I rarely doubt that God is there. He’s like the joyous, peaceful worship music providing the soundtrack to my life. But for some seasons of my life, God’s voice (that music) is harder to hear. I hear it softly in the background. And I need to crank the volume to make sure I’m hearing God’s will. When we are faced with a giant decision, that is often the time we try to listen up, turn it up, and determine God’s will. We desire more than a gentle, orchestral piece without lyrics in the background. We want “row, row, row, your boat” and we want God to tell us where and how to row.
Do you want to turn up the volume on God’s will for your life?
I do. And I did.
Twenty years ago, my husband and I and our two sons faced a giant decision. I was offered a great job. It just happened to be in a different state, and our sons had just settled into their Colorado school. My husband wasn’t keen on the idea of leaving his Centennial State and his mountains behind. But I was a Navy kid and used to moving. And the job was a once-in-a-lifetime position for me. So, I was afraid I wanted it so much that maybe it was my will and not God’s will. We had a decision to make.
A decision we wanted to make with direction from our Creator.
I know our God is interested in the little and the large in my life. His care and concern for me amazes me. I’ve seen God’s care during big times like battling two different types of cancer. And I’ve felt it in the small times while I was mowing the grass. I know that He cares for me, but how do I dial into that wisdom and leading when I need to make a big decision?
Here are some ways I’ve found you can dial up the volume on God’s voice:
Pray to Determine God’s Will
Carve out more time than usual and pray.
Now, don’t breeze past this step. Of course, you know you should pray. But are you? What does that look like for you? And how might it help to dial up the volume on your prayer right now?
What can you do to linger longer at Jesus’s feet while you reflect on his promises and his truth?
Read God’s Word
Make time to read the Bible. If your prayer time starts to sound like a child reading a “wish list” to Santa, stop. Dig into God’s word. Align your heart with His.
God has revealed more wisdom and insight in His word than we can digest in a lifetime. Are you feasting on His word?
Don’t know where to start? Find a Psalm that feels like your heart. There are sad ones, happy ones, angry ones, and those written by folks, like us, trying to figure it out. Start by praying a Psalm back to your Creator and sitting with Him.
Once you’ve done that for a week or more, try memorizing a promise from the Bible that speaks to your greatest fear.
During my time of searching for God’s will I liked Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
He does not break His promises. Read His word and trust His character. Listen to what He has said to other souls over the generations. Hear Him speak to your heart through the reading of His word.
Quiet The Distractions
Our lives are quite noisy. Do you see that ending any time soon? No? Me neither. Sure, some seasons of life are busier than others. But even elderly, empty-nest folks talk about their iPhones, Netflix, the news, and the classes they’re taking. It’s easy to load up our lives with lots of distractions and not even realize it.
During this time of seeking God’s will, I encourage you to lessen the distractions. Try it. You have nothing to lose.
Do you need to:
- Schedule time with God with a notification on your phone “TIME WITH GOD”
- Put down your phone
- Skip social media for a set period of time
- Stop trying to solve everyone else’s problems
- Evaluate who you’re choosing to spend your time with
- Let someone else fill the volunteer calendar for a period of time
- Pause the podcasts
- Skip Netflix
- Mute “friends” on social media that drain you
- Reevaluate your weekends
- Consider other ways to quiet the distractions
Often when we say we “don’t have time” to do something, it means we haven’t chosen to prioritize our time to do that particular thing. Now is the time to prioritize time with God and to quiet those distractions.
One way I like to quiet the distractions is to journal. Sometimes I write longhand, other times I’ll type away on my computer. Either way, it helps me to focus my wandering thoughts by getting them down on paper or the screen.
I include journal prompts in my eBook because I really believe journaling is a great way to draw near to God. Our Lord longs to be with us and speak to us. But it’s not always easy to hear it through my grocery list or random mental rabbit trails.
Journaling helps me focus and lean into my relationship with the One who wants the best for me.
This is different than the first step, “pray”. This is “pray together”. You and your husband. You and your children. Pray together to bring your hearts into alignment.
When we were faced with our giant decision about moving my husband and I were miles apart on what we wanted. He wanted to stay. I wanted to see what the next steps offered us.
But we agreed we wanted to do what God wanted us to do.
Even with that agreement, it was not easy to pray together, initially. We knew we both wanted opposite things and times felt tense and unsure. But we knew it was important to come together and seek God’s will.
In fact, our giant decision became very clear after Dave and I began praying together. We dutifully asked and asked God to show us His will. And then over a series of several nights both Dave and I were given the same dream. A dream that showed both of us God’s will for our next steps.
Because, although I wanted to accept the job offer, I did not want to take a job that God didn’t want for me or our family. Dave needed a bit of shove to see it, but I needed comfort to know it was all going to be okay.
God gave us that by aligning our dreams and giving us peace.
Our rough seas felt so choppy and scary, but once I knew God was standing at the helm of our rocking ship and we were tapping into His Divine Drift, I felt secure. I explain more in this video.
God doesn’t always take us to comfortable places. And His Way may not look the way we think it should. But I do believe God is gracious to care for us if we will listen and trust.
God knows what he’s doing!
We are still amazed at how God worked it out for us. But that didn’t mean every day was easy. It still required a ton of effort and trust from all of us. But it was great to be in the center of God’s will. That’s always the best seat in the house.
We have to laugh now since we’ve been moved again–even farther across the country! That decision was easier because we knew how to discern God’s will. I hope the same for you.
I am a coach who helps people weather the rough seas of life. Let’s chat and get to know each other. We can talk on the phone, online, or in person. I would love to hear what’s going on in your world. And if you’d like, I’ll share some of the resources I have to help navigate rough seas. We can plan a few times to meet, but no one’s feet are held to the fire. My promise to my coaching clients is that I will seek God’s wisdom, share resources and direction, set goals, and check-in with you. And then we can go from there.