Faith Notes-How God Leads and Instructs our Hearts by Jennifer Slattery
I’ve wasted a lot of time, energy, and peace, confused when I didn’t need to be and stressed over what felt like a lack of God’s clear guidance. The problem was, I wanted Him to lead me how I felt best and to speak to me when and how I wanted. I suppose I was hoping for that proverbial banner in the sky alerting me to every nuance of God’s will.
I’ve since learned to relax. To trust, knowing that God is and will continue to guide me, always, even when I’m not aware of His gently nudging hand. Like the psalmist said in Pslam 16:7, “I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me” (ESV).
God is a gentle, patient, attentive Father who is faithful to lead us. We can rest in that, knowing He doesn't expect us to have everything figured out or even to hear Him perfectly. We can trust as we consistently grow closer to Him, He will stir His will in our hearts.
Here’s an example of how I'm trying to live this truth out. I write contemporary fiction, and income per word count, that’s the most significant way my writing contributes to our family. Logically, it would make the most sense that that would be what I focus on. And while I do prioritize my novel-writing time, I've felt an increasing pull to create Bible-related content, like material for Bible reading plans and video devotions, much of which I don't get paid for. And many of those outlets I do get paid for, when I consider the time I put into it compared to my earnings, let’s just say I’d likely make hosting a neighborhood lemonade stand!
The other day, while researching something, I found myself almost feeling guilty that I wasn't producing working on my fiction instead. But as I wrestled over this in my prayers, God reminded me that He is the spark within me. That I didn't have to over-analyze this thing. I simply needed to daily offer my heart to Him and trust that He is leading it.
There's such peace in that, and such truth. He truly is a faithful Father. Whenever He's wanted me to do something, or not to do something, He's been persistent. His voice tugs and tugs until I listen. He makes His will clear. When I'm heading a wrong direction, He makes His redirection clear. And honestly, if I'm truly trying to honor Him, I believe most of the time, He's not hugely concerned with the how. He simply looks at me with love and says, "Go girl! I'm with you!" And if by chance I "hear" Him wrong, it's okay. He's big enough to direct my steps.
So in the meantime, I serve, I love, and I relax, knowing I'm His girl, held securely in His hands.
This is such an important stance to maintain, because we may not see the results of our obedience, even those with the most eternally significant impact, this side of heaven. And even when we do catch a glimpse of the whys behind God’s leading, it’s often after years, if not decades, of surrender. This has certainly been the case with my writing journey. I first felt God’s nudge to write in 2006. At first, that nudge was somewhat vague. I didn’t really understand how He was leading or why. Then in 2008, God spoke a clear call into my heart; He wanted me to write for Him.
Regardless of where my writing went, regardless of whether anyone else ever read a word I wrote, He wanted me to yield and to surrender the gifts He’d deposited into my soul back to Him as an act of worship. Another six years followed. Six years of confusion, of doubt, of moments of surrender followed by hours of frustration. Six years of feeling like perhaps I should be doing something else with my time, something more productive, that would earn a steady and predictable paycheck. And in my frustration, I once again wanted that banner to zip across the sky, stating, “Jennifer, thou shall …”
God never gave me that. Instead, He continually called me to Himself and to maintain a heart of surrender. In 2013, when I first received “the call” letting me know a publisher was interested in my work, I was grateful for His faithful leading, especially during those times when the journey ahead felt so vague and uncertain.
For those of you facing hard decisions, waiting on answers and guidance, rest. Trust. He's got you. He won't fail you. He won't abandon you as an orphan, and He doesn't expect you to figure everything out. He simply expects you to fall in love with Him and in your love, to yield and obey.
Let’s talk about this! What answers are you awaiting God for? What area of your life are you wanting direction in? In what ways can you sense God leading, even on those days you struggle to hear Him?
Jennifer Slattery is a writer and national speaker who has addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. She hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast (https://www.lifeaudio.com/faith-over-fear/) and maintains devotional blogs found JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com (https://www.lifeaudio.com/faith-over-fear/) and on Crosswalk (https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/jennifer-slattery/). As the founder of Wholly Love Ministries (https://whollyloved.com/), she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. Connect with her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/), and Twitter (https://twitter.com/Jenslattery). When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Contact her through her website to book her for your next women’s event.
Building a Family
Can love for two little matchmakers unite
their reluctant hearts?
Worried that Noah Williams is still the reckless bull rider she remembers, Kayla Fisher is convinced he isn’t the right person to care for their orphaned niece and nephew. Now she’s back home, determined to fight for custody. But Noah is a changed man, and he intends to prove it. When Noah and Kayla start falling for each other, could raising the children together be the perfect solution?
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Thanks for your good exposition, Jennifer. God is truly amazing in the way He guides and answers us. Two things I've learned that I rely on regularly: God's desire is for a relationship with us and His love supersedes everything. Thanks for having such a good visitor, Stacy! (and now I've also learned once again to read before I hit publish!)ReplyDelete