Tag Archives: discernment

START A “TO DON’T LIST”

Start a “To Don’t List”

“Normal people do normal things at a normal – breakneck – pace and never have enough time to do the most important things” (page 27, Weird, by Craig Groeschel)

I am a normal person. For years I tried to do everything. And because of a strong sense of self I took on whatever people offered. I am sure pride had a lot to do with it.

“When we overschedule ourselves in the belief that we can do everything, we stop being human and try to become godlike – not only impossible but also incredibly arrogant” (page 26, Weird, Craig Groeschel).

Oh that was me. Prideful and arrogant.

This year I tried a new tack – I started a To Don’t List. What can I not do? How can I wrestle more time for those things that I have a passion for and where I think God is leading?

I started over 2 years ago with NO TV. That freed up an amazing amount of time. But I filled it again with other stuff.

Craig Groeschel reminded me:

“We have to remind ourselves that just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should” (page 33, Weird, Craig Groeschel).

That meant a closer look at exactly what I did. How do I discern a good choice from the best choice?

I think that first I have to go to God – ask Him to show me what He wants me to do; where I find my passion; and how much time can I give to it.

For example one thing I took off my to do list this year – teaching Sunday School. My personality type makes me always want to do my best – I have high expectations. This job, which I love, took too much time for what transpired. So God said – NO.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. (Romans 1 MSG)”

My days are lighter, brighter and filled with promise. I am feeling JOY.  Stress is less. I do get things done but He shows me the way. And if I am following the wrong path, I know He will show me the correct one.

Another Quote from Craig:

“Christ had to make difficult decisions about how he would spend his limited time on earth. His example has a lot to teach us.”

Other articles you might enjoy on To Don’t Lists – God’s Way:

Crosswalk.com

Huffington Post

You might also like Jesus the Way so Pray.

BE HONEST – PART 4

Be Honest – Part 4

In the past three weeks I have tried to show you how our “humanness” can cloud our listening to the Holy Spirit. We have looked at jealousy, having a critical nature and selfishness.

The last question is:

Are my emotions clouding my discernment?

Our emotions have been given to us by God. We don’t want to get rid of them but we need God to help us understand them so we can trust them.

If we do get burned we might be tempted to develop a hardness of heart, putting up a wall so we won’t be hurt again.

Let’s look at the emotion of love. We are told over and over again to love our neighbours. But God wants us to love wisely. “God’s love is wide-eyed open” (page 135, Faithful Abundant and True). And knowing God’s Word will help us make wise and knowledgeable decisions. We are capable of being deceived if we rely solely on our emotions.

For example. I still have to work on my anger. Most times I have no trouble with this. But, if I am tired, stressed or rushed it can rear its ugly head so quickly that I can’t stuff it back in before it’s too late. I find this is particularly true in my relationship with my husband. For some reason he can still raise my ire. I know I shouldn’t fall into the trap – but snap – I have done it again. So I continue to pray over this one. I can see improvement. And God has shown me how to use this emotion he has given me for good – for advocacy on the part of others and to stimulate discussion in showing the heart of God in relationships.

Check yourselves – do your emotions rule your life? Or can God help you to use them wisely.

Prayer:

Father, we thank You for making us the way you have. Help us to know You better so we can know ourselves more. Help us to come to You to help see whether we can trust our emotions in each situation. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

This study is based on a book called Faithful, Abundant and True with Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore.

BE HONEST – PART 3

Be Honest – Part 3

In the first two posts I have described two of the things that can blindside us from the Truth in what God is telling us. I discussed both jealousy and a critical nature.

This week’s question is:

Do I have anything selfish to gain from this outcome?

One sentence in the study stood out. Some people enjoy being right about people being wrong. Ouch. At first I pushed this one away – and I said, “I don’t think that way. I am following Christ. I don’t want anyone to be wrong.” Oops – not true. I think about when I think I am right about something and my husband disagrees with me. Boy do I want to be right! And when I am proved right – smug is the word. And if I am proved wrong – it is very humbling and I don’t want to admit it.

Here is another statement: Pride pushes us to desire our best over the best of others. Double ouch. When I used to curl (a competitive team game played on ice) I found myself so engrossed in the game of winning that I got tense and wanted everyone to put as much effort as I did into their play. Of course, being tense did nothing to help my own contribution to the team and being overly hyper in my demands did nothing to help anyone else either. I pulled back from competitive play because I didn’t like me anymore. Now I have started to learn tennis. So far, so good but I am only learning – haven’t really played a game. Have I learned enough to pray before – in order to remember what is really important – people and their hearts? Being Christ and showing Christ?

Rather than merely looking out for my interest, can I begin to place the needs of others before my own?

The only way to see God in situations is to see myself in His Light. Will He shine in me today? Can I push my pride aside and get my personal agenda out of the way to see God? Hard questions. Only God can help me do that. One day at a time.

Prayer:

Father, help me to push self to the side, and seek Your face. Help me see if I am doing something from selfishness. Help me place others’ needs before my own. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

Next week I will continue with the last question. This study is based on a book called Faithful, Abundant and True with Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore.

BE HONEST – PART 2

Be Honest – Part 2

Last week I chose one of 4 questions that can be used to make sure that my discernment is God directed and not personal. I chose number 2 to start. Do I feel jealous or threatened?

Today I will go back to number 1.

Am I a critical person by nature?

This hit me hard. I am constantly judging people, actions and ideas. I ask these questions:

Why did that happen?

Why would she do such a thing?

Wouldn’t it be better if…?

I guess the perfectionism in me brings out this characteristic. What I do know is that I can overcome some of this by looking to God. I have a particularly strong nature – so I have to temper that with a lot of prayer in order to know that it is God speaking and not me. I don’t want to be deceived by this earthly characteristic.

For example: Three years ago I went on a mission trip to Poland. I was led to believe I had charge of the children’s program. Organizer that I am, I prepared what I thought would be the best for the children. After the first day I knew there was a problem. I could feel the tension in the group of leaders. We had a number of Polish leaders in our group who were strong willed as well. You can see a confrontation coming can’t you? Thank the Lord – I saw it, too. After praying by myself I knew the only way to reconcile this group was a group prayer session. I immediately called the group together to pray. As we spilled out our hearts to God, tears ran and we all agreed to listen closely to every opinion. We revamped the program and it ran very well for the rest of the week. That was a lesson in discernment – hearing God after getting rid of my critical nature. Painful but productive for God and eventually for me.

Prayer:

Father, for those of us who are critical by nature, help us see the Truth of Your will in all our situations. Be our guiding Light so we can hear from You and not from our own natures. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN

Next week I will continue with another question. This study is based on a book called Faithful, Abundant and True with Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore.

BE HONEST – CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF?

Be Honest – Can you see yourself?

We talked in Bible Study about discernment. One small part of that was to be able to say no to four questions before being open to hear the Holy Spirit (the Truth). The four questions were:

  1. Am I a critical or suspicious person by nature?
  2. Am I jealous or do I feel threatened?
  3. Do I have anything selfish to gain from this outcome?
  4. Are my emotions clouding my discernment?

These were good questions. Figuring out where I might be blocking the Truth was difficult. But then when I knew the answer, there arose another question – how do I change?

Ask God –

For instance in the jealousy department I had to ask myself – do I congratulate others for what they do or do I secretly harbour resentment at their accomplishments. Now that I “see” this tendency in me I can pray for God to soften my heart and instead of being jealous of someone I can work at being jealous for that person. As I pray I see how God works in that person’s life and how, as I pray He works in mine, too. I can start to love freely – to pray for good things to happen as that person grows in Christ.

Here is a personal example:

As a writer who is floundering at the moment – trying to find out where and what I am to write, I sometimes do feel envious of the published authors, the speakers, the ones “at the top”. It is not a serious jealousy – just a little itch. But I saw it and confronted it. Now I need to take it seriously, before it clouds what God might want of me – so I can clearly discern His will.

Are there specifics that You can ask God to reveal to you? What might be blocking your spiritual discernment?

Prayer:

Father, as You reveal to us what can muffle Your voice, we ask that You help us to work through each specific blockage and make us wholly open to Your will for our lives. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Next week I will continue with the other questions. This study is based on a book called Faithful, Abundant and True with Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore.