Culture

Does God really have a say in the choices I make?

by Jolene Yee // May 29, 2017, 6:03 pm

Yes or No

When I was young, I remember always having to ask my parents for permission to do anything at all. Can I go out with my friends? Can I attend this or that school programme?

Somehow this habit of getting a “yes” from others has become totally ingrained in me. It feels like I need to get the green light before I embark on anything.

I mean, it isn’t such a bad thing, if you think about. It means that before I begin doing anything, I consult others and making sure that it is indeed the right and best thing to do. Better to err on the safe side than being reckless, no?

I wasn’t asking Him which way to go. I was telling Him which way I wanted Him to approve of me going.

However, it’s slowly developed beyond just being sure. It came to a point where, whenever I was faced with a decision, I would ask God if I should do it or not. But it wasn’t about Him. It was all about me.

I wasn’t asking Him which way to go. I was telling Him which way I wanted Him to approve of me going. I made it look like I was pursuing God’s plan for my life, but the truth was that I was really pursuing God’s endorsement of my life.

I wanted God to say yes to whatever I wanted. Whenever I asked God if I should do something, His reply rarely mattered to me. I went to Him with what I wanted to hear in mind.

I was searching for validation for what I thought and desired. If God said yes, I was happy. But when He told me otherwise, the message would not be as easy to swallow. Sometimes, I would even tune out just because He was not saying what I wanted to hear. I would reject whatever He said if it did not align with my own desires. Or maybe even twist God’s words to my liking.

I’m not even sure why I was looking for Him, since it was all about what I wanted.

To be really honest, it’s really tough for me to put aside my own selfish desires and make God’s desires mine. Like a child, I want to simply have the freedom to run around to do as I wish. But this thinking does not translate into freedom at all. God created boundaries for me to experience true freedom – within His safe space, I can do what I want without worrying about how far I can fall.

And He knows it’s not always about the end-goal – it’s not about me getting what I want. When I seek Him on some decision, my goal is about making the right choice, but His goal is about making the posture of my heart right – because there, all decisions are wise ones.

I looked to God when I had to decide whether I should pursue an education and career in dance. “Why do you want to do it?”, He asked me.

I’d been telling others that I wanted to pursue dance because I wanted to use this talent to bring people to Christ, reaching out to souls through this gift. Of course, I was saying the right things to convince others – and myself.

This is for you, isn’t it?, God said.

God was right (as He always is). Beneath that noble facade, I had grown to love dancing because of the attention I got. The fame. I wanted to the compliments, the popularity, the prominence. I wanted to be seen.

God led me to look at the desires of my heart. He let me realise that I was attempting to disguise my selfish desires as His will. I was asking Him to endorse my plans, tweaking His words to fit into my plans. I was more willing to compromise God than to make any compromises myself. I came to Him with a completed drawing rather than a blank canvas.

To be really honest, it’s really tough for me to put aside my own selfish desires and make God’s desires mine.

Why did I want to do it? Not for the right reasons, I finally admitted to me/Him. I dropped the idea.
Even now that I’m aware of this tendency of mine, it still isn’t easy to place God’s will before my own in every decision I have to make. I know that if I’m not careful, I’ll revert back to my old ways – pursuing whatever I want. I have to make a conscious effort to surrender my desires to God.

Through that, I’ve learnt that when I have the right attitude before God, the right-doing flows naturally. So if you’re asking God what you should be doing, instead of looking at the right actions and behaviour, try looking deeper into your heart.

About the author

Jolene Yee

Jolene is inquisitive about things big and small. She loves discovering new things and giving them a shot. Her greatest love: Stuffed animals.