“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
Psalm 139:23-24 NLT
“Restate to yourself what the purpose of your life is. The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness.”
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
As each new season approaches, I find myself musing about the direction of my life. Am I headed in the right direction? Do I need to make any adjustments? I ask God to direct my paths, as he promises he will in the Psalms and Proverbs. One of my objectives in seeking direction contains an element of needing the definition of what my life could look like if I were in line with God’s will.
One place I look for definitions is in my dictionary. One morning before the new school year started, I was thinking about whether my life was on the grid of God’s will. (A friend had shared this concept, and I was plumbing the depths of the metaphor). The word “grid” was fairly straight forward in its definition—“vertical and horizontal lines evenly spaced”. Not really the inspirational meaning I was looking for, so I flipped back to the definition of direct. The first entry was its verb usage, which offered this definition: “address; cause to move or follow a certain course; show (someone) the way”; all common meanings that I had mulled over before. But this time I went a little further and found the adjective usage of the word, which was “frank or straight-forward”. In that moment, my heart did a flip from my usual begging for clarity in reference to my life course to asking for God to be direct with me.
I no longer just wanted him to tell me what to do with my life, but I wanted him to look into my heart and redirect its course. Is there anything in my heart that hinders God’s will for my life? Does he see any hurtful ways that I relate to others? It was a bit frightening at first to ask these questions, but after a while I saw the freedom that comes from directness. Who wouldn’t rather that others be direct and frank with them, especially if there is something amiss in our appearance? Even more, I want to know if I am being a jerk.
My new approach to prayer will be to ask God to be frank with me, as the psalmist prayed, “Point out my sinfulness.” Not so I can squirm under scrutiny, but so I can be free from insulting God and hurting others.
“Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5 NKJV