Is God involved in your decision-making? Here are 6-Steps when confronted with the proverbial fork in the road. ◊
I had a friend this week tell me that he got laid off from his job. It was quite a shock to him and left him wondering what to do next. With a growing family and ongoing bills to pay, he needs to find the next job opportunity sooner than later though his severance package provides him a few months to consider his job options.
He called seeking some comfort and advice.
I certainly could do that. He’s a talented guy with an impressive background and substantial experience. People with skills and talent get laid off all the time as a company’s needs and priorities change. Sometimes companies just go in a new direction and changes have to be made. Sometimes the fit is no longer there. While being laid off is a blow to the ego and a shock to the family, it happens all the time. It’s how one responds to the trauma that is key.
I told him “Congratulations. You’re now facing that proverbial fork in the road.”
As this man is a devoted follower of Christ, I told him that he’s now in a great position to let God truly direct his path. His most recent occupational door has been slammed shut. In this case, there is no sense in pushing back or looking back. He needs to hold his head up high and look forward. The challenge for my friend, or anyone in this position, is to avoid making a job or career choice mistake that may have negative repercussions now and over time.
What path should one take?
The most serious mistake is in missing out on the path that God wants and has intended for you. Yes, I do believe He’s that kind of God. He loves, He creates, He guides and directs, He blesses, He has plans to accomplish real things through circumstances He can control through people who are paying attention or not.
It’s actually a pretty incredible opportunity/calling we have.
Only Disciples Really Apply
Consider it this way: Do you want a job for employment’s sake, or do you want to be where God wants you for His sake? It’s a very serious question. The half-hearted Christ-follower need not apply. Or actually, they won’t bother or will miss it because they will get sucked into the ongoing vortex of human good intentions and worldly opportunities.
It’s easy to do. It happened to me over many years of my professional life as I developed a decent career by making decisions that were somewhere between 50-80% “Mike-led Decisions” rather than 100% “God-led Decisions.”
Don’t get me wrong. Now 50-80% is actually pretty good. But in God’s economy, it’s really not. I finally switched it up after, ironically, I got laid off many years ago from my largest client which forced me to reconsider some new directions. I determined I had 3 options: 1) I could reset and expand my consulting company, or 2) I could get a job as a global sales leader with all the financial benefits and trappings, or 3) I could get off the crazy fast-track and go into a non-profit, even a ministry-type position, perhaps even to seminary.
Over a period of several months I consulted with several respected friends and industry leaders. Some were Christians; some were not. I sought their wise counsel and advice. I also met with Christian men who challenged me to pray differently, whole-heartedly (yes, there’s a difference), in which I talked to God about all situations and surrendered every opportunity, even ones I really wanted and leaned toward.
It was now God’s way, no longer Mike’s way.
I actually felt free and unfettered. The result in the end (Option 1) was so clear and directed. Looking back, it was so right. It’s so like God to orchestrate what His children can often miss, even when it’s right before them.
6-Steps when Facing the Fork in the Road
This week I advised my laid-off friend to take the following 6-steps over the coming months. I believe this advice applies to any believer facing that proverbial fork in the road:
- Thank God – We’re told to be grateful in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Thank God for your circumstances, even when painful. Acknowledge and invite God into your situation.
- Determine your Choice Options – Take wise consideration of your options. Include what makes sense, what may be a dream, and what may even not be reasonable. Reduce these alternatives into a few broad categories.
- Surrender them to God – If you believe that God is God Almighty, then why hold onto anything? Take your job/career alternatives and humbly lay them before God to take them and turn them inside out or blossom them as He desires.
- Conduct your Due Diligence – Do the work it takes to pray, study, research, consult others, etc., in order to best evaluate all of your options. (Incidentally, this is when I discovered that not all advice is God-led or inspired, even from well-intended Christians.) With discernment, seek wise, Holy Spirit-led counsel.
- Take Forward Steps – You can’t expect the solution to merely drop in your lap. It could, but don’t bet on it. Take proactive action steps in response to opportunities and leads. The good news here is that with God’s full invitation into your life/process, He will open and shut doors in uncanny ways.
- Repeat Steps 1-6 Daily – This whole plan of action is actually for daily practice. Come to God in thankful prayer every day with new highs and lows and adjusted opportunities. Surrender them all to God and continue your appropriate homework and action steps.
The epiphany for me, and hopefully for my friend, is in the realization that it’s a daily process. It drives us to our knees in submission and allows God to draw us closer to Him.
Is God the Lord of your decision-making?
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” – Proverbs 19:21