About a month ago, I blogged about finding contentment on earth. My conclusion: It’s impossible. That blog, as well as the one from two weeks ago about how I react when I read great novels, both stemmed from a general feeling of unease I’ve had lately, the fear that I’m on the wrong track in my career—or my life.
Last week, I decided to seek the Lord’s guidance. Rather than spend my usual two hours every morning writing, I spent that time with the Lord. Each morning included worship, prayer, and Scripture readings. Most mornings also included a walk through a nearby park. I would enjoy the pretty weather and the wildlife that happened across my path. (Aside from the usual birds and squirrels, I also caught sight of a blue heron, two rabbits, and a turtle. I like to think God brought them just for me.)
I wish I could tell you the hours were all glorious and amazing, but the truth is, often I felt awkward and silly. The first day, I posed a number of questions to God, and he responded with a whole pile of things he wanted me to confess and repent of. That was great fun.
The second day, I never got to all my questions, because the Lord brought to mind all the people in my life who are struggling, and I spent the morning praying for them.
The third day, I was swept away in prayer for my family, which morphed into prayers for our nation, then our world, the words being lifted almost before I knew them.
The week continued like that, me praying about whatever came to mind, mostly about nothing that had to do with the questions that had led me there. It was awkward sometimes, amazing at others. I knew the Lord was with me, and by the end of the week, the questions that had kept me awake at night for weeks seemed unimportant. God had it, and He would lead me.
And somewhere along the way, he did. By Friday, I realized that I knew what God wanted me to do. There’d been no audible voice, no neon sign, but the direction suddenly seemed so obvious, I wondered if I hadn’t known it all along. I’d asked him what story I should work on next. During the week, he gave me a general plot for one, answering the question. I’d asked him about another project, and by the end of the week, I had a first step.
Turns out, the week of praying wasn’t about finding answers at all. It was about seeking God’s face and trusting that the leading would come. I wish I had a blueprint for the next five years. But now I know the next few steps. Beyond that, I’ll trust him to lead.
Isaiah 30:15 reads, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” The Israelites ignored God’s advice—we know this, because the next line says, “But you would have none of it.”
But God encouraged them. Just a few verses later read:
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help… 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 30:18, 19, 21).
The week I spent with God was about repentance and rest, quietness and trust. I shouldn’t be surprised that he responded by giving me directions for my life. Doesn’t he always keep his promises?
What do you do when you need direction from the Lord?
Do you have any similar stories to share?
Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.