day, He said, “I will not always tell you what to do. You need to choose for yourself.”
God had given me a clear and direct order to choose for myself. Up until that moment, alone in a friend’s backyard, God had been holding my hands and teaching me to walk like a parent does for their child. But soon, every parent needs to let go and allow their child to take steps on their own. God was letting go. He did not leave me; He is still nearby to catch me when I fall and make sure I won’t hurt myself. But I needed to start walking and thinking for myself. It was a pivotal moment in my life.
Christians have agency. God did not create robots. He wouldn’t have given us free will if He wanted automatons to worship Him mindlessly. He wants us to choose to love and worship Him. And yes, sometimes we make bad decisions. We repent, ask for forgiveness, and do our best to correct our mistakes. We learn to walk on our own.
That day, God was showing me that He trusted me to make my own decisions, and at that moment, I knew that God was correct. I needed to make a choice. God wasn’t going to hand feed me anymore. He would continue to guide me when I needed it, but He was allowing me to take the reins of my own life and choose what I would do. The agency to live my life, as it were. If I made the right choice, then all would be well. If I chose poorly, I would soon know and have to course-correct and probably learn something along the way.
I Made My Choice
That day in the backyard, joy and peace filled my heart! I didn’t know what direction God wanted me to go in, but I knew what God wanted me to do. He wanted me to make a choice. So, I did. It not only ended up being the right choice but one of the best decisions I ever made.
God is omniscient, omnipresent, and outside of time. He knows what we will do. Not because we don’t have agency, but because God already knows the outcome of what we will choose. The choice is still ours to make.
There comes a point in every Christian’s life where God will stop making decisions for you. You need to learn to walk on your own. And when that time comes, you may not feel God’s nudges as clearly as you once did. Maybe that’s His way of telling you that it’s time to make some decisions for yourself.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)
God wants the best for us, and when we’re in tune with His will, He will not steer us in the wrong direction. But when the times comes that we need to make a decision and God isn’t nudging us, that’s the time to choose for yourself.
Has there been a time in your life when you realized that God was urging you to choose for yourself? Tell us in the comment section below.