“I’ll have to pray about it.”
How many times do you hear that when it comes to big decisions? If you’re doing it right, probably a lot. As Christians, we are called to pray to God and follow His leading. But how can we do that if we spend all the time we pray talking, and no time listening?
I’m one of those people you would call a chronic overthinker. I just think and overanalyze something until I’ve worked myself into a panic. And that’s all because I am focusing on my own ability to work things out, or make the future come faster, or something similar. Recently, I’ve been working on, when I start to get anxious, praying for God’s rest and peace, because ultimately it is His journey I’m to follow, and it’ll do me no good to freak out about it. How do we figure out what God wants us to do, though? All too often, when I’m listening to God, it just sounds like my own thoughts pinballing around in my brain. I think a lot of people have this problem.
If you grew up in a Christian home, the odds are good that you might have listened to Adventures in Odyssey growing up (Bernard Walton was my favorite character by far!). AIO is a Christian kids program that teaches a whole lot of Biblical truth. I’m going to be honest, half of the reason I know the Bible stories that I do is because of AIO. It’s so awesome that I still listen to it (I have 391 tracks of AIO on my phone. Oops.) In an episode called The Nudge on album 47, the issue of listening to God comes into play.
Marvin Washington wins an Odyssey Middle School fundraiser prize of a brand new Stingray 21 speed bike. He already has a bike, but the new one is much cooler and in better shape than the old one. After Marvin messes around with a kid named Grady on the bus, Grady retaliates and is suspended from riding the bus. Without the bus, Grady has no way to get to school. Marvin realizes this, and feels compelled to give Grady his bike. Since he has two, he tries to leave the junker bike on Grady’s curb, ring the doorbell and leave, but the trash people accidentally pick it up. Eventually, Marvin feels like he still has to do something. But he really, really doesn’t want to give up his bike. He goes to Mr. Whittaker, the guy all the kids in town go to for advice. The advice Whit gives Marvin on listening to God is impeccable.
Marvin asks him “How can I tell the difference between a Marvin thought and a God thought?” Whit says that he checks on three things when he makes decisions: the Bible, Godly counsel, and peace. Whit asks if giving Marvin’s bike away would go against the Bible. After a comic quip, Marvin realizes that it doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible not to give your bike away, or not to give generously. Then Whit talks about Godly counsel, going to someone older and wiser, who seeks God in their everyday life. For Marvin, he uses Whit. But Whit gives the example of a strong Christian friend, or one’s parents. Whit says, lastly, that when God asks him to do something, even if it’s difficult, God gives him a sense of peace about it.
Isn’t that profound? And these are three things that we can easily do to see if we think God wants us to take action and we’re not sure. This is clearly not something that will work every single time, we are flawed humans, and God knows everything, so sometimes we won’t be able to know. But this is definitely a good start. I’m thankful that Focus on the Family makes AIO so engaging to listen to for all ages, teaching kids at a young age about amazing Biblical truths, and good ways to live the Christian life. If you’re interested in AIO, click here. If you want to read more about The Nudge, click here.
Meanwhile, I hope this works well for you. Remember to go to God in everything that you do or want to do. He wants to be a part of the process! A lot of the time, the reason that I write these posts is that I am honestly trying to convince myself of this. So I’m still working on this one. In the meantime, I’ve got some Godly counsel to seek. God bless!