Discerning God’s will for our lives is a lot like flossing: for it to work, it has to be a habit you get into, rather than something you only remember to do right before you visit the dentist.
It is better, and a whole lot healthier in the long run, to cultivate a habit of being open to the Spirit and wholeheartedly submitted to the Lord. This is the kind of relationship with the Father that Jesus modeled for us, and hoped that we, too, would have with him.
In other words, it's a fundamental act of discipleship.
Here are four habits of healthy decision makers:
1. Healthy decision makers walk in love towards God.
It is terribly difficult to love a person intimately and wholeheartedly when you don’t trust them. Love and trust are inextricably linked together.
When we love God deeply, and cultivate that love through prayer, spiritual disciplines, worship, and scripture reading, we grow to trust him all the more. And when we are firmly rooted in our love and trust of Jesus, yielding our lives and decisions to him becomes something we tend to do more readily.
The ultimate invitation that we are offered through Jesus is to place our love for God and others at the very center of the choices we make, from the mundane to the extraordinary.
2. Healthy decision makers rest in God’s goodness and nearness.
Life is one giant risk after another. Eventually, we find out that there are plenty of things we simply cannot control: health problems, traffic on the freeway, internet service providers, and well, people in general.
And this is where trusting God’s goodness comes in: even if we’ve done our best to discern his leading in a particular situation, and something out of our control goes awry, we can bank on the fact that he is faithful, compassionate, and a refuge to those who are in trouble (Ps. 100:5, 145:9; Nahum 1:7).
When we live by faith and “taste and see that the Lord is good,” we are set free to take godly risks, and trust that even if he gives an answer we would prefer not to hear, such as “no,” or “wait,” it is all for our best interest (Ps. 34:8).
3. Healthy decision makers work on entrusting their lives to God’s care.
Entrusting our loved ones, futures, bank accounts, and bodies over to God’s care is one of those things that is easier said than done. Trusting God to steward these vulnerable parts of our lives means that we have to be willing to let go.
Sacrifice is and always has been an essential component of walking with God and making decisions. It is the fruit of our work to trust God with our lives.
When we attempt to control and exert our own authority over various aspects of our lives, we are essentially limiting God’s influence over them.
It is difficult to make wise choices when you are simultaneously unwilling to relinquish control. But when we give control to God, we leave room for God to create beautiful and unexpected things that are often beyond our hopes and wildest imaginings.
4. Healthy decision makers seek to understand the extent to which the “junk” in their lives affects their decisions.
If you are human, it is highly probable that you have some “junk” in your life: wounds from childhood, broken relationships, patterns of behavior that often hurt others, or unhealthy ways of perceiving yourself, people, or God.
As we cultivate habits of discerning God’s voice and direction in our lives, we have to be aware of our own brokenness and the ways in which it impacts how we make decisions or follow God. Sometimes the influence is subtle, other times it is more overt. Either way, we want to give God room to bring healing and restoration in our hearts so that we can follow him in true freedom, unhindered by the “junk.”
Preparing Your Heart to Walk in God’s Will
Grab a journal, a cup of your favorite hot beverage, and get into a reflective posture. Sit with these questions, whether just today, or over the course of the week, and see where your growth edges are in decision-making and hearing God’s voice:
- To what extent are you walking in love towards God? Where do you feel his presence, and where do you feel his absence?
- How are you currently experiencing the Lord’s nearness and goodness? If you struggle to rest in God’s goodness, what do you think may be standing in the way of that? What would need to happen for those obstacles to be removed?
- Where are you at in your work to entrust your heart and life to God’s care? Do you sense any invitation from the Lord in this area?
- To what extent do you feel that the “junk” in your life influences your decisions and how you make them? Where do you sense the Lord is working to free you from some “junk” and bring restoration?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jamie Rosenberry has been on staff with CRM since 2007, and recently completed an internship with InnerCHANGE in San Francisco.