God often leads us in unexpected directions. That’s His way. I mean, think of Abraham, or Moses, or Gideon, or Mary, or any number of others. God definitely rearranged their life paths. So the question we need to settle is, how can you tell the difference between God’s leading and a mid-life crisis?
I don’t have a definitive answer, but here are some questions we’ve thought through/prayed over/studied out when God presented us with life-changers like moving 350 miles away from all our family, or publishing some books, or adopting, or starting seminary.
Will it glorify God and further His kingdom? Sometimes that glory comes simply in your obedience to His leading. Other times it’s more pronounced.
Does it suit your gifts? God gave you those gifts for a reason, namely using them.
Do you have peace? Now, this is not to say things are totally headache-free, but do you have peace about the change? Can you see yourself in the new place? Sometimes, peace even blooms into enthusiasm. Do you see the possibilities and potential?
Do your spouse and family have peace? When we moved, we both knew it was the right thing. There have been other times since then, that Jon has applied for jobs that would have required a move and the prospects made me queasy, and the kids threw down a flat-out no.
Will the change make you more self-sufficient or more God-dependent? Each of these times in our lives, we had to put ourselves in God’s hands for the outcome. With the adoption, we didn’t know where the finances would come from and we started the process anyway. (The finances worked themselves out.) Stepping out to publish a book or two, we had no idea what would happen but we put it God’s hands and He opened some amazing doors. With seminary, it was hard to see where Jon would find the time, but God has been faithful just like He has been in the past.
Change can be unsettling and nerve-wracking, but it can also be challenging and exciting. The difference is whether or not the unchangeable God is the one driving it.
Have you ever made a life-altering change at God’s direction? How did you determine He was leading you?