How do we discern if that stirring feeling within is a feeling of discontent or a lack of peace?
I’m going to assume that you work hard to stay content, no matter what you circumstances are.
This daily struggle is harder for some. But we all have to strive to be content in a world that is constantly pushing the idea of more.
More money. More happiness. More stuff.
Even in the deeper and more heartbreaking moments, we long for more. More health. More time with a loved one. More stability.
Not one of us is immune to the temptation of discontent.
But what if that unsettling feeling within you isn’t discontent?
What if God is calling you away from something and towards something new?
Through much prayer, I’ve asked God to direct my path and I found that sometimes the peace of God moves with His will.
I’ve prayed that God would take away my peace if I am walking outside of His will. And in moments of difficult discernment, I’ve realized just that.
Sometimes, that feeling of unease, the feeling that pushes you to want something else, sometimes, that is God directing you to something better.
So how do you discern the difference between discontent and God’s moving peace? Let’s dive into some powerful ways to do this.
Distinguishing God’s Direction from Satan’s Schemes
There is a subtle and yet vast difference between the way that God calls you to His love and His will and the way that Satan tries to lure you away.
God guides out of love and Satan lures with fear.
This is the biggest way that I have learned to discern God’s voice above temptation.
What is guiding you? Is it love and the desire to love, or is it fear?
I’ll share my story to show exactly how Satan guides with fear.
When I was feeling uneasy about leaving my Master’s program and praying hard to discern, I recognized a few things.
Although I felt God calling me elsewhere, the main reason I was afraid to leave the program was because I was afraid to leave behind the stability and security of an advancing career. I was afraid to lose the money I’d invested. I was afraid of being considered a “quitter” and I was afraid that I would be judged.
As I considered these options I realized that Satan was trying to guide me in fear. Fear that God would not provide or come through. Fear that I needed to sustain and support myself. Fear that I needed money and an advanced career to find purpose and joy.
And after much prayer and talking it out, I decided to leave the program. And God has blessed that decision so much with peace and continued direction.
As you face discernment, I want to encourage you to look at what is leading you. This takes a tremendous amount of introspection and self-awareness, but as you dig deeper, you can begin to recognize God’s quiet voice from Satan’s roaring temptation.
But in order to do this, you must take time to align your heart with God. We will look at this next.
Aligning Your Heart
Our hearts are so easily tempted to go our own ways, to create our own ideas of happiness and to hoard our resources and time.
It’s natural to us, to want to hold onto what we have, to want to advance in our career and in our social standing. It’s natural to want to be on top of all that we can.
But that is the exact opposite of what God calls us to. God calls us to be humble. God says that the first will be last and the last will be first. God says that in Him is the only place of true peace and joy.
To get to that place to true peace and joy, you must surrender your heart to God.
I have written out several prayers of surrender that I try to pray as often as I can. Some prayers are just general surrendering my heart, while others are geared towards surrendering a specific area of my life to God.
And without a doubt, I find that the days that I pray over those specific areas, I find peace in where I am.
It takes time to get to the place that God wants you, but as you surrender to Him, He will direct your steps. He will guide you and sustain you.
I encourage you to take time to pray to surrender your heart and to align your will with His. As you do this, you will find increasing discernment and peace about where you are or where you should go.
A Prayer of Surrender & Discernment
Lord, I am so grateful for the blessings you have given me. This morning I am thankful for ____. Lord, I surrender my heart to You. I offer up my desires. I place them at the foot of the cross. Fill me with a desire for Your will and Your glory.
I surrender my expectations to you today. Help me to place all my hope in You and to be grateful for what I have. Lord, I place my hurts in your hands. I know there are many. Take them and work in me. Heal and redeem my brokenness, Lord.
Today I specifically surrender ___ to You. I place it at Your cross and ask that Your will be done. Change my heart to long for Your ways. I am willing, God, to go where You are calling me. I offer this day up to You. In Jesus Name, Amen.
As you surrender your heart and align your will with God’s own heart, you will begin to see who is leading you. I want to encourage you to be open to both the expected and the unexpected.
Don’t put God’s amazing and indescribable power into a box.
He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us! -Ephesians 3:20
How have you seen God guiding you and found discernment?