In the past my mind was very carnal in its orientation, which meant my decisions were dominated by my sinful nature. My thoughts were mostly devious and a majority of my relationships were related, in one manner or another, to whatever industry I was enmeshed in. I have yet to master the art of keeping my work and social life separate. For that matter, I do not believe I have ever attempted to do so. That said, career plans and motives weighed in the heaviest in all deliberations. For example, sometimes I would participate with deals or projects I had no other interest in except for their networking potential. So even though my body of work would initially take a bruising in the short term, I would risk it for the latent long-term prospects.
I still hold a similar calculated risk frame of mind in my approach to following the Lord’s leading in major decisions. When calculating risks these days I do so with a “blue-print school” of reasoning, however, I do not subscribe one hundred percent to the schools persuasion with regard to God having a perfect plan or blueprint for each person’s life. My humble opinion is that God will use us for the preservation or advancement of His kingdom, in as much as we are willing and capable. We are all subject to the same crucible of trial and tribulation, which ultimately proves the quality of our faith.
I loosely hold that God is the master of all destinies but has not masterminded all destinies. I say loosely because I had never considered any of this before. Now that I am considering it, I realize this is my soft position on the matter. I believe one’s focus and intentionality contribute more to a person’s life than the notion of a perfect plan. That is to say, as a principle not a promise, one usually reaps what one sows. For all that, I do prayerfully seek external signs, open doors, and the counsel of others when endeavoring to discern God’s perfect will. All the meanwhile I also listen for the Holy Spirit’s say in the matter.
Not that I have ever sensed the Spirit talking to me, like, “Hey, dummy, over this way. What are you thinking about going over there for?” Rather I perceive either spiritual peace or unrest when considering one course of action over others. My point of reference for how the Spirit is composed in my soul is when I enter into an area racked with demonic strongholds vs. a sanctuary. In the former, my soul becomes hyper-alert and on guard. In the latter, my soul has the ease of one being bathed in perfection. So it is in my spiritual discerning of major decisions.
For example, I recently made some major decisions about changing jobs, moving to another city, and entering into a seminary program. I had more than one option with all three bones of contention. When considering my options I knew that staying put was not a viable choice. I had to get another job. I had to move. I had to begin applying for seminary programs. My landlady loved me and hated to see me go. My manager at Starbucks 580 the time (SHOUTOUT) was frustrated because he had been grooming me for leadership. I had just finished an intense three and half year undergrad program and thought I had education enough to grow a proper career.
On all three counts, I distinctly felt God’s leading me away from my comfort zones into a new work with Him. The thought of remaining still while being called out distressed my spirit in a very real way. Not pain or unrest but kind of like more of me was far off and waiting for me to come be whole with it. But it would not come to me, I had to go to it. If I considered an option that would not lead me to it, then there would be a disconnected amputated sensation. Like I had been cut off and something would be lost. For example, when deliberating seminaries and seminary programs I had no sense of spiritual equanimity until I landed on Talbot’s Master of Divinity program with an emphasis on evangelism and discipleship. Narrowing down the options turned out to be seven month process. I am extremely grateful that the admittance board made exceptions for. Attending Talbot Theological Seminary has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I love the profs and the classmates who have endured my rough edges are aces.
At any rate, I prayed through at least a sixteen seminaries located in countries and cities that would have the ministry opportunities I am equipped for. Talbot was the one for me. Then I spent another few months praying through curriculums. Master of Divinity was the one for me. Then once I committed to pursuing this process, God totally opened the doors to a new home and new ministry that would support me in this undertaking while also complementing the education process. That is just one example, of nine and half years worth of life “in Christ”, of how I have sought the Lord out during crises processes and ended up in in blessings I could not have even imagined.
God thank you for your yoke, it is the light and an honor to bear. I pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, and feet, Lord God, willing to follow after you wherever you lead. I pray Lord that my faith would grow rather than wither in the seasons to come; that your peace that surpasses all understanding would guide my mind and steps; that my ambitions would advance your Kingdom and glorify your name. Reveal my selfish tendencies Lord God, and set me free from their bondage. Keep me honest God. In Christ name, your will be done, Amen.