How can you know God’s plan for your family? Career choices, decisions about where to live, what type house to buy, how to spend you time…. these are huge, life-altering issues that should be carefully considered. How do you balance exercising wisdom with trust in God’s powerful plan and provision? Over the years, Hannah and I have developed a process for thinking about life’s big choices. This method doesn’t make tough decisions any easier but it does provide a systematic framework and checklist for organizing you thoughts.
When you’re not sure what do next, here are six places to look for guidance:
- UP TO HEAVEN: Turning our attention upward to the Lord in prayer is the first and most important step making a God-honoring decision (Hebrews 12:2). God infallibly leads his people through the soft, still whispers of his Spirit, which can often be heard through prayer and patient listening. Pray for discernment, for wisdom and for the courage to step out if faith because you will need all three. As in the days of Noah, God’s calling (to build the ark) often comes before the clarity (when the storm would come) and we are asked to step out in humble, simple, obedient faith.
- INTO YOUR HEART: Psalms 37:4 tells us that God has put desires into the hearts of men. These desires, when separated from the selfish ones, are good and should be paid attention to. Paul reminds us that all men are created with unique gifts and talents that form our passions (Ephesians 4:11). The desires and passions inside of us should be identified, tested and leveraged for the kingdom of God.
- AROUND FOR WISE COUNCIL: Proverbs says that wise men look for the advice of others (“He who walks with the wise grows wise,” Proverbs 13:20). A decision made in a vacuum is rarely a good decision. Look for people who are Godly, seasoned, experienced, who know you well and ask their opinion. It should also go without saying that some of the best council you could ever seek is that of your wife. She knows you and your family better than anybody – LISTEN TO HER.
- DOWN AT YOUR CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES: God oftentimes uses our present situation to focus our attentions on what’s next. There can be limiting family, financial or feasibility issues that make it difficult to pursue a particular course of action. When your circumstances have you hitting closed doors, thank God for his leading and start looking for the open ones.
- BACK AT YOUR EXPERIENCES: One of my dad’s favorite sayings is, “God is always preparing His people.” The doors God has opened in the past and the experiences you’ve been given can be great hints as to the trajectory God might have for you in the days ahead. Luke 12:48 speaks to this reality when the Jesus reminds us that we are to be good stewards of all we’ve been given. What talents, training and experiences have you been given? How can you use those things for the glory of God’s name in the next decision you make?
- AT GOD’S WORD: The Bible is the standard of all truth. It reminds us of what’s most important, of what our values and priorities should be and what our family should stand for. Matthew 6:33 talks of “seeking first His kingdom” in all that we do, suggesting each decision we make should be filtered through a perspective that holds Christ’s kingdom and God’s glory as top priorities. I believe Micah 6:8 summaries God’s instructions to his people throughout the entire Bible on how to see His “kingdom come” and “will be done” during our time on Earth. When you’re not sure what to do next, make sure your next decision lines up with God’s call to live with justice, mercy and humility in mind.