I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a child. I kept a diary and made mini magazines out of looseleaf paper. I was the editor-in-chief of my high school’s paper, majored in journalism in college, got a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, wrote for a prestigious newspaper, and worked at a women’s magazine in Times Square.
Not bad for a young journalist, except that as my writing career flourished, I grew further and further from God.
I grew up going to church and loved God, but over the years I foolishly tried to put Him on a shelf.
I was making my plans and asking God to bless them.
Ever been there? Feel’s a bit backwards.
God is our Creator and yet sometimes we mistakenly think we can tell Him what we’re going to do with our life.
After years of living my life the way I wanted and achieving many of my career goals, I still felt a void. I knew it was time to stop running away from my heavenly Father.
I gave my life to the Lord during one amazing week in Sydney, Australia and dedicated the rest of my life to serving Him.
That was a defining moment for me.
Once I was back home, I went to church, started reading and studying the Bible, and made Christian friends.
I wanted to honor God with my life.
I soon felt God asking me to leave my journalism career. That was a shock, but I embraced this new chapter in my life. (Please note God doesn’t ask everyone to leave their career.)
Where would God take me next and how would I know?
Maybe you’re there now.
What if making God-honoring decisions about career and life isn’t as hard as it can feel?
What do you do when you’re not sure what to do?
Start with what you already know. We’re all called to love and worship God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. To walk by faith and be holy. And we’re called to serve and intercede for others and to forgive one another.
This Bible verse serves as a great guide: “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).
God’s will for us is pretty clear.
As you continue seeking God, He will guide you and provide for you.
If you’re not sure what direction to take in life, that’s ok. We all go through those seasons in life.
I’d like to share a few keys that have helped me on my faith journey.
Stay in Scripture
God’s primary way of speaking to us is through Scripture.
The Bible is filled with practical instruction that will help us make wise decisions.
The more time we spend with Jesus by reading the Bible and praying, the more our hearts, thoughts, and desires become aligned with His heart.
As the saying goes, we tend to become like the people we spend the most time with so let’s make sure to spend lots of quality time with Jesus. That’s where transformation happens.
Once I began reading the Bible as an adult, I got to know Jesus more and more. By God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s leading, I began making better decisions in all areas of my life.
If the Bible seems like just dry words on a page (no condemnation here), ask Jesus to speak to you as you read.
Here’s some tips to help you as you read the Bible:
- Don’t rush.
- Stop and pray.
- Read the entire passage and the surrounding chapters to make sure you’re reading the verses in context.
- Use a study Bible or read commentaries to better understand Scripture.
- Meditate on what you’re reading and ask God to make the meaning clear to you.
- Journal your thoughts.
- Notice how God spoke to His people and how He came through for them.
- As you continue to study the Bible and pray and worship, ask God to stir your heart and to show you how to apply His timeless truth to your life.
Many times, God speaks in a still, small voice, so listen up as you read the Bible.
As you learn more about God and His ways, you’ll gain the confidence and courage to make God-honoring decisions.
Serve and Get Working
No matter how much you pray and ponder, at some point you’re going to need to take some action.
Start working in an area and you’ll gain insight and experience that will help you discern if this is a place you can serve God well.
Whether you’re interested in working with children, want to help animals, are good with numbers or are crafty or techie, there’s no time like the present to get involved in that field.
Start small. Make a call. Take the training. Volunteer in your community. Trust God to help you keep moving.
After I left journalism, I taught English at a Christian middle school for a year and then did communications work for many years at a nonprofit affiliated with Columbia University. I facilitated classes and served in many capacities at my church, trained as a volunteer chaplain, went to Bible school, and went on short-term missions trips to the Amazon Jungle in Brazil, the Andes Mountains in Ecuador, and to the streets and schools in Ethiopia, Honduras, and Peru.
My faith in God grew exponentially, and I gained valuable ministry and communications experience.
Early on, I didn’t see how God could use my writing skills. My writing had gone into hiding for years. I was content journaling and writing care notes to my small group members.
God had called me to lay down journalism, but I also felt like He would one day ask me to pick up my pen and write for His glory. I didn’t know what that would look like or when that would be.
As a journalist, I was trained to tell other people’s stories, not my own, let alone to write about God or faith.
Finally, I started feeling like God was asking me to write and speak about Him publicly.
I started by writing down some thoughts, observations, and a few life lessons I felt God was showing me and emailing them to a few friends. Their enthusiastic responses helped to encourage me to keep writing. I started blogging and was thrilled when one of my devotional entries won Our Daily Bread’s Online Writing Contest for Readers in 2014. What an honor and great confirmation that I was on the right track!
I’ve now written five Christian living books and devotionals, teach at a Bible school, have hosted several events, produce and host a podcast, and have spoken to various groups, including a group of Christians working at the United Nations.
I’m also delighted to be a contributing writer for Our Daily Bread’s VOICES Collection and to have written entries for their Rhythms of Rest and On the Shoulders of Giants devotionals.
I‘m so grateful I now get to use my writing and communications skills to help tell God’s story and to encourage others.
Faithfully serve where God has placed you now. Leave the results in His hands.
Serve coffee, be a greeter, or set up chairs at church with gusto. Be a blessing working as an accountant, teacher, or mechanic, etc. Honor God as you raise your kids or launch a ministry.
Surround Yourself with Wise Counselors
Who are the wise counselors in your life?
Wise counselors can help you identify your strengths and spiritual gifts, serve as sounding boards as you process your thoughts, can serve as role models ,mentors, or accountability partners, can perhaps offer you opportunities to gain experience and serve, and can encourage you as you make decisions.
Is there a pastor or ministry leader you could go to for godly counsel? Are there people who can pray for you as you try to make God-honoring decisions?
It’s important to be surrounded by mature believers who can help guide you along your faith journey.
I’m so grateful for my praying mom and supportive family. I also turned to my pastor and a few trusted ministry leaders and friends.
A wise counselor’s words should line up with the Bible. In many cases, their words will serve to confirm what God has already been whispering to your heart.
Making God-honoring decisions is a lifelong process.
Do what you can do now. Embrace the process. Remain humble before the Lord and willing to act, even if it sometimes means stepping out of your comfort zone. When the journey gets tough, don’t quit. Remain faithful to honoring God with your life.
As you stay in the Word, serve, and seek wise counsel, trust that God is with you and will lead you: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5–6).