How do I Know?

Some people spend their whole lives in the community in which they were born and raised. To me, that’s actually a beautiful, sweet novelty that doesn’t happen often anymore in today’s culture. Others go off to college only to return for visits with family and friends. Some, like me, have even experienced life half way around the world. (and then ended up back in my home community)

Some people get married early in life, and some later.

Many people switch careers after 40.

But, this isn’t about where we live, or when we marry, or what career path we take. It’s about how do we know when “it’s time?” How do we know when God is shaking things up for us and ushering us into a new season of life? Is there a way to know? Does he speak to us in transition?

Let me be straight with you. I have no idea. I know that 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always,pray continually give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” So, what’s God’s will for me? Um,it looks like this. . . “Rejoice always,pray continually give thanks in all circumstances.”
Sometimes I think that God presents us with a couple of choices. Sometimes, they’re even two good choices. Or one good and one GREAT. Sometimes, it’s obvious. Sometimes, not so much.

Since my answer isn’t concrete, I’ll speak to you from my personal experience. I am a lot of things. And, I am not a lot of things. And, sometimes, I’m just meh. For example, I’m a wanna be gardener. I don’t have a green thumb, for sure. But, I also don’t have the blackest of thumbs, either. I want to do well, and I try. But, sometimes i do dumb stuff either because I lack the knowledge or I don’t try hard enough.

Last spring, I wanted to fill some empty spots with hostas. Now, according to what I know, hostas do fine in the shade and grow super crazy without much work. So, I thought I could just “transplant” some extras into a couple of the empty spots that I had in front of my house. Cute. Nice plan, right? So, I did. I dug a couple of holes, dug out the plants, and transplanted them. Here’s the thing, though. I did it really fast and didn’t adequately prepare the new spots. And, I’m not entirely sure that I got the whole root, anyway. I really thought that from everything my friends said, hostas cannot die. Even when you want them to. Wrong. Within a few days they started to get real sad and lie down. Then, they turned yellowish. Finally,they were goners. No disputing it. They were dead. I’m pretty sure I know why. I did it carelessly and a little too fast. I didn’t get the whole root (probably) and I didn’t adequately prepare the new hole. I should have made them a little deeper and (according to my hindsight research) a lot wider. Forget about taking good care of them afterward.

I think that unlike me, God adequately prepares us for our next place. Our next assignment. Job. Marriage. Kid. Difficulty. Broken promise. Good thing. Bad thing. Whatever it is, he’s preparing us. Sometimes we feel him digging us up and shaking off the old dirt. Sometimes we see him digging the new hole. Preparing us, so to speak. Sometimes we feel it, and sometimes we are taken by surprise. But, it is happening. We are being uprooted, for a time, only to be re-planted in an even better place. And, the care that he gives us in that transition time? Much better than what I could ever do for my plants. For sure.

So, how do I know when God is ushering change in my life? How do I know if I should take that job? Or move into a new home? Or start a business? When will I know if I’m ready to take on a new task, or if I’m competent enough to serve in a new ministry in my church? I think that you will know. Listen. Ask. Talk with him about it. I think that you can feel him uprooting you, shifting you, changing your perspective. Soon you’ll start to feel at home in your new place.

In the meantime, stay in his will. How? “Rejoice always,pray continually give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) It seems so simple, and maybe it really is. Maybe you really do just know.”

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