Go directly to the Source.
“O LORD, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’
Even the darkness is not dark to You; the night is a bright as day. For darkness is as light to You.
For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
As a Christian Life Coach, I walk with women on a journey to find identity, value, and purpose. We have many helpful tools on this journey, including personality, values, and spiritual gifts assessments. I am a long time fan of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and a recent fan of the Enneagram.
Understanding ourselves is essential to personal growth, in my humble opinion. Turns out I’m not so humble, after all, though, according to my Enneagram number! In Marilyn Vancil’s book, Self to Lose, Self to Find, she sites the root sin of Enneagram #2 (“The Giver!”) as pride. You have got to be kidding me. I’m the humblest person I know. Ugh…oops. It also turns out that God had been speaking to me on that very issue for the last several months. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” (I Peter 5:7) keeps running through my mind at random times.
This self-proclaimed “Christian Personality Coach” knows first hand the power of personality tools for growth and direction. I also know that apart from the Holy Spirit, true change and clear direction don’t happen. You can know that I am an ENFJ according to Myers-Briggs, a type 2 with a 3 wing, according to the Enneagram, and an IS, according to DISC, but you still can’t know God’s plans for my life. Only He knows those. But, yikes, with all that info, you sure do know a lot about me, now, don’t you?!
I can already hear the sceptics. First, you say, why do I need to know? Why not just do my best and live and enjoy each day He has given me on this earth without having some major enlightenment on my purpose? I hear you. I have pondered that myself. But, the way to know His true purpose for you is to know Him and His voice. And knowing Him is important whether you have a need to know your purpose or not.
So, you know how I said God had been speaking to me about humility before I knew I needed some? It’s because He knows every atom of my being and the number of the hairs on my head. He knows my birth order, my job experience and my fears that I am not consciously aware of. The most direct way to get direction for our lives is from our Creator. Simple and yet we seem to skip over that part and quickly head to the self-help shelves at the bookstore.
“Sounds great, Marnie! But how in the world am I going to know if I am hearing God’s voice or my voice, or heaven forbid, the voice of the enemy?” Stay tuned because we will talk more about those topics in the future but in the meantime, here are some quick tips and resources to get you started on your journey:
Carve out a few minutes a day of quiet.
Just a few minutes? If you don’t have a quiet-time each day already, then start with just a few minutes a day. As you continue on your journey, you will crave more and more time in silence, but probably not at first. Silence can feel scary in a world where there is practically none. Begin by reading a Scripture, (such as Psalm 139), and then pray this simple prayer from I Samuel 3:9 – “….Speak Lord for your servant hears…”
Start a simple journal.
I know that some of you cringe when you think of journaling because it reminds you of some dreadful assignment for English class in high school. But, if you will start this discipline, then I can almost promise you that it will pay off in your prayer life. We are forgetful creatures by nature and so it helps to look back and see where God has been speaking to you and what prayers have been answered in the past. We are so busy that we often don’t stop to recognize miracles in our lives. If you really don’t like to write, then try writing just a sentence or phrase or even one word that is on your mind.
Find a coach.
Here is my shameless plug! If you feel like you would like the encouragement and accountability, then find a coach or spiritual director that can walk with you and challenge you on your journey.
There have been many books written on this subject, but here are a few to get you started:
Whisper by Mark Batterson
Fresh Air by Chris Hodges
When God’s Spirit Moves by Jim Cymbala (Bible study series)
Hearing His Voice Devotional by Chris Tiegreen
As you embark on this journey, start with a promise from God’s Word,
“You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Podcast Version: Need Direction? Go Directly to the Source by Listen Loudly