Last week, I shared about my failure to prayerfully seek God’s plan for my Lenten journey. I realized that, while it is easy to enter into seasons of intense prayer when I am faced with a major decision, I rarely pray for discernment about the daily tasks that God has assigned to me. For example, how often have I asked God how He wants me to feed my child, clean my kitchen, dress for my husband?
When I was trying to choose which college to attend, I spent many days praying for God’s wisdom. One Saturday morning, my father took me on a walk so that we could discuss my thoughts about my future. After listening to me talking anxiously about the pros and cons of my two top choices, he said, “I think maybe God doesn’t care so much about which school you choose – He can work with either one. I think that He is more concerned about what you do wherever you end up going.”
At the time, this idea was simultaneously world-view shattering and a huge relief. Yet, in the years since I have become increasingly aware of the wisdom behind my father’s words. Often, we get hung up on big decisions that we, from our limited human perspective, see as life-altering. Yet God is just as concerned (perhaps even more concerned) with those little decisions we make each day that draw ourselves and others closer to Him. In the same way that we ask God to guide us to the right schools, jobs, spouses, retirement plans, we should be asking Him to guide us through each of the tasks that He assigns to our daily lives.
In light of this, I would like to offer some of the questions that I find helpful in discerning the ways that God wants me to fulfill my various roles. Please know that I am greatly challenged by these questions myself. I offer these questions to you, not because I can honestly answer yes to all (or even any) of them, but because I hope that they will help you to reflect more deeply on the daily tasks that God has assigned to you.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the length of this post! Many of the roles I play will not be applicable to everyone and I encourage you to skip over the roles that you do not play and use only the questions that correspond to the roles that you do. Don’t stop at just answering the questions! Use your answers to guide your prayers for God’s direction in your daily life.
As a child of God, am I:
- Ensuring that I have not let anything become more important to me than God?
- Repenting of my sinfulness and praising God for my salvation?
- Thanking God for each of the good gifts that He has given to me?
- Trusting God with all of the scary, painful and difficult parts of my life moment-by-moment?
- Turning to God in prayer with all of my doubts, questions and anger?
- Honest with God?
- Taking time to pray and nurture my spiritual growth through books, retreats, bible studies, etc?
- Open to changing my plans if God leads me to do something different from what I had expected?
- Using each of my relationships to share God’s love and story of redemption so that God can be reunited with all of His children?
- Participating actively in a faith community that proclaims the Gospel in a way that reflects God’s amazing love for all of His created people?
- Looking for the needs of those around me and making it a priority to meet them?
- Striving to see the image of God in those around me? Quick to forgive? Slow to anger? Offering love?
- Participating in activities that bring God glory and focusing on things that are good, rather than allowing negative and ungodly thoughts and activities to take up my time?
As a wife, am I:
- Praying for my husband each day and throughout the day?
- Praying with him regularly?
- Encouraging my husband in his faith and challenging him to grow spiritually?
- Making time available to be with and available to my husband?
- Thankful for the gift that my husband is, for the things that he does for our family, for the amazing ways that I can see God’s craftsmanship in him? Do I let him know this?
- Gentle when I need to address a problem and willing to accept blame?
- Quick to forgive?
- Eager to change the things about myself that breed conflict?
- Carrying out the tasks that I have agreed to complete around the house as loving gifts to my husband?
- Making his physical, emotional and spiritual health a priority in our family?
- Speaking of him with respect when I talk about him with friends, family and our children?
- Trying to look nice and fulfilling the physical aspects of my marriage vows with excitement and passion?
- Ensuring that I do not let anything or anyone besides God become more important to me than my husband?
As a mother of a living child, am I:
- Praying for my child each day and throughout the day?
- Praying with her regularly?
- Helping my child to know and love God?
- Encouraging and guiding my child on her journey through this world?
- Nurturing a longing for Heaven in her heart and giving her an eternal perspective?
- Demonstrating God’s love to her through my own care and enjoyment of her?
- Keeping her safe physically and mentally?
- Helping her to use and value the gifts God has given to her?
- Teaching her to accept the things that God has not made her to excel in with grace?
- Giving her the academic and social skills to thrive in our society?
- Modeling how to interact with those around her in a way that reflects God’s love?
- Providing a clear understanding of right and wrong?
- Communicating freely and being available to her whenever possible?
As a mother of a child in Heaven, am I:
- Thankful for the time that I had with my child?
- Praying that my child will bring glory to God even through her death?
- Trusting God for my child’s eternity?
- Willing to share my pain to help others who are also suffering?
- Living in the hope of Heaven?
- Doing everything I can to help my husband, living child and I be reunited with my child someday?
- Allowing God to teach me, through her death, that life, even when it never breaths outside the womb, is incredibly valuable and was created for Heaven? Open to bearing that life again?
As a daughter, am I:
- Praying daily for my parent’s and in-law’s physical, spiritual and mental health?
- Encouraging them to grow in their faith?
- Communicating with them regularly and listening to their needs? Trying to meet their needs whenever possible?
- Expressing my gratitude towards them?
- Sharing my life with them?
- Open and honest in my communication with them?
- Talking respectfully about them in all situations?
- Doing whatever I can to encourage my living child’s relationship with them?
- Seeking to learn from them and appreciating their wisdom?
- Slow to take offense and quick to forgive?
As a sister, am I:
- Praying daily for my brother and brothers and sisters in-law?
- Making communication with them a priority?
- Opening our home and immediate family to them and welcoming them into our lives?
- Doing whatever I can to encourage them in their own spiritual walk?
- Honest with them?
- Enjoying them and appreciating their many gifts?
- Accepting their decisions and encouraging their dreams?
- Willing to meet any needs that arise?
As a granddaughter, am I:
- Praying daily for their physical, spiritual and mental health?
- Prioritizing time with them?
- Communicating regularly?
- Sharing my life with them?
- Honest with them?
- Encouraging them in their faith?
- Slow to anger, quick to forgive?
- Gently caring for their physical needs while doing everything I can to maintain their pride and independence?
As a friend and cousin, am I:
- Praying regularly for them in general as well as for each of the specific requests they have shared with me?
- Communicating with them as often as possible?
- Thinking about their needs and doing what I can to be a blessing in their lives?
- Being open about my life and faith?
- Meeting them and encouraging them wherever they may be on their journeys to find Truth?
- Generous with my time, possessions, energy, money?
- Assuming their best intentions and quick to forgive?
- Helping them to raise and care for their children and demonstrating God’s love to their children whenever I interact with them?
- Available in a crisis?
- Willing to interrupt my routine to help them with any needs they may have?
- Forgiving and forgetting?
- Encouraging them to be the people that they were created to be?
- Telling them the ways I see God in them and the things I appreciate about them?
As a teacher, am I:
- Keeping God and His word at the center of all of my lessons?
- Instilling a love of learning about God’s creations, the way His world works, and the history of that world?
- Making sure that I provide a quality education that prepares my child/the children in our Co-op with the skills and knowledge she/they need for the plans God has for them?
- Encouraging exploration of personal interests, even if I do not share them?
- Patient and encouraging? Do I speak words of affirmation? Do I work gently with areas that are challenging?
- Meeting physical, spiritual and emotional needs before expecting learning to take place?
- Seeing myself as a gardener who tends the flowers God is creating and not as a creator who determines who or what grows?
- Teaching about the whole world and not just those people and topics that are familiar and comfortable to me?
- Helping my child develop the skills she needs to address difficult situations and problems rather than avoiding them?
- Discouraging the need for perfection and encouraging an understanding of effort and process?
- Willing to let someone else teach my child if God leads me that way?
- Delighting in the gift of teaching?
As a writer, am I:
- Using my words to point others toward God?
- Genuine, candid and honest in all I write? Living with integrity and striving to allow the lessons I share to take root in my own life?
- Praying for the people who will read my work and for the wisdom to know what it is that God wants them to read?
- Refusing the temptation to become discouraged and clinging to the belief that if just one person draws closer to God because of something I have written, then it will all be worth it?
- Making it a priority to put my best work forward?
- Taking time to feed myself spiritually before seeking to feed others through my work?
- Seeking opportunities to share what I write, not because of pride or my need for success, but because I genuinely want others to know the lessons that I share?
- Willing to express deep, painful, and embarrassing things in order to help others know God in new ways?