I read a powerful post this week and the idea behind it is stuck in my mind. This is partly because God has already been teaching me about this recently, but even so, the post is one of those that we all need to read every once in a while. I am encouraging you in the strongest way to read it now!
The post is written by someone I have just recently met. His name is Charlie Paparelli and he is an experienced entrepreneur, angel investor, and mentor. If you read much about him, you will quickly realize he is someone worth listening to. While I have thoroughly enjoyed his other posts, the one I am recommending today is the best one I have read. Here is a link…The Best Way To Start Every Day.
The part that stuck with me was when he said this:
…Wait a minute. Forget where I was going. Do this.
This part struck me for several reasons. First, Charlie is MUCH more experienced than me. He has much more wisdom on which to draw for answers to challenges, opportunities, etc. Even so, we both struggle with the natural reflex to draw on our experience and not on our God.
Just like Charlie started to do with the young man, I too often find myself reaching back into my archive of experience to find the answer to whatever is in front of me. If I do not have the experience necessary for a particular problem, then I turn to my contact list of wise mentors.
Where to Turn First
I promise you I have a vast array of resources to help me with whatever situation is in front of me. In part, this is not a bad thing. I have repeated myself numerous times on this blog that you need mentors and wisdom. That is still true!
However, what is MORE true is that you and I need to turn FIRST to Jesus. Charlie hit the nail on the head when he abruptly changed directions and instead advised the young man to spend time every morning with Jesus, asking Him the questions on his mind. This should be OUR starting point EVERY DAY!
Jesus will bring to mind our relevant experience. He will suggest conversations with our mentors. God still speaks to us in many ways. However, we simply CANNOT ignore what should be our FIRST priority – going to Him for guidance.
I have been working through an old, but powerful workbook called Experiencing God. In this book, I have been encouraged to get back to the top priority of building a deep and intimate relationship with God. I have faced a number of significant challenges and opportunities during this time and have seen the benefit of turning first to Him for my guidance.
As simple as it sounds, I have been led to a 3-step process for my decision making. I would encourage you to adopt this same process for yourself. Even as I type this, I know you are going to look at it and say, “Duh. That is too simple.”
I know. You are right. It is too simple.
But it works.
Try it yourself, but make sure you are FULLY committed to it before you judge it.
Step #1 – Stop
Follow Charlie’s example and stop in the middle of whatever thought you have as a reflexive response. Stop right there and acknowledge that you are relying on your experience, wisdom, advice, etc. Stop and turn away from it immediately.
Step #2 – Pray
If circumstances allow it, pray right then. If they don’t allow it, then change the circumstances. Do whatever it takes, but get to a place (at least in your mind) where you can pray. When you pray, acknowledge to Jesus that you need His promised guidance. Ask Him to speak to your heart right then, but also acknowledge that His timing is perfect.
Step #3 – Listen
At this point, begin paying attention. Listen for Jesus’ voice. Listen for Him to speak to you. It may be that He prompts your heart. It may be that He speaks through someone else. It may be that He leads you to His Word – the Bible. Whatever His way, listen for it. Clear your mind and let Him guide you.
Step #4 – Wait
I know- I said three steps, but sometimes there is a fourth step. When He does not give you an answer immediately, you are to wait. Wait and keep asking. Wait until you have clarity. Wait until His timing is right. When it is, He will direct you.
If you will commit to this process, then you will start to learn how to begin laying the groundwork of prayer before the decision deadlines rush up on you. You will be more in tune with the voice of Jesus and you will hear His guidance in situations where in the past you never thought to ask for it.
I am new to this myself, but I have too many examples in the Bible of how this should work. I still struggle with the reflex of going to my experience or my contact list, but I am getting better. And He is honoring that!
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