I’m very thankful that I am (& have been) surrounded by a whole bunch of people who’ve been gracious enough to share some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way of life… esp. those lessons that tie in with a relationship with Christ. The list of helpful insights, tips, asides, & anecdotes that I’ve (inadvertently) collected over the years is vast, as are the sources for said info.
One of the most valuable pieces of encouragement that I reference at least 3 or 4 times a week is the advice I was given about KNOWING & LIVING IN God’s will & purpose for me – there are myriad sources with many opinions on what this looks like & feels like, lived out, but for me, the best advice I’ve ever gotten was simple, easy to understand, & even easier to apply. And it came from Jerry. (Of course it did.)
During a trying & demanding time of life (at least it seemed so at the time; the events of the last 12 months have made that time look… inviting.), I reached out to Jerry & asked him about a choice that I had in front of me; a choice that had the potential to take me & the family on a significant change of direction. I’d wrestled with the decision for quite a while before reaching out to him, mostly out of desperation & a strong desire not to mess my family (& ME) up.
He told me something like this: “Louie, you’re overthinking this – you’re assuming that God is trying to make it difficult to KNOW His will; difficult to FIND His will; difficult to FOLLOW His will, like it is some sort of bulls-eye that you can only hit if everything aligns perfectly, if you’ve prayed & read enough, etc… THAT is not how our God deals with us, His dearly loved children.”
“No, I see God’s will as a highway, complete with the rumble strips that line the highway to keep us from going off the road. First, I commit my ways to the Lord. Second, I examine myself & my life to see if my direction is taking me somewhere ILLEGAL, IMMORAL, or UNBIBLICAL. And if it is not (& it rarely would be,) I give it a shot, I press ‘Go” on the gas & start moving. Then, I trust that if I’m off, the Holy Spirit will intervene just as simply as the rumble strips sounding off with a jarring noise when your car drifts out of its lane. Its clear. Its evident. And its simple. God loves His kids, & He delights in giving them freedom to choose what they’d like to do & give themselves to, within the parameters He lays out in His word. You can trust that God, the Holy Spirit, will definitely let you know if you’re headed off road. God trusts you & His Spirit in you to make good decisions to LIVE & to bring GLORY to Him in WHATEVER you do. So go do it. And listen for the rumble strips.”
Those words set me free, lifted the anxiety & worry of ‘missing’ God’s will & purposes for my life, & also gave me confidence that I CAN & WILL hear the voice of the Holy Spirit if/when I’m ‘off-roading’.
And He always has – it was never a bulls eye to try & hit with all my effort & skill; it was a highway, wide open & ready to be driven.