How do you know?

I recently came to a crossroad, the choice between continuing on my path or taking a sharp left. I don’t know about you, but in situations like these, I tend to set up camp and talk myself in and out of every possibility for taking either direction (enter memories of debates on a Robert Frost poem – there is no road!). Both choices seemed promising, so I built my tent and sat a while.

I asked Pastor Eric if there was ever a metaphorical clear path lit up by sunrays with birds singing and such — and the short answer is no. He did, however, say that God wants us to choose the path that allows us to be who He has created us to be. While knowing this information didn’t suddenly present a clear path, it did help me frame my questions and concerns.

The bible says in James 1:5-6,

“If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you… But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you.”

I asked him. I asked others. I prayed.

To keep this short, I’ll be vague and say that the crossroad was washed away in the monsoons and I find myself in the midst of the aftermath, not entirely sure what lies ahead but relieved to be rid of a choice for now. It was a clear answer to prayer – no, that was not the path for me (yet or ever, who knows). One thing I do know, is that God is still with me.

So, I am curious, reader, Villager. How has God shown you where to go? Was it clear? Was is difficult? Did the choice vanish or did you choose to walk away?

Thanks for reading.

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  1. I planned to live and die in Phoenix but in helping to get a church started there I had opportunities to preach and several ‘encounters’ with God. Dreams and hearing a ‘voice’ were a part of the process. People, both friends and business associates encouraged me at various times and places. When I felt called to plant a church here I submitted that hope to the church denominational leaders. Initially they said no so I let go of the dream. Two years later they decided to send me after all and hear I am. Thanks for the question!

  2. Thanks so much for writing this. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. This is such a challenging question in some ways to reflect on-

    Challenged to stay… twice.

    In 2007 we moved from Tucson to Ann Arbor, Michigan. David got into medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI not at the University of Arizona (a school with less “accolades” denied him while he held a 4.0 and score in the 99% on his MCAT- surely he could’ve gone where he wanted, right?) This move was met with a lot of challenges from the community: you could stay and try again in a year- you could go a different career path- God has more for you here in Tucson… but instead we went.

    We had an incredible first year in the suburbs- but we felt so convicted- God had called us to the inner city and we were hiding in paradise.

    I would have to write an entire book to truly share what happened in Detroit- so I’ll write it simply: Detroit changed me. It changed me politically, socially, theologically- as a mother, a wife, a friend. Detroit has had a huge impact on David and me. We were there for 7 years and we had very close relationships. Our choice to return to Tucson didn’t feel as much as a calling (like the move to Detroit), but a choice. I felt very free to choose.

    The choice to move to Tucson felt to me like we were abandoning a mission post- but it also felt like the right thing to do given our son who requires more care. Is he worth more than a child in Detroit? No. Does he deserve better schools than a child in Detroit? No. Could we afford the move (financially, socially)? Yes. Did I feel guilt? Even to this day.

    I used to think God had a specific choice in mind for me (what city we live in, where our house is, what school district, how much we spent on the house, etc…) I think now I see things as more open. I see God working in my choices-

    I think sometimes our choices are very clear- it was very clear to David and I that we should move to Detroit and we could share that choice with others without issue. God did something there and even though much of it was extremely painful (namely the rejection of our church community when we started asking too many questions) I am such a stronger and wiser person because of it- and I can say now- six years later- I am thankful for what I learned in that season.

    God does something really powerful in our dark seasons- but we usually can’t see what he’s doing- so that can make those seasons even more lonely and dark. The dawn broke and God gave me the vision of spring roses – bright beautiful red roses after a long gloomy winter (the visual being both literal and symbolic).
    So to answer your questions simply:

    He showed me where to go- It was not clear – it was more of a maze- it was extremely difficult and we walked through what we call “the fire”. And now I can see God’s goodness in ways I could’ve never imagined prior.

    And that last sentence makes me realize that is what the gospel is all about. Regardless of choice. Regardless of what life brings. Can we see the goodness of the gospel? Of the broken body, the blood poured out- the beckoning to return to our Savior when we have lost sight…. because to be honest- the rest doesn’t really matter if we don’t know what it is we are living for…

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