“The most miserable person in the world is a Christian who isn’t living for God.”
Those words, spoken by the teacher subbing for our regular life group teacher, were the words God used to start an awakening in my soul. They moved me. They disturbed me. They were FOR me!
Bill and I had been attending First Baptist Church of Indian Trail for a year or two at this point. I had started singing in the choir. I was still going to life group, and I had started going to Bible studies led by our life group teacher’s wife. I had even gone to my life group teacher and his wife a time or two to talk about this worldview I had created. I only remember going once or twice, and I don’t know how forthcoming I was with what was really going on inside my head.
I was still actively fighting against God’s convictions though. Four years passed, and I put up a valiant fight against His whispers and tugs. He’s persistent though, so He kept chiseling.
Then, in early 2009, our son, Ethan, was born. I went back to work after 8 weeks because that’s what you’re “supposed to do,” but by the fall of 2009, I started having the strangest notion: I wanted to be at home with my baby.
That was TOTALLY foreign to me. It had never occurred to me to stay home with my child. Honestly, I always thought people who did that were…well, crazy, quite frankly. Why in the world would anyone want to be at home all day with a whiny, screaming, snotty-nosed kid?!
Even so, God had been placing me into different situations and was using various things to soften my heart and convict me in that direction since our son was born.
I was scared! This was crazy! What would my poor parents think after paying for me to earn a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree? What would my poor husband think? We’d bought a house two years prior to our son’s birth and just bought a new car since Ethan was born. I was crazy confused.
Then, I started to realize that this must be something God was calling me to do. I had no idea if that was true or not though because I had no idea what it was like to have God tell me to do something.
I had to figure it out, so I started asking people – trusted women I had met at church. One of the women I talked to was the wife of our current Sunday school teacher (we’d gotten a new teacher in the past 4 years). I explained what I was feeling and that I was starting to think this was something God was telling me to do.
“How do I know the difference between something God is directing me to do and something that’s just my own idea?” I asked her.
She explained that, first and most importantly, God would never tell anyone to do something that wasn’t biblical. If what you think God is telling you to do goes against something written in His Word, then it isn’t God telling you to do it.
This trusted lady also told me that, if this thing is actually a conviction from God, it won’t go away. God will gently but consistently keep convicting you of what He wants you to do. Sometimes, when we think up things on our own, they come and go easily, especially if it takes a while to achieve it or we meet lots of opposition while trying to do it. However, a conviction from God doesn’t just shrink away at the first sign of difficulty. He won’t let it. I’ve heard it said that God is a gentleman. He won’t ever force Himself on us, but He will continue to woo us and encourage us in the direction He wants us to go until we choose to go that way on our own.
Finally, my confidante asked me if I felt peace about this – leaving my job and staying at home with my child. I remember a smile quickly spreading across my face as I confidently told her that I did feel peace!
It was insane! I had been afraid of it at first, but the more I thought about it and all the details that led me to believe it was God prodding me in that direction, I had indeed experienced a peace and calmness. Our life group teacher’s wife told me that peace was one of the best ways to judge whether God is telling you to do something or not. If you feel conflicted, it probably isn’t from God. If you feel peace, it is most likely from God.
I felt TOTAL peace about this. I was confident that this was a “God-thing,” as people say. It just wasn’t anything I would have cooked up on my own! But, as I was learning how to hear God’s voice, I began to trust that this was in fact what He had in mind for me.
Bill, on the other hand, was definitely NOT at peace with this crazy idea. (That is a blog post all its own that I’ll share another time). So, we prayed about it a great deal over weeks and months it seemed. Finally, he just shook his head. “The numbers don’t add up,” he said, referring to the many times he’d calculated our bills versus his salary to find out that his salary alone wouldn’t cover what we’d need to pay out each month.
“But,” he went on, “if you’re saying God is telling you to do this, I can’t go against it. We have to do it. We’ll just have to trust that He’ll take care of us.”
In May 2010, I worked my last full-time semester at the community college where I was teaching, and I haven’t regretted it for a moment.
I couldn’t have known, but this was another crucial turning point in my journey back to God. It was the first time in my life since I accepted Christ as a 12-year-old, that I stepped out in faith and completely submitted to His will. (I was 31 when I left my full-time job.)
I experienced God’s provision during this time in my life, and that was a big deal for me. Obviously, there were plenty of other times in my life that He provided, but I never acknowledged that it was Him until He told me to leave my job and go home…and I did it…and He provided for us.
Do you remember the first time you knew it was God directing you to do something or not to do something? What was it like? How did you know?
Do you remember a time when you experienced His provision after you stepped out in faith and did what He wanted?
Would you share these experiences with us?