I began by evaluating each area of my life and asking myself and God if the situation was the best God had for me. At that particular time. In that exact way. Until then, I hadn’t been in the habit of asking what God had for me because I was used to taking on anything and everything that seemed acceptable.
It was amazing how many things received a “no” answer.
Sure, some situations seemed a little obvious to me like: not keeping a bottle of wine in my refrigerator (I had struggled with alcoholism), or not spending time talking to the attractive, single man at church (since my marriage then was in trouble), but to other areas, I was oblivious.
Like: How bad could it be for me to volunteer for everything at church??
Actually, pretty bad. I was worn out with activities, mostly at church, because I didn’t know how to say no. I felt obligated to do anything anyone asked. I feared their disappointment, anger or disapproval. God wanted me to see that though he has something for everyone, not everything is for me. I knew I shouldn’t worry about the approval of people, but I had always lived to please others. I didn’t know any other way.
I hated to let people down.
Truthfully, because of choices to make changes in my life, some of my friendships changed. I mourned the loss, but suddenly saw where some of my relationships were lacking in depth. I also began to see that when I stepped out of something, or said “not this time,” it opened a place for someone else to participate or serve.
Even good activities can be bad if they aren’t the best for you.
I had to choose to give up things that weren’t adding to my life in positive ways. Even seemingly good things. I discovered that if some situation was good, but the timing wasn’t fitting, it wasn’t the best for me. How did I know? Gut instinct. A little whisper in my heart that said “not this one” or “give this up.”
At one point, I struggled to give up a sports activity that took a tremendous amount of my time and energy. I loved playing hockey, coaching my kids and helping on the board, but deep down I knew the situation wasn’t the best for me or my family. When I asked a friend for her input, she simply asked,
What is your gut telling you?
And I knew. If I was willing to be honest with myself.
God really did have a good plan!
Part of his plan was to simplify my life so he could deal with areas that needed healing. I had used busyness as a way to numb my pain and keep from dealing with issues I couldn’t fix. I needed time to be still and listen to God which couldn’t happen running from one activity to the next while taking care of four children and a business. I needed discipline and balance to replace my pinball game life. Rest and refreshment were completely foreign to me, but necessary for my sanity and health!
Finally, I recognized my tendency to be pressed by what seemed urgent.
However, God is rarely urgent. He may be gently insistent or persistent, but the panicking voice I heard in me pushing me to say, do or acquire something right now wasn’t God. God is patient and has a specific time for everything. So, if something seemed too pressing, I learned to deliberately choose to ask God again for his direction and wait. His plans would give me the very best of life. Like my husband.How have you learned to make better choices? What is a good choice you’ve made?