The last two days have been eye opening.
There’s something about anniversary dates that take me back and Facebook is great about reminding me of them. I’ve shared in my blog series “Willing to Wait – Single and Surrendered” how I always asked God to give me a man LIKE Ross because I was so drawn to his humility, love for his wife and family, lack of flirtatiousness, and deep love for God. And while I was in Texas (as far as I was concerned, for good, never to return to Washington) Ross’s wife, Cathy, passed away.
I’m not sure why his posts never came up on my feed but I was pretty out of the loop on everything. We hadn’t been in touch since I said “goodbye” to my family at The Summit and left for Texas, and only heard about her illness a few days before she passed. Just 2 weeks later something popped up on my computer on LinkedIn from Ross and I jumped to the conclusion that he was reaching out to me (which it turns out he wasn’t!). After all, Cathy was the one who told him (and me) that if anything ever happened to her, Ross should marry me.
Well, October 18, 2013 was the day I thought I was obeying God by emailing Ross and addressing the “elephant in the room,” letting him know in no uncertain terms that God was saving me for someone else, just in case he had any ideas (I mean, really? 2 weeks after his wife of 49 years slipped into eternity?).
Yesterday the post popped up, almost sneering at me, as if to say “And you think you can hear God’s voice?”
Here’s what I wrote on Facebook after I pressed “send” on the email that declared God had made it “perfectly clear” what I was to do.
Ever felt like God was asking you to take a step of faith, and so you drew a line in the sand, or burned some bridges, out of obedience…and then wondered if you were crazy? That’s kinda how I’m feeling right about now…crazy good, but still a little crazy.
Well that is a very good example of being sincere, but sincerely wrong.
Then yesterday as I continued to face a financial storm, a post from two years ago that included a significant devotional from Streams in the Desert pops up saying:
WOW. This is just the reminder I needed today. Over the last month The Lord has given me an impression…as I asked Him to confirm through others and circumstances, He did so in a mighty way. I resisted my Type A impulsive nature and waited on Him…and He was faithful! I will be sharing that story next week as I complete this new step of faith and embark on an exciting new journey…but in the meantime, thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness to teach me to trust You! You are an awesome God!
October 19 – Streams in the Desert
The ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them. (Numbers 10:33)
God sometimes does influence us with a simple touch or feeling, but not so we would act on the feeling. If the touch is from Him, He will then provide sufficient evidence to confirm it beyond the slightest doubt.
Consider the beautiful story of Jeremiah, when he felt God leading him to purchase the field at Anathoth. He did not act on his initial feeling but waited for God to completely fulfill His words to him before taking action. Then once his cousin came to him, bringing the external evidence of God’s direction by making a proposal for the purchase, he responded and said, “I knew that this was the word of the Lord” (Jer. 32:8).
Jeremiah waited until God confirmed his feeling through a providential act, and then he worked with a clear view of the facts, which God could also use to bring conviction to others. God wants us to act only once we have His mind on a certain situation. We are not to ignore the Shepherd’s personal voice to us, but like “Paul and his companions” (Acts 16:6) at Troas, we are to listen and also examine His providential work in our circumstances, in order to glean the full mind of the Lord. A. B. Simpson
Wherever God’s finger points, His hand will clear a way. Never say in your heart what you will or will not do but wait until God reveals His way to you. As long as that way is hidden, it is clear that there is no need of action and that He holds Himself accountable for all the results of keeping you exactly where you are. selected
For God through ways we have not known, Will lead His own.
Interesting enough, in that case, just one day later on October 19, 2013, and in a completely different area in my life, I actually WAS hearing God’s voice and obeying Him. At that time there was still a non-compete in place that was limiting what I could do in the publishing business, and God was doing a new thing with the radio show at Always Faithful. Stepping out to go full time radio ministry under Commissioned to Every Nation (www.cten.org) was proven to be God’s leading for a season in my life and it was confirmed in so many ways, financially and otherwise.
Looking back and these two distinctively different situations is a little puzzling, but as I reflected He began to show me the major differences. Both areas I felt sure God was speaking to me about and directing me in, yet one was me hearing my own voice and the other was me hearing His voice.
What was the difference?
Well, in the area of relationship and potential marriage, I had falsely believed I was supposed to wait for a person I thought was Mr. Right. I wanted it to be him, even though he really wasn’t even my type, was younger than me, and still traumatized from a bitter divorce. It would have been settling for less than God’s best. I had made a case for the potential relationship in my head and heart and sold myself on it, even when I continued to have a little niggling that made me doubt my decision to wait for this man.
They call that confirmation bias and that’s what I was doing.
Confirmation bias, also called myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, prefer, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses while giving disproportionately less attention to information that contradicts it…
My flesh wanted this relationship to be the one, and I’d convinced myself that his ministry was something worthwhile to dedicate the rest of my life to. I would wait for him, and burn any bridges to the man, as it turned out, God was actually saving me for.
But I was so sure I was obeying God!
With the work-related situation, I hadn’t made up my mind or wanted it badly…in fact I was scared spitless. To take the step of faith, walking away from publishing altogether and moving into full time radio ministry, was a scary move that required a huge amount of faith, surrender and trust. Even though that adventure did not last as long as I wanted it to, God met me, provided the funding needed in a completely miraculous way, and proved Himself faithful over and over in amazing ways in that area of my life.
October 18 – I am dead wrong, hear my own voice and call it God’s
October 19 – I am spot on, believe I hear Him, wait for confirmation, and obey every step of the way.
So what can we learn from those 2 memories?
Have you ever thought you heard God’s voice and found out you were wrong?
Do you see any similarities in my thought process with yours?
How can we better discern what we believe is God’s voice?
More on this on Thursday!