This last Sunday, I spoke about Open Doors, and how God will sometimes close a door that we think should be open, only to open another door. But, an open door does not guarantee an easy road. You can watch the sermon on our Vimeo page here.
I spent most of the time talking about the idea that just because something is hard does not make it any less of a miracle. I didn’t have time to get into how to hear God’s voice, or how to know when a door is open or closed. That is another sermon for another time.
However, I have gotten so many emails and messages wanting to know the answers to those questions, it is obvious that many of us wrestle with this question. Someone emailed me this morning. They actually emailed Traci by mistake, thinking it was me. She was kind enough to respond to the email, and copy me on it.
If you don’t know my wife, she is a genius. She is incredibly wise, perceptive and, in my opinion, brilliant. Her answer was so great, I felt like I should just post it here, in full, and let it stimulate our thinking about how to hear God’s voice.
So, here is a guest post from my wife, Traci:
Just thought I would respond with my two cents. When I think of trying to discern God’s open doors, I always think of how he leads my thoughts when I pray to him, especially during my morning quiet times. If I feel unsure of what I am supposed to be doing, I tell God I don’t get it. Then, I usually just start trying to talk it over with him, like I would a friend. While I am having this conversation, it always seems as if God directs my thoughts in a certain direction or something will just all of a sudden “dawn on me”…which I think is God talking to me. Sometimes these conversations lead to an “answer” and sometimes they just lead to me asking for further guidance. I ask him to speak to me through tv, radio, conversations, anything over the next few days or weeks.
Then, once I feel I am moving in a particular direction, I continue to let him talk me through stuff. I try not to just go by passing feelings, but also I do listen to my gut. Sometimes I will start to have doubts or worries that I need to talk through with him. Is he saying change course or what? Other times, my doubts have come just because of conversations I’ve had with people that were discouraging but once I went back to God I would feel at peace again.
For example…When I felt God leading me to homeschool, I really couldn’t believe it. However, I kept talking to him about it, reading, having conversations, etc. I would go up and down with my feelings…about every other day I thought it was a good idea & the other days bad. However, whenever I would talk to God about it I would leave with a sense of peace. So, I took that as a sign to keep moving forward.
Same thing with adopting. Usually, when I talk to people about it, think about the money, or take in too much of the big picture, I feel discouraged. However, whenever I talk to God about it, I come away feeling more peaceful. This is one of those times where I feel that even though each step is difficult, and there are a lot of hoops to jump through, God is saying “just take the next step. It will be ok.” I do still talk through all of my thoughts and feelings about it, and I believe he allows me to have discouraging conversations with people in order to bring out my own fears and misgivings. But, he wants to work me through those when we are alone.
Anyways, I don’t know if that helps you at all, but that is my experience lately. Oh…but one more thing. If and when I find myself in a situation where I can’t figure out what to do in a certain situation, I usually will ask the question “what would God say is the most important issue here?” Is there anything about what I am facing that God has already spoken to? For example with homeschooling. God never speaks about public school, private school, curriculum, reading readiness, college prep, socialization, and the like, but he does say that it is my responsibility to train my children. Therefore, I take it that my overarching goal is “to train them in the way that they should go”, and then subordinately adopt whatever “education style” would best help me to do that. I stick with what he has spoken to. Or with adopting…I am not certain what age, ethnicity, gender, etc. would be best, but I do know that God says to “take care of the widows and the orphans.” So, I’m going to go with the overarching command and leave the rest as details that God will probably just use along the way to grow my character.
OK…and now I am really stopping. Sorry so long.