How I Make Big Decisions about Big and Little Things

I received an email last week from a friend who just left the states for the World Race, an 11-month missions trip to 11 different countries and a trip that I too embarked on a year and a half ago.

As I read the details of Summer’s first few days in Nepal—about sleeping in airports, eating strange food, living with 13 too many other people, crossing third world borders, and walking miles to ministry—I found myself beyond relieved that I’d already completed the journey. I recalled my first month serving overseas in Ecuador. I thought about the person I was then and about the months and countries I’d have to endure to become the person I am today.

My friend closed her email with this statement:

I’m learning about myself and the human flesh. We’re all uniquely made in the image of Him, but 12 sinful people living together gets pretty real each day. It’s fun living in community with people who share the same beliefs and pretty challenging as we’re being called up to step into the things the Lord reveals along the way.

I sat on the sofa, processing Summer’s words and imagining myself in her shoes. I could relate far too much. “No way,” I thought to myself. “There’s no way I could do that a second time.” (All over again? Absolutely. Two rounds of it? Not a chance.) Again, I felt relief wash over me as I reassured myself that I’m back in “normal life.”

Then I looked over at my loving husband, who had his back to me and was washing dishes in the kitchen. (He proofread this blog and said I should change that to “was skinning a buck,” haha!) “I met him on the Race,” I thought to myself again.

“I’m going to go take a shower,” I said to Tony. I needed to think, and I do my best thinking when I’m alone.

It’s crazy how God works. His vision is so much bigger than ours, and when we finally accept that He has more capacity and foresight than we could ever hope for, our lives (and the way we live them) change. In my opinion, for the better.

“Why do you want to go on the World Race?” they asked. “Don’t you want to prepare yourself more? Perhaps you should do a short-term trip first.” “How will you live on so little?” “What will you do when you return?” “What if something bad happens?”

Eventually, I started asking those questions myself. But I knew the answer. I couldn’t explain why. I couldn’t prove why or rationalize why. I didn’t know anything other than what God told me: “Go.”

Because I couldn’t make sense of the command, I nearly missed out on fufillling the call.

If God is calling you to do something that you can’t make sense of, here’s what you need to do: Trust that He has more foresight than you.

When I went on the World Race, I had no clue what was “out there” for me. I couldn’t have imagined the challenges and the blessings that awaited my arrival. But God knew. He knew what and why and how and when... and He still knows.

I live in South Africa now, in a flat I lived in while on the Race and with my husband who I met during month six of 11. We’re working on planting our life and ministry here. We have dreams and aspirations and goals, and somedays, we’re not quite sure how they’ll come to fruition... or why we’re even here. We question our ability and knowledge. 

But what we are sure of is that God has more foresight than us. And for some reason, He’s called us to South Africa for now. So for now, this is where we’ll be.

Are you struggling with making a big decision? Here are a few things that always help me choose which path I should take:

  • Prayer: It’s easy to ask a friend, sibling or parent, “What should I do?” And that’s fine... as long as their opinions don’t hinder you from seeking, listening to and obeying God. As believers, we must sit with the Lord. Prayer and communion with Him are vital parts of the Christian walk. Always ask for guidance, direction and clarity when making big decisions. 
  • Peace: I find that peace is almost always associated with God’s commands. God doesn’t promise us safe, comfortable living, but He does promise to never leave us. His commands may involve danger or risk to our physical bodies, but because His presence is with us, we experience peace amidst the difficulty. 
  • Courage: The hardest part about obeying a divine command is having the courage (and faith) to leap. Nike’s rather famous slogan “Just Do It” comes to mind. Seriously, if you’ve earnestly sought the Lord and received confirmation about a certain decision, just do it. Leap!
  • Expectations: Just go ahead and throw those out the window. Most of the time, things don’t go the way we expected them to, and as a result, we find ourselves, mad, sad, or some other version of “not happy.” Remember that God’s vision is bigger and better... don’t miss out on what He’s doing because things didn’t go your way.
  • Trust: You’ve made the decision. You’re doing “the thing.” Now, you need endurance to walk out the calling you’ve received, and the way to do that is to trust. Even when you get sick, when funds dwindle, when you face persecution, when you don’t have the answers to all of the questions... let your faith be tested, and trust in God.

Thank you to everyone who is following our journey. We’ve been so blessed by many of you, and I want you to know that we pray continually for your hearts.

Love,
Julie

Summer in purple at the YEBO Knox Retreat in January 2014, where she made the decision to go on the World Race.