Have you ever gotten lost in your faith journey and struggled to find your way back to God’s path? When I gave my life to God in my twenties, I never imagined I’d get lost.
Now when I say “gave my life to God,” I mean gave it. As far as I was concerned, He called the shots and laid out the agenda. My life was His to do with as He pleased. For years I lived purposefully seeking God’s will, dying to my ambitions, laying my hopes and dreams at His feet with a “not my will, but Yours” resolve.
Sounds like quite an achievement except that God didn’t give me much choice in the matter. When I prayed, “Here I am, Lord, use me for Your kingdom’s glory, not mine,” He took me at my word. Sometimes that prayer included God’s call to exciting kingdom work, but more often it meant His call to daily die-to-self in my home and family. So when I grew restless and tried to venture out on my own, He hemmed me in. When life got difficult and I wanted to jump the faith ship, he tied me to the mainmast. When I whined about the rugged road of discipleship, He tossed me over His shoulder and carried me.
God was faithful to answer my “not my will but Yours” prayer and wouldn’t allow me to move one step in any direction but His. His way became familiar to me, even as I bucked its limits from time to time. But then, after two decades, (I’m a slow learner), He handed me a dream and let me toddle out on my own.
Losing Your Way
I admit, it felt good to be off the benevolent “leash” God had previously held in my life. Each day brimmed with possibility. But within a few short years I wandered into the weeds and lost my way. The “I could” do’s whirred around my head and made me dizzy. The “I want to” do’s intoxicated me. The “I should” do’s filled me with guilt. Though I had remained immersed in ministry, I couldn’t see where I was going, where I stood in relation to God’s will or plan. Was I living out God’s will or my own?
I could no longer tell the difference.
What about you? How confident are you that your present course is God’s path for your life? The anxiety and second-guessing whether we’ve made the right choice over this path or that one, is a terrible feeling isn’t it?
Looking back, I found two things that lured me away from God’s path:
- We lose our way when we “follow our dreams” instead of following Jesus. This can be a confusing topic, so I wrote a 2 part “Discover Your Dream” series on following God-given dreams vs. our own dreams — and how to tell the difference. Click here to see if the dream you are following is God-given or self-directed.
- We lose our way when we try to mix our right-now desires with God’s eternal purposes. I.e., “I’m going to go after what I want to achieve — satisfaction, significance, and success — and live a good Christian life while doing it.” It’s believing that pursuing our desires in a “godly” way = God’s will for our life.
But I found that even godly desires can deceive me when they aren’t fully submitted to God’s kingdom agenda. Even godly desires can deceive us when they aren't fully submitted to God's kingdom agenda. Click To Tweet
But because God is a merciful, faithful Father, He didn’t say, “See! I knew you’d blow it…” God didn’t give up on me and He won’t give up on you either.
Getting Back on Track
Because God is a gracious, patient Father, He will help you find the way back to God’s path where your footing is firm and your faith effective.
- Go back to where you know you had it right. Look back to the last place in your life you were confident of God’s guidance. That will be the last time you were sure of His will because you clearly heard Him speak to your heart, received confirmation and affirmation through Scripture, and the godly counsel of mature Christians. (Isaiah 30:21)
Renew your commitment to follow Him. Starting from that last place of clear guidance, re-commit your life to Him and surrender every ambition, dream, and plan. (John 6:38)
Wait for God to speak. Don’t take any steps no matter the pressure until you hear God’s clear guidance to do so. Then only go as far as He clearly directs. Step by step. Inch by inch. (Isaiah 48:17)
Walking in God’s will with the confidence that my present efforts are God-driven and Spirit-directed is something I don’t ever want to miss out on again. And God’s “limits”? Blessings! To keep us safe on His chosen path and off of our own.God will graciously guide us back where our footing is firm and our faith is effective. Click To Tweet
How about you? What helps you find your way back to God’s path for your life?
“What Are You Living For?” Revive Our Hearts Radio
God Can Restore Your Lost Years – Colin Smith, The Gospel Coalition
Featured image courtesy of Nic Shuliahin