Have you heard this lament? Was it your own wearied voice calling it?
"But if only I knew the Lord's will."
Knowing God's will for our life absorbs many a Christian's thoughts. The desire to choose between what we want and what God may desire for us can bring many a season of angst, or a few dark nights of the soul.
I've not known many people who almost always 'knew' they we walking and living in the very will of God, but the one thing that stands out about them is their absorption of the Word of God.
You see, it's all in there. The answers you and I seek.
Perhaps it's not going to say, "Jenny, I want you to accept that offer from xxx and decline this other offer from zzz because then you will be walking in my chosen path for your life."
But the Bible is filled with signposts for living, values, a moral compass, a measure by which we gauge our choices.
For example, recently I was asked to design fabric by a well known manufacturer.
Now for many designers this is the ultimate honour, the stamp that you've made it - in fact it's such a privilege how could you even consider declining that opportunity?
For years I had dreamed of this but I never approached anyone about it. And then, out of the blue, that email arrives and I'm given the chance to put my designs onto fabric for all to use.
To be sure, for the next day or two my head was swimming with ideas and my heart soared with pride and accomplishment.
But then, the dust settled, and I realised there was a lot more to this that just becoming a fabric designer.
I needed to lay this before the Lord and 'count the cost'.
Counting the cost as a Christian meant weighing up what my primary role in life is and balancing that with the long term ramifications of accepting the offer. I had to ask myself honestly if I could be true to my calling as wife and mother? Could I do it wholeheartedly and with integrity in the very time consuming task of fabric design, which included a lot of extras like paper pattern designs, travel, marketing, liaising with quilt shops and suppliers to stock my fabrics...would all that impact on the life I chose when I accepted Mr E's marriage proposal all those years ago?
Leaving those questions hanging in the air for a few days I sought the Lord by reading His Word, especially with regards to my role as wife, mother, and businesswoman.
It became quite obvious that something would have to give in my life if I were to pursue this new path, and though it would not at all have been a sin, it would have taken much away from my primary roles and responsibilities because I could not wholeheartedly do both to my desired satisfaction.
You see, I'm a homebody, and that's how God made me.
He knows me well, and His Word has taught and directed me more than anything else these last 24 years - His path is always the right one.
I would be foolish to jump into a river that I know will have me rushing past the shore where my family wait, heading for destinations too far from home; a river that will bring added stress and anxiety, negatively affecting my spouse and children, and distracting me from the design path our Lord did direct me into (the monthly Stitchery Club).
This was a big lesson for me because not all life choices are wrong, yet even the ones that appear good can bring about things that will misdirect us from the core values that give us life in abundance.
The Bible is very clear on many subjects, helping us to easily ascertain whether it is right or wrong to do certain things, but if you face a decision that isn't of the black/white:wrong/right kind, follow it through in your mind to where it may lead you.
Don't leave it to chance, don't be foolish (Ephesians 5:17) - make your choice based on whether it will enhance the role you fill in your God-given life, or whether it might just cause you to stray from that path and leave casualties of relationships or circumstance.
I'm at peace with my decision. I'm also pretty excited at building more into the relationships I have with my husband and extended family - because now I've chosen to give them that time.