If you experience any of these three things, this is a good sign God is telling you to slow down and refocus on him.
1. If You Are Pressing God to Reveal Something that He Will Only Reveal to You Over Time, This Is a Sign He Is Saying, “Slow Down and Refocus on Me”
Walking with God is not like arriving at the “x” marked on the map. Walking with God is more about learning to follow his map as you two walk to different destinations that he wants you to go. Ultimately we know as Christians that our journey on earth will end by arriving at our eternal destination in the Lord’s manifest presence. But during the journey on earth, we are called to follow the leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
God wants us to pray about all things, to ask him for directions, and to then follow wherever he leads us. But this process of following the Spirit’s leading is different than pressing God for a concrete answer about specific questions which can only be revealed by waiting to see what will happen. Notice how Jesus’ brothers were pressing him for answers that he would only reveal over time. John 7:3-5 states:
So his brothers said to him, ‘Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.’ For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, ‘My time has not yet come . . . .’”
Everyone wanted Jesus to do what they thought the Messiah would do and they wanted him to do it all on their timeline. Jesus did answer all the questions about himself being the Christ, but he did it through a process and on the Father’s timetable (John 7:17).
Who will you marry? What is his or her name? Where will you work next? What’s your next job title and work description? How will you earn enough money in the future to support a family? How will you ever move out of your parents’ home and become self-sufficient? What will happen if you accept this man’s invitation to go on a date? What will happen if you ask her out? What will happen if you finally give online dating a try?
These are the types of questions God will answer through leading you into the future with him. If you try to rush the process and you are pressing God for answers to questions like these, you will actually be slowing your life down. When we refuse to move forward until we know the outcome of our actions, we end up not taking any actions. But God oftentimes reveals the answers to our questions through us taking actions.
So in an ironic way, by slowing down, refocusing on God, and walking forward with him rather than pressing so hard to know your future, you are actually speeding up the process of knowing God’s future plan for you.
2. If You Are Getting Tempted to Make Decisions on Your Own that You Don’t Feel Confident About, This Is a Sign the Lord Is Saying, “Slow Down and Refocus on Me”
When my dad was teaching me how to drive, one of the first things he said to me was, “Speed kills.” He then explained that everything about driving a car becomes much more dangerous at high speeds. It’s easier to lose control, blow through a red light, or hit something that pops out of nowhere when you are going too fast.
This is really a principle for all of life. Speed kills. When we are rushing and not making time to listen to the Holy Spirit’s words to us, it’s so much easier to lose control, blow through red lights, and crash into things that could have been avoided. We have to be careful we are not acting like the Israelites as described in Isaiah 30:1-5, which says:
‘Ah, stubborn children,’ declares the Lord, ‘who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation. For though his officials are at Zoan and his envoys reach Hanes, everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace.’”
When we refuse to slow down and refocus on the Lord, the decisions we make in haste end up only making our problems worse.
3. If You Are Trying to Force Something to Happen, This Is a Sign God Is Saying, “Slow Down and Refocus on Me”
One of main underlying reasons for trying to force things to happen in your life is that you feel pressured by a timeline you have given yourself. If you tell yourself things like, “I need to be married no later than my early 30s” or “I need to buy a house in the next year,” or “I need to know where this relationship is going by tomorrow or else I’m breaking up,” – when you give yourself hard timelines like these, it often causes you to try and force things to occur.
It’s okay to hope you get married by a certain age, to hope you can buy a house, or to hope you get clarity soon about your current relationship. But if you put an absolute timeline on yourself that does not coincide with God’s timing for your life, all you will be doing is causing unnecessary stress, pressure, confusion.
As Proverbs 19:2 states, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”
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