Our list of desires isn’t all that shaped our decisions. In fact, it was something brand new added to the mix. And it felt a bit like playing with fire.
When it’s been thoroughly drilled into you to let go of your agenda and submit to Christ, a list of personal desires is not what you want guiding you. But in this specific situation, the Lord seemed to have led my husband and me into a wide open space where we could determine our next steps.
I held to the list loosely. As long as God left a hazy path before us though, I would trust that moving toward fulfilling those desires was not against His will.
I continued to also turn to a collection of verses I meditate on whenever making substantial decisions. I compiled the verses in 2005 when trying to discern the Lord’s leading on whether to stay at a food bank job I loved or leave to serve in Southeast Asia for a year.
I prefer to read this compilation of Scriptures as though having a conversation with the Lord:
“Search me O God and know my heart…know my anxious thoughts (Ps. 139:23). O Lord, you have searched me and You know me (Ps. 139:9). You perceive my thoughts from afar (Ps. 139:2). For You formed my inmost being (Ps. 139:13)…The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me, the Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your love, O Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands (Ps. 138:8). He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6). I will praise You for Your lovingkindness and Your truth and faithfulness (Ps. 138:2).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Prov. 3:5-6). ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you’ (Jer. 29:11-14). A still, small voice – a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12).
“My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold…On God my salvation and my glory rest;…my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, o people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us (Ps. 62:5-8). How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you…your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’ (Is. 30:19-21). If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to Him (James 1:5).
“Be still and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10). He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works (Ps. 33:15). Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7). And my God shall supply all your need according to His glorious riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7). Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him (Ps. 37:4-7). My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him…Trust in Him at all times, o people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us (Ps. 62:5, 8).
“Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete (Jn. 16:24). Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You (Ps. 143:8).
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Prov. 19:21). I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will guide you with My eye (Ps. 32:18). Lead me in the way everlasting (Ps. 139:24). The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (Ps. 23:1). He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Ps. 23:3). Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Ps. 23:4). My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Ps. 23:5-6).”