In my Bible reading this morning, a verse popped out of me from Ecclesiastes 12:12: “Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.”
That got personal.
I am finishing up a book that I’ve been writing and have plans to start doctoral work in the fall. After reading this verse, the question came up, as it did for Eve in the Garden, “Did God really say…”
With all confidence, I can confirm that I am supposed to be writing the book I am working on. I wanted to share some important biblical truths with a dear friend, and was looking for the right publication to facilitate a conversation. When I couldn’t find the exact book I needed, I clearly heard the Holy Spirit say, “You do it.”
The last time I heard, “You do it,” it became an original Bible study that turned into the book I co-authored with Catherine Weiskopf, If I Only Had…Wrapping Yourself in God’s Truth During Storms of Insecurity, a four-time writing award winner. The process for the current manuscript has been supernatural, almost an obsession, and the writing of it has gone faster than any other book I’ve penned to date. In addition, an artist friend offered to do the cover—for free. His yoke is easy…
As for school, that is where there is some waffling, and I want to make sure I have the same clarity that this is part of God’s plan for my life. I am seeking the additional stamp of approval from the Lord because I can come up with many reasons why I shouldn’t do it. Have you ever needed confirmation? Maybe you’re in a similar place now and need an “all systems go” message about what you believe is a new calling. Here are some of the steps we can take for clarity when we think we’ve received a divine directive, then start to question.
- Seek Clarity from God’s Word. I am digging a little deeper, and asking specifically if I am supposed to proceed with this advanced schooling. I know school will not be blessed if I heard Him wrong, and if it’s not of Him. We should all desire to be in the center of God’s will, and His word can show us how to proceed. Just today I was reading about the people of Judah during the reign of King Asa. 2 Chronicles 15:15 says, “They earnestly sought after God, and they found Him.” You can find your answer when you earnestly seek it through God’s word.
- Seek Clarity from Godly Counsel. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” I have asked a close friend, who is also my leadership coach, to pray for my discernment, and I know that the next time we have a conversation, she will help me process what all has occurred to lead me to this decision. She has already sent questions that you can ask yourself: “How Is the Lord leveling up your influence?” “What learning is a burden or easy yolk upon you?” “Where are you filled with more energy and joy?” To date, she has not had a check in her spirit about my plan and has been extremely supportive of this decision to pursue my doctorate.
- Seek Clarity from Patterns. For me, this is one of the ways I best know when God is leading me in a certain direction. Repeat messages from the Bible, devotionals, or from other people. As I looked back on some of the reading that has spoken to me over the past couple of weeks, it has all been about this calling to a advanced degree. From my YouVersion study, “Resting in His Power”: “If we are in tune with God, we walk through open doors, knowing that He is going to do the heavy lifting and that it’s His work to do through us. God is not going to lead us into failure.” Hmm. I had been worried about the study workload combined with my ministry workload. Then I heard team member Rosemary Legrand in my head when this verse came up from Proverbs 20:24. Rosemary has this on her Voice Mail message: “The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way” (NLT). Just this morning, my devotional said, “He calls you, qualifies you, and then empowers you with the boldness to take the first step.” There were other repeat messages, as well as being awarded a small scholarship, but you see the pattern and the encouragement. God knows what’s ahead even though I don’t and is trying to calm my fears as he stretches me through a call to additional learning. He will do that for you as well.
Before I committed to seminary back in 2003, I also developed cold feet. After I was accepted, I threw up a number of roadblocks because I became scared of what the commitment would involve. But the Lord is faithful. He tore down every blockade that I constructed, so that both my husband and I would know, beyond of shadow of a doubt, that this was His calling on my life and so I would never look back. He promised to lead me through it, which He did.
Are you afraid of a future assignment that seems like it’s more than you can handle? It’s normal. If you need clarity, Just press in closer to God and listen. He’ll show you where he wants you during this season.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).