I'm currently looking for an answer. 2015 is my year of change... I already know that God has been up to something, with continual shifts in my life.
Yet for months, I haven't sensed I've had the go-ahead in my soul to approach God about these brewing changes. God tells us to ask him for all things and wants us to draw close to him so our requests are in-line with his desires for our heart. Yet there was still no green light for me to step out and ask him for clarity.
Instead I felt God prompting me to hold off in seeking discernment for the future. The first thing he wanted me to do was to get to know his character, to know his heart and who he is.
I've learnt to discern God's little whisper in my heart – and while I don't always get it right (or obey it), I usually have a sense in my soul about how to move forward in a certain situation.
As I've become closer to him, I really do want my desires for my future to be his. I don't want to end up marrying Mr Average, choosing the wrong job path, investing time with negative people, disregarding where God is asking me to put my finances (still a work in progress to be sure).
But God had never asked me to wait before I went to him with a question. Why did he do that?
I believe that in the past, God knew that I needed confidence in knowing I'd heard his voice. And so he would encourage me to ask, and he would answer, often in specific ways. It often involved waiting for a time for the answer to come, but he would confirm it through scripture and give me a peace about it in a deep part of my soul.
So getting to know his character before asking for clarity for the future seemed a bit weird. What would knowing him deeper provide?
In her excellent study book, Discerning the Voice of God, Priscilla Shirer says that God will 'never speak a word to you that will contradict his character or His sovereignly designed plans.'*
Perhaps there was a season coming that would require a leap of faith from me. A situation that depended on me knowing his character intimately so I would actually act upon his direction, not just hear it.
So often we end up relying on promptings from friends/family/the random person giving prayer ministry at church to give us clarity for our specific situation. We can end up living in confusion waiting for God to answer, with all our many options swirling around us.
And then when we finally decide to take a leap of faith in one direction, we hope that God's holy blockade will put a stop to our decision if it's 'wrong'. Asking other people to pray that we would have discernment is good, but it's not always the right answer.
Showing us who He is
I believe that God often wants to show us as an individual who he is before he reveals what he has for us. He might not be ready to make something clear until we know him more. Until we know him better.
There may be a reason you are sitting, stagnant in your situation. God might not be prepared to open the curtain to give you that first glimpse of sunlight over what you have been waiting for an answer on. He might be keeping those curtains closed a little longer, because it's not yet daylight and you aren't yet ready to see the view.
If you're frustrated in your current circumstances, you could try a different approach in purposefully stepping back and asking God to show you his character instead. I don't believe that He will disappoint you!
With that said, I've finally felt a release to ask God to reveal his plans for me this year. Perhaps there's a reason why I haven't written down my goals and desires for 2015 yet... Maybe I'll leave it an open book.
A book I'm now expecting God to open in his time, as I get to know the author better. Because now I know it's in his character to show me. I know he won't let me down.
*From Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognise when God Speaks by Priscilla Shirer, LifeWay Press, Nashville, Tennesee, 2006
Originally from The Lake District in the UK, Amanda works in Publishing in Auckland and is passionate about seeing Christians bring salt and light into the media, arts and creative industries.
Amanda Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/amanda-robinson.html