This is funny. Ironic really. So many times I have heard people groan in frustration, “I just wish I knew what was coming! I wish I knew what the next step was or what to expect! I feel so frustrated not knowing what to do next. Aargh!”
When we follow the leading of the Spirit, or try to listen to our intuition to guide us, it often feels that way. We are listening, stretching our inner being, waiting for a signal, a sign, something to help us find our way. We often have no idea what to expect. We just keep plodding along, step by step, hoping there’s some direction in the seemingly randomness of our life experiences.
In fact, I’ve heard people reply to this frustration with, “God doesn’t tell you ahead of time what is coming because if you knew, you’d run the other way!”
Or others have said of themselves, “I’m glad I don’t know ahead of time because if I did I’d run ahead and probably mess it up.”
Lots of rationalizations to help us deal with the frustration.
However, I have always wished I knew what was coming ahead of time. I’m sure I’ve asked that question a million times, “What’s next, Lord?” And I’ve expressed my share of frustration over this issue.
Well, guess what? Now, I’ve experienced the flip side of this and it is just as frustrating. Let me explain.
For several weeks now I have felt this inner nudging that I need to call a certain person. I wrote it down as a note to myself. I rehearsed the dialog in my mind – what am I going to say? What do I need to tell them? How will they respond? I’ve done this several times over the last few weeks.
And yet, I cannot find it within myself to make that call. I don’t know why.
I’ve wrestled with – Why can’t I call them? It’s not a big deal. They are a friendly sort of person. I haven’t talked to them in awhile, but that’s not a big deal. The conversation should be pleasant.
Funny, isn’t it?
And then this morning, it dawned on me. It’s not time yet! I don’t know how I knew this, I just “knew”. I felt it inside. I AM supposed to call this person, but just not yet. That’s why I can’t seem to make myself do it. It seemed completely irrational, yet now I understand.
So, to me this is rather ironic. We often wish we knew what the next step was on our path and we get frustrated waiting and wondering what’s next. And yet, when I received the next step ahead of time, it was frustrating for me. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t time yet. I felt this nudge to do it, but I didn’t have the means to accomplish it.
Great insight. Now, I know. If you get a sense of direction, but you feel blocked, then just wait for the right timing.
It’s funny because yesterday when I was trying to figure out what to do next, I literally felt an arm holding me back. It felt like when you are kid and your parent puts an arm across the top of your chest from behind, holding you from going forward. It puzzled me. I felt safe, but I couldn’t move forward. Now, I’m beginning to understand.
Finding your way in the unseen realm is uncertain because you can’t SEE anything. I go mainly by feeling things (i.e. peace or no peace). Sometimes I get an inner “knowing”. Rarely do I get a “sign” or something that’s real obvious. And yet, looking back, things seem to be orchestrated beautifully.
Well, I learned my lesson today. It might help others, so I decided to post it. I’m beginning to get the idea that some things are orchestrated for us and other things are up to us. Wisdom is figuring out which is which. 🙂
Feel free to comment – What are your thoughts on getting direction?
I am making up a new word: Respondability
Let me explain.
God keeps showing me, impressing on my thoughts, this idea that we need to pay attention to how we respond when He tries to get our attention. Are we responding?
If you want to develop a relationship with someone, then when they call you, you want to take their call. You respond to their desire to connect with you.
In the same way, God reaches out to us every day. You feel a nudge in your heart. Or your eyes are drawn to something specific that makes you smile (or causes you concern). You feel this tug of love toward someone or you spontaneously feel like smiling at a neighbor who is walking by. These are examples of His desire to connect with us. Sometimes He draws you to spend time in prayer or worship or meditation on His beautiful creation. Sometimes you feel the nudge to just sit still and BE. There’s so many ways He reaches out to us.
Some might refer to this as intuition and that would be right, but it is much more personal than just intuition. At least, it is for me. It is God inviting me into relationship with Him.
He has been encouraging me that when we respond to His nudges, His direction, His drawing, then He will take care of what we generally consider our “responsibilities”. We can rest in Him. Just like a little child with a good, caring father. We don’t have to have it all figured out. We can ask for help and He will respond and help us. For more on this, read this post about asking for help.
He keeps telling me, impressing on my mind and heart, that life is more about our “respondability” than our “responsibility”. Our ability to respond to Him, no matter what. That takes time and cultivation. If you are not used to recognizing His nudges and direction, you need to take time to learn to perceive them. Once you begin to perceive them, you need to respond to them. Follow them and see where they go. At some point, you need to transfer your trust from your own “common sense” to following His direction effortlessly. Stop second guessing yourself and just go with His flow. It never ceases to amaze me how things work out so much better when I do this.
We focus so much on our “responsibilities” as adults. There’s so much we have to keep track of – doctors appointments, car tune ups, household chores, career development, parenting, marriage issues, friendships, etc. It boggles the mind. And overwhelms us … and causes us stress.
However, if we will let go of our sense of “responsibilities” and instead choose to develop our “respondability”, He can guide us moment-by-moment, day-by-day. All our responsibilities will get taken care of as we respond to Him and His guidance.
Pretty “out-there”, huh?
It takes a lot of practice – this “following” thing. We are so hard-headed and stubborn and unwilling to trust someone we cannot see. But as we choose to deny ourselves and actually FOLLOW Him, it works. It really does. And it’s a lot less stressful than the other option.
So, what do you think? Should I submit this word to Merriam-Webster? Maybe create a YouTube video about it, make it go viral and then everyone will start using this word? 🙂
The concept behind it is definitely worth sharing. Try it out and let me know how it works for you. I think you’ll be glad you did!
I rely on my intuition – it has helped me a lot in the past. I get a “feeling” about someone or something and it turns out to be true. Sometimes it is negative like “don’t trust that person”. Other times, it is positive like “she is gentle and kind”.
I often use my intuition when making plans. All my friends know this about me. When a friend calls and asks, “Hey, wanna have lunch on Wednesday?” I stop and check my intuition. Some people call this a “gut feeling”. Science has even confirmed this – they call it the enteric brain, located somewhere near your stomach. (I’m not kidding – go ahead, Google “enteric brain” and you’ll see what I mean.)
Anyway, in my “gut” I reach out and “look” at the calendar for Wednesday. I see whether it “feels” like a good decision to meet on this day. (I also check my calendar to see if I am free.) Sometimes, the way is clear – I know I can make plans on Wednesday so I confirm with my friend. Other times, I have a feeling that it just won’t work out. So I’ll tell the person, “Yes, I’d love to have lunch with you on Wednesday. Let’s plan on it and then see what happens. Let’s reconfirm Wednesday morning, ok?”
Often when I have that feeling that it won’t work, they will call me the night before and tell me they can’t meet. Something has “suddenly” come up – a child sick, being called into work unexpectedly, etc. Sometimes it will be something on my end as well. It has happened so many times that I’ve learned to rely on this “knowing” when I make plans with someone.
What I don’t understand is the “gray” area. For instance, last week a friend and I wanted to get together. I had just been thinking of her and she texted me that she wanted to meet. “Synchronicity”, right? So we made plans – I didn’t sense anything blocking our meeting. Then she called me a few hours before we were scheduled to meet and I could hardly hear her on the phone – she had lost her voice. She went to the doctor and he confirmed she was fighting an infection.
Finally, after bed rest and medicine, she felt better so we rescheduled. When we rescheduled, I had that feeling that it might not happen. It was not a strong feeling – more of a “gray” feeling. It didn’t seem “right” but it didn’t seem “blocked” either. Often in those scenarios, I’m not sure whether to make plans with a friend or not. But since we had already missed our first meeting, I figured, “Why not? Just go for it.” However, in the back of my mind, I kept expecting something would happen to cancel our meeting. I didn’t even put it on my calendar because my expectation was so strong.
Anyway, we DID end up meeting. We had a great time. It was wonderful to catch up with each other. Nothing happened to derail our meeting.
Odd, isn’t it?
So, what do you do when your intuition is right 89% of the time, but ever so often it fails you? It makes me nervous. Does that mean I should not rely on it when making plans? Is it too faulty? There have been times when someone calls me to schedule a meeting and I direct them to a specific day or time because of my intuition. Usually when I do this, things work out. But is this a false system of planning? Is it all just “in my head”?
A picture just came to me – a scene from the Adjustment Bureau. The movie explored the idea of whether Fate controlled our choices or not. The picture that came to me was the book that the Bureau members had that showed how each choice intersected with choices from other people – some were “meant” to happen, some were random and others were meant to be “blocked” by the Bureau members. Hmmm. Maybe that has something to do with my experience. The ones that seem “gray” to me are random – they could happen or they might not. Maybe it means they are not particularly significant. They don’t carry the weight of something that is “meant” to happen. Deep questions, huh?
Feel free to give me some feedback on this issue. You can comment below. What do YOU think?
When I was about 12 years old, I had a very unique experience. I was outside our house in the country – in the front, near the steps that led to the front door.
I suddenly realized that I was much “bigger” than my physical body. I had a mental picture of wanting to reach out to people and touch them with my hands and somehow connect with their true inner person. I realized I couldn’t do it because of the limitations of the physical body. I suddenly realized that my soul (or spirit) was meant to connect to others’ souls (or spirits) and I could not because I was “trapped” in this physical body.
I looked at my hands and could feel the life force flowing through them. But realized at the same time that I was limited in how I could touch people. I could physically touch them, but I could not really connect with them as I longed to.
I can’t really explain it – it was a pretty deep revelation for a 12 year old. For some reason, at this age, I suddenly understood deep mysteries. Adults would come to my house to talk to me – for hours. I would sit outside on the steps or on the patio with them and they would talk to me. They would ask for my insight on things. To me, it seemed natural at the time. Now as an adult, I think this is quite unusual. I remember entering a contest at school where school children were asked to solve the problems that the president was currently facing. I wrote my answers and could see how clearly they would solve these problems. So did the school because they gave me the award for the best essay in the contest. I hope the president read it – there probably were some nuggets of wisdom in there! 🙂
Anyway, from the day of that unique experience of feeling “trapped” in my physical body and knowing that my true core self was much “larger”, I began to understand that this world was not my home. I belonged somewhere else. I don’t think I had learned much about heaven yet. I had become a Christian that year so I’m not sure when I learned about heaven, but intuitively – I KNEW. I knew that THIS was not my “home”. There was somewhere else where I was meant to exist that allowed me to be ME without the limitations of the physical body I now had.
I asked my husband and he said he remembers feeling this way as a child also. Some people are afraid of what happens after death – even some Christians. This conviction that my soul (or spirit) was meant for another realm has given me a great desire to “hurry up and go home” to the place where I belong. 🙂
Have you ever felt this way? Feel free to comment below and share your experience.