Trusting Guidance

I’ve got a problem that I’ve been obsessing over thinking about for nearly a week now.  It’s a family issue that I’m not sure directly affects me, but speaking up has an equal chance of helping, or making it significantly worse.  Part of me suggests, “say something; you could be the bridge for communication.”  The other part warns, “stay out of it; you could cause irreparable damage.”

 The pre-spiritual journey me would continue down this anxiety-ridden path, replaying the possible outcomes (mostly disastrous) over and over until my mind grew numb from exhaustion, leaving me as frustrated as my seventh-grade self with an unsolved Rubik’s Cube after several wasted hours days weeks – okay, I never could figure that thing out, but that’s a different story.

 This time, I realized the road I was taking and decided to refer to my Study Bible for help.  I read several passages about “What to read when you are seeking God’s direction” but one in particular settled in my mind.

 James 1:5-8

 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

 Accompanying Study Text:

 “Is it a sin to doubt?  It’s not a sin to struggle with questions of who God is and what it means to belong to him.  Those are natural questions anyone seeking God will ask.  Rather, James condemns an attitude that questions whether or not God and his Word can be trusted.  A mistrustful, suspicious attitude toward God poisons our spirit, making joy impossible.”

 This text spoke to me because I struggle with doubt.  I wonder if I’m living up to God’s plans for me.  I worry that God has given me a sign and I missed it. When I think about conversations I’ve had, I am uncertain if my words were spoken as I’d intended.  I have second-guessed many decisions, big and small.

 These verses tell me that I need to clear my heart, pray for guidance, and trust the direction my heart leads me – to trust that God is leading me.  Yes, this is easier said than done.


23 thoughts on “Trusting Guidance

  1. carldagostino June 5, 2011 / 5:22 AM

    I want to believe without doubt God’s revealed wisdom but how can I not doubt if it is from Him and not filtered or presented by some other internal or external entity? So I try to employ two other examinations: What are my motives for acting or not acting in that they must not be self serving or selfish and will my actions become the source of anyone’s misfortune. I may not get direction in prayer, but at least these standards help me to act as He would have me act. Maybe that’s the wisdom. It’s kind of a generic thing too.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2011 / 3:48 PM

      I like your two other examinations, Carl. Looking at the intent and ramifications (of acting or not acting) are both good ways to make sure the decision is thought through. That could very well be wisdom He has revealed ot you 🙂 Thanks for sharing. I hope you don’t mind that I incorporate these examinations into my decision making.

  2. 1959duke June 5, 2011 / 9:30 AM

    Ask yourself this question. Will I be able to put my head on my pillow knowing I did what I thought was right? If you can then that’s all that matters. You are not responsible for how others react.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2011 / 3:51 PM

      Good point, Duke. I guess my problem in this one is that I could have inadvertently contributed to (but not caused) the current situation. Before I do anything (or make a decision not to do anything, I will ask the question as you suggested.

  3. Patty June 5, 2011 / 10:09 AM

    We are human and there is free will – which is innate in all of us. I think it is human to doubt because suffering of any sort- physical, emotional, spiritual – can cause us to lose faith. Signs along our life journey path help us keep the faith. Prayer helps me keep the faith to stay strong until the next day.

    My personal struggle is helping my elderly parents who have not made the best choices for their overall well being, in my opinion. I also work with families of grown children the same age as me who struggle with the same thing. My elderly parents still have free will and are independent and try to stay that way through some pretty tough physical challenges.

    Last year I was very outspoken as to some safety hazards in their apartment that would compromise their well being. My mantra was if you want to stay in independent living then you must be independent. It was met with resistance at times.

    This year, I’m trying to stay out of their stuff but I still clash with my dad. I think he sees my comments as a threat to his caregiving role to my mother. Now I try to get other health professionals to meet with my parents and paint a picture of what is best for them. For people who lived through the Depression and WWII – The Greatest Generation prided themselves on pulling themselves up by their boot straps and not complaining and not asking for help. They don’t want to hear from one bossy daughter; they feel better when the whole family is there and it is a group decision; and it is best heard from professionals outside the family.

    It is a tough decision whether to intervene or sit back and say nothing. Over the past year, I’ve found it is best to say nothing most of the time, but to be present and supportive. And speak when asked your opinion. Then you are wise and held in esteem.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2011 / 4:07 PM

      You’re in a tough situation, Patty. I can understand why your parents take suggestions better from outside sources – I imagine they feel their independence is less threatened. A part of them probably knows that dependence is inevitable, so they are even more defensive of their self-sufficiency. Luckily, my circumstances are not as difficult as yours. I hope you are able to navigate the issues associated with aging parents and maintain a good relationship with your parents. The tough part comes when (if) they are simply not able to safely live unassisted. I pray that God continues to give you the strength and guidance you need 🙂

      I agree that opinions are best given when requested (then if the person is upset by it, the respnose is, “well, you asked for it!”)

  4. Debbie June 5, 2011 / 11:59 AM

    I don’t sit on fences too well. And too often, I’ve announced my opinion whether it was asked for or not. That said, I kind of go by the philosophy that I live so as to be able to look myself in the mirror afterward, without shame. God does lead and guide us when we ask; unfortunately (for us!), He works on His own time schedule!

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2011 / 4:18 PM

      God’s time schedule is a problem for me sometimes, because it’s often not as quick (or obvious) as I would like! I’ve thought about this situation more, and I don’t think I can get involved without revealing that one person confided in me. Unless that person gives the go ahead for me to talk to the other, I’ll have to stay out of it.

      Thanks for giving your input, Debbie!

  5. clarbojahn June 5, 2011 / 12:28 PM

    I have better luck asking the Holy Spirit for guidance than God or by looking things up in the Bible. We are all spirit and when we look at each other we have better luck seeing a kindred spirit as brother or sister than as a separate entity. So when I ask a question of the Holy Spirit I ask for how can I see this (the situation) differently. And I usually get a reply.
    When we see things with love we are usually not wrong.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2011 / 4:21 PM

      Thanks for sharing what you’ve experienced about guidance, Clar. I especially like the last line of your comment 🙂

  6. Tori Nelson June 5, 2011 / 12:30 PM

    I am a chronic skeptic. I doubt, question, and typically distrust people until proven otherwise. I think asking for guidance and accepting guidance is my very hardest skill to master. I agree with Duke’s comment. You have to do what you think is right, regardless of how people react.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2011 / 4:26 PM

      I think I’m a lot like you in that respect, Tori. Asking and following guidance is hard. I guess at the end of the day, doing what we think is right is all we can do.

  7. Carol Ann Hoel June 5, 2011 / 1:42 PM

    We are not talking about whether or not to do something the Bible says is wrong, because we would know the answer in that case. I agree with the last two lines of your post. I think you found the answer.

    I suffer in this area myself, Janna. Sometimes I over-think things and remind myself of a dog chasing its tail. Then I say to myself, stop. I ask for wisdom, and ultimately choose the option that makes the most sense to me. I trust God to forgive me and correct me if I make a mistake. Sometimes we must sink or swim, right?

    I’m not sure if I handle such matters correctly or not. I wish I were not this kind of tail-chasing person. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2011 / 4:36 PM

      Wouldn’t it be nice to be one of those people who could look at a situation and immediately know what to do? I can relate to the dog chasing its tail analogy, Carol. I’ve got several things right now that are just that.

      It’s nice to remember that if my action doesn’t yield the best results, at least God will forgive me (even if people don’t!)

  8. pattisj June 5, 2011 / 9:02 PM

    If God gave you direction, and you missed it, rest assured it will come again if it is something you need to act upon. In re your statement “easier said than done,” the more times you do it, the more certain you will be of His voice guiding you.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2011 / 4:42 PM

      I hadn’t thought about it, but I guess recognizing His guidance would become easier in time. I will cling to that hope 🙂 Thanks for your supportive words, Patti. I do feel better with the assurance that His direction is not a one-time opportunity.

    • jannatwrites June 7, 2011 / 4:44 PM

      Nothing, yet. I’m still contemplating 🙂

      However, at the moment, I’m leaning toward staying out of it.

  9. deehsarsiavo June 9, 2011 / 8:12 PM

    I commend you for believing in God’s power of guidance so strongly. I think it’s almost inspirational. Can’t say for sure what the best course of action would be to the problem at hand, but believing that God will allow you to arrive at the right answer is perhaps the best approach to take in a difficult situation. It’s what got Moses through the sea!

    [Moses] said, “No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me.” (Quran, 26:62)

    Hope everything works out for the better ma’am =)

  10. jannatwrites June 9, 2011 / 9:25 PM

    Ah, now Moses….there’s someone with serious faith! I’d like to say I’m right there with him, but that would be delusional thinking on my part 🙂 Some days I’m stronger than others, though.

    As for this situation, I’ve settled on needing discussion with one of the people involved before I decide to jump in. I do believe that it will work out as it should.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting, Deehsarsiavo. Good to hear from you!

  11. Blossom Dreams June 15, 2011 / 2:59 AM

    I always try to apply the following: that if I am in such doubt over something, then it’s probably not the best thing to do at the moment. If a decision is right for us, we often feel elated or at least good about it…

    Hope you make the right decision for you my friend. Sometimes there is no correct answer.

    Chloe xx

    • jannatwrites June 15, 2011 / 7:45 PM

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, Chloe! I think this may be an instance where there isn’t a correct answer, but the one that’s working at the moment is to stay out of it. Until the situation changes, I’ll stick with that. (Because I’m very good at doing nothing :))

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