I was talking to a friend the other day about trusting God to answer, knowing how to discern God’s voice and when to take action. She said, “Well, what do you think God is telling you to do?”
I said, “Well, I’m not sure, but I think it’s to move. I’m not sure where or how or when, but I don’t feel like this is home and everything I try to do falls apart. It really isn’t where I want to stay, but if I move, there’s a lot to do. I just moved here.”
“There,” she said. “That’s your problem. You’re overthinking it.”
“You’re right. You’re right,” I agreed.
“You know what I do? When I hear God telling me to do something, it’s like a download. I feel it in my gut. Then, like lightspeed, I act. I don’t wonder about it, try to work out the details. Bam! Idea. Gut. Act. You’ve got to trust.” Her look was intense.
“Like what?” I asked. I didn’t tell her this, but I’ve been working on impulsivity and focus. I get plenty of ideas and frequently the things people talk about all sound like fun or entertaining or interesting. My life is the chaos of someone who is simultaneously attention deficit and lacking in impulse control. I have to stop, drop down deep, and then decide whether or not to roll. Over the years I’ve had to practice enormous self-discipline and self-control. It could take hours or days or even months for me to know whether something is true for me. In my older years, I want to be more discerning, less ego-driven, wiser, but not stuck. I’m not sure how one gets that right balance.
“Well, when I moved from the farm, one day I walked in from being out of town and before I even took off my coat, I knew it was time. I called my brother, asked if I could stay with him, called my housekeeper and my farm manager and asked them to make arrangements to pack up the house and the tools and sell off the flocks. Then, I took off my coat, made a cup of tea, and sat down.” She smiled.
“Trust. If you get an answer, check your gut. Roll.”
I nodded again and took a deep breath. “Roll.”
We hung up the phone. I closed my eyes. “Move?” I didn’t feel a “download.” Nothing in my gut. There was a little nagging in the back of my mind that this wasn’t where I needed to be or maybe the feeling was more like this wasn’t where I was going to be for long or maybe it was just I hadn’t been here long enough for it to feel like this is where I was supposed to be? Hard to tell. Apparently, my leaky gut meant there was a bad connection. Still, if the answer was for me to go, what would that look like? I don’t have a brother with an extra bedroom in which I could stay. I don’t have a housekeeper who would pack up all my things or a farm manager who could sell the flocks and pack the tools. What could I do? I put the kettle on and made a cup of tea. I sat down and cradled the cup between my hands.
“God,” I said, “We’re going to have to do better than this. Maybe you could heal my leaky gut, so I can feel an answer, send me a housekeeper to pack up all my things, and a farm manager to deal with the critters. I mean there’s a level of trust when you aren’t being asked to walk away from your life because you have a place to go, others to handle the nitty gritty and the means to make it all happen. And then there’s the trust when you don’t have a place to go, have to abandon everything and walk into the unknown. And then, there’s the trust of staying long enough to understand Your plan, make certain it’s You and not me, handle the minutiae of arrangements and proceed in an orderly fashion. Which of those are you calling me to do? No rush. I’ll wait.” I took a deep breath, exhaled completely and sipped my tea.