I look back at some things I’ve done and wonder, “Did God really want me to do that? Did He really say go?”
How do we know when we’re supposed to step out in faith?
In 2012, we believe God told our family to move and foster many children in a unique situation. We lived on a ranch owned by a foster agency and cared for up to twelve children at a time. The whole experience was overwhelming. The number of physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges we faced daily were extreme. Other couples lasted six weeks. We stayed fourteen months. When we returned home, I showed signs of PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
People have asked and I wonder, "Were the constant strains on our livelihood indicators we hadn’t obeyed God’s plan? Was the outcome evident of doing something against God’s will?" I don’t think so. I think it was a one-time plan for one family in one season.
We all have a unique path to live and we are the only ones who can live it. We need the Holy Spirit to speak to each of our hearts. We need to learn how to hear God’s voice so we can discern His will for us.
We also need to make choices to step out into faith even when it’s hard or the results aren’t pleasant.
Knowing when and how to walk in faith is challenging. Unfortunately, we can’t look for an absence of issues or a flurry of positive open doors to tell us, “Yes, this is the way. Walk in it.” Nor can we look at a string of negative events and assume it’s not God’s will.
What can we do?
Whether you feel that nudge to do something, or that tireless edge of hopelessness because nothing’s changing, here are five signs God might be calling you to step out in faith.
Photo Credit: © Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio
1. You Feel a Sense of Urgency to Obey that Requires Trust
Sometimes, you can’t stop sensing God is telling you to do something. It keeps coming to mind. Following through might mean doing something different than you think should happen. It isn’t opposing God’s truth, but it doesn’t seem typical or logical either. Or, it's something you don't want to do. Even so, you can’t not do it. A friend of mine calls this a sense of urgency. Taking this step may require trusting God’s upside down ways over a prescribed plan. His ways are not our ways.
Maybe what you sense is affirmed through others or circumstances and you can’t help but wonder if you’re hearing right. We tend to distrust the Holy Spirit’s nudge on our hearts when it doesn’t make sense. The way through comes by choosing to trust.
When there are multiple options and none are clearly against God’s will, your choice may require trust in simply choosing one. His Spirit will convict hearts in opposition to Him. You can choose to step ahead while remaining open to a change of direction as you keep moving forward.
2. You Sense God is Asking You to Surrender Something to Him
You may need to let go of something, especially pride, idols, and self-determined plans. Maybe a big vision is being supplanted with a call to do smaller things. Or vice versa.
God is God and we are not. To choose the way of surrender means choosing to trust God over ourselves. It also means laying down the things we hold onto which God asks us to give up. We may not know it, but we may have put something or someone in our life as a priority over God. In this way, we have built up idols. God will not compete. We must lay down our idols and surrender outcomes for what God desires.
3. The Thing You Feel Led to Do Requires Reliance on God, Not Yourself
At the ranch, I frequently realized the only way to keep going was to rely on God. He didn't provide all I wanted. He provided what I needed. It was enough to shape and mold me in the process. He gives grace as we need it. This was never truer for me than during this time. Without God’s sustenance, there was no way to face the challenges we did. We had to rely on God to provide what we couldn’t.
Stepping in faith often requires more than you have or can do on your own. It will cause you to rely on God and His ways.
When God asks me to do something scary or big, I immediately start to figure out how I will make it happen. Yet self-reliance is the opposite of needing God to do what only he can do. It’s not stepping in faith.
4. You Can See that God has Equipped You to Do the Hard Thing
I often want something specific to happen which I believe God could and should to do. One day in the middle of my tears and begging, I heard God tell me, “I’ve already put in you what you need. It’s time for you to act.”
Maybe you’ve been waiting on God for a long time. Maybe you’ve prayed and prayed about something, yet nothing changes. I get it. There are times when I’ve poured my heart out to God with fervent prayer, tears, and pleas for others to pray with me. God calls us to pray. He works through prayer. However, we may need to do something new or different in addition to prayer.
Several verses tell us to wait on the Lord, yet we can use these as a crutch to not act on something that feels too hard or scary. We might need to act in the waiting.
While we wait for God to bring about what only He can do, God might be waiting on us to do what He’s already equipped us to do.
5. God is Asking You to Believe in Him in New Ways
Stepping in faith challenges us to believe more deeply about who God is and what He says is true. This kind of belief brings the mental ascent of what we think we know into the core of our lives. It comes through experiencing God in new ways.
We might say we believe truths about God, but if we don’t act out of this belief it hasn't penetrated our hearts. Even so, we can choose to move in ways that are consistent with believing what we know to be true about God.
Every one of these signs ultimately requires us to know God more. He calls us to step in faith often and he will always equip us to do so. Today, I can see God’s hand all over our tough times.
When we move forward and find ourselves more deeply dependent on God, it is a good thing.
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Originally published Saturday, 07 August 2021.