In what ways are you avoiding God’s call on your life? Today, I’m sharing 3 signs that you’re avoiding God’s call on your life. You may be surprised to see some of them show up in your attitudes and actions
Highlights From the Episode:
In what ways are you avoiding God’s call on your life? Today, I am sharing three signs that you are avoiding God’s call on your life, and you might be surprised to see that some of them show up in your attitudes and actions. So let’s jump right in.
Hey there, my friends, and welcome back to this episode of “The Renewed Mind.” I am your host as always, Ashley Varner, and I’m thankful that you are here. Truly, I’m not just saying that. I am so blessed and grateful for every view that is here, because what that tells me is that you are interested in taking your thoughts captive and growing in your relationship with Christ. And so if you are brand new here, I am a certified Christian life coach, I’m a Bible teacher, and I just love teaching women how to take control of their emotions and take their thoughts captive. And if you have been watching for a long time, thank you so much. Either way, if you haven’t subscribed yet, make sure to subscribe so that you can let YouTube know that you want more Christian content just like this.
So I have been talking all of this month about negative emotions and emotions that we try to avoid, things like anxiety or rejection. We’ve talked about rejection, we’ve talked about bitterness and forgiveness, we’ve talked about injustice, we’ve talked about anxiety, and today I want to finish off this whole series by talking about three signs that you may be avoiding God’s call in your life. Because while this isn’t necessarily a negative emotion, it is something that we end up trying to avoid. There’s sometimes a call on our lives that we are trying to avoid.
This is something I started thinking about a couple of months ago because I ran a 5K in my city, and I as I was running this 5K, or whenever I got there, I had preregistered and they had all of the people who had preregistered, all their packets available, you know, to get picked up. So I went to my designated area, to my age group, and grabbed my preregistration packet, I put on my number, my bib, and all that stuff, to get ready for the race. And I saw that there were a couple of other packets that hadn’t been picked up yet. And we went ahead and ran the race, and after the race, there were still some packets that hadn’t been picked up. So these were people who had preregistered, who had paid to be part of this race, and they didn’t show up.
And it really got me to thinking that they initially answered the call for the race and signed up, but they never took action. And later, you know, we finished the race, and I actually won in my division for the females in my age group. And I wondered if things would’ve been different if I probably wouldn’t have won if they had shown up.
So there weren’t very many, just to be honest. It’s not like I’m some great runner. There weren’t very many in my age group, in my age bracket. But I showed up and I came, and I was able to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. So what I wanna ask you is, are you doing the same thing in your Christian walk? Is God calling you to do something?
Maybe He’s calling you to forgive a family member. Maybe He’s calling you to quit a job and take one that pays less. Maybe He’s calling you to start volunteering at your local church. Or maybe He’s even calling you to do something bigger, like moving to a new city or adopting a child or something like that. Today, I want you to look at these three signs and ask yourself, just being really honest between you and God and saying, “Am I avoiding God’s call on my life?”
Every week this month, we’ve been looking at a lesson in the life of someone in the Bible, and today we are going to talk about the story of Jonah. So I’m sure most of you are familiar with the story of Jonah, but just in case you’re not, I wanted to give a little bit of a summary.
Jonah is a prophet and he is told by God, very clearly, to go to a town called Nineveh and preach to the people there. He decides that he does not wanna go to Nineveh, so he ends up taking a boat and sailing in the other direction to the city of Tarsus. Well, as he’s on his way there, on the boat, there’s this huge storm, and he ends up telling the people on the boat that the reason for the storm is because of him. They throw him overboard and a big fish swallows him up for three days. After those three days, he is spit back up on the land. And where would you guess? Right on the shores near Nineveh.
So I wanted to share a little bit about his story, and we’re gonna start just reading a little bit because what I want you to see is that God’s call on Jonah’s life was very clear. It was, “You need to go to Nineveh and preach to the people,” right? So we sometimes, just like Jonah, can do a couple of things.
First Sign: You Procrastinate Making a Decision to Obey
The first sign that you might be avoiding God’s call in your life is that you procrastinate making the decision to obey.
Now, sometimes, we feel like we can make this decision when really when there’s a call on us, we need to obey. There’s not really a decision that needs to be made, right? The word from the Lord was pretty clear, and still, Jonah didn’t instantly buy his ticket to Nineveh, right? In what ways are you procrastinating God’s call in your life?
You’re procrastinating against making the decision to obey. It has been my experience that whenever you are intentionally spending time with the Lord, His voice becomes more and more clear. And John in chapter 10 verse 27, says, Jesus is saying, “My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me.” So Jesus is saying, “My sheep know me. They know my voice.”
Being a Christian isn’t just about saying that you believe in God, it’s actually following what He tells you to do.
So I have shared the story of us answering the call to foster and adopt. But whenever my husband and I made this decision, we felt the call of God on a Sunday after church, and we talked about it that afternoon and we discussed it. We weren’t making a decision, but we were discussing all of the things. We were kind of counting the cost ahead of time. And by that Friday, so it was five days later, we had made the decision to obey. And I will never forget. I was sitting across the dining room table, the dinner table, from my husband. And I said, “Are we gonna do this?” And he said, “Ashley, I don’t think we have a choice.” We both knew that God had called us to do this, and so we didn’t have a choice.
We had to obey. If you are procrastinating in making a decision, I want you to realize that if you are a Christian and God has called you to do something, it’s really not a decision that’s yours to make. I know that sounds really kind of harsh, but honestly, we are called to follow Him, and so the decision that you made to follow Christ was also when you made the decision to just say yes to whatever He’s called you to do.
Second Sign: You Take Steps in the Opposite Direction
The next sign that you may be avoiding God’s call in your life is that you are taking steps in the opposite direction. So finally, Jonah did take some action, right? But it was in the wrong direction. He ended up heading to Tarsus instead. And when God calls us to do something, often we can just instinctively and even subconsciously do the opposite.
So we do the opposite of what God’s calling us to do. And you might wonder why we do that. Because it feels easier and better for our flesh to do that. Answering God’s call sometimes is hard and it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel easy, right? Doing the opposite is easy for us. Like, it’s what our flesh wants, right? It’s an easy, comfortable decision.
The bad news is that whenever we do this, not only are we hurting ourselves, but we end up hurting other people. So just like Jonah, we can hurt the people around us like the men on the boat. They were in the middle of that storm when they were just going along with their normal lives, right? He was disobeying and they were negatively impacted.
The Bible says that they were throwing stuff overboard, so a lot of those men lost possessions, they lost cargo, maybe, that they were hauling to the next city, which means that the pilot of the ship, the captain of the ship probably lost profits, right? It impacted other people.
Now, it might seem harsh to think of it like this, but when we take steps in the opposite direction from where God’s leading, this is exactly what’s happening. We’re hurting ourselves, we’re hurting other people. And I do wanna stop here and interject that we should try and avoid judging other people’s actions because just because God’s telling us to do something doesn’t mean that he’s telling everyone else to do the same thing. So don’t assume that you know what God is calling someone else to do.
I know that it’s easy for us to think that God’s plan for everybody is the same, but God may have a plan for you to stay right where you are. And he’s calling someone else to do something completely different. Now, whenever we were being called to foster, we 100% realized that it wasn’t a call that God was giving to everyone, and so not everyone was gonna understand our decision. If you are called to do something, not everyone is gonna understand your decision. And that’s okay. So just realize that if you are going in the opposite direction, that is not what’s pleasing to the Lord.
Third Sign: You Complain and Think Other People Have Easier Calls to Obey
The last sign that you might be avoiding God’s call in your life is that you complain and then think other people have easier calls to obey, or maybe other people have everything easy for them, or things just come naturally easy for them, and you find yourself complaining a lot.
If you find yourself complaining about all that you have to do, or you’re complaining about where you’re serving, where God has placed you, that might be a sign that you’re just avoiding either stepping into the call that He has for you or just fulfilling the call that He already has you in, right? Sometimes we go through the motions of obeying, but inside our hearts still aren’t fully surrendered to God. And we do what He says because, you know, we know that we’re supposed to do what He says, but we don’t feel it. And remember, your feelings don’t come from your actions. They come from your thoughts.
If you find yourself constantly feeling or constantly complaining about where you’re serving God, then look at the thought that is starting to cause that. Look at the thought that’s causing that emotion and then causing that action. Whether you are in a secular workplace, whether you are in a ministry, whatever it is, I want you to start to examine your heart and then see if you’ve actually fully surrendered to God and fully surrendered to God in this aspect of your life in the first place.
Eventually, we see in Jonah’s story that he went to Nineveh and made a huge impact on the people there. They completely repented. They changed. And after they did, he complained about it. He didn’t want God to forgive the people of Nineveh. We don’t know why. There are not a lot of details about why he didn’t wanna go. We do know that Nineveh was known for being very cruel, like very cruel to the prophets as well. But ultimately we don’t know why Jonah was so upset that they had repented. And God really kind of puts him in his place.
And for us, what we need to see is that where our heart is, and our motivation behind what we do, matters to God. And so if you find that, yeah, you’re obeying, but, you know, you’re kind of complaining, or you are just, your heart just doesn’t feel like your heart is in it, then that means it’s a heart issue. It means it’s a mind issue and a thought issue. So you have to start taking your thoughts captive to determine if you’ve really surrendered your entire life and your calling to God.
I hope that this was a quick and easy way for you to see maybe some warning signs that might have come up in your mind, in your thoughts, or in your actions about avoiding God’s call for your life. Because ultimately, we are all called to do something for the kingdom, whether it is up in front, or whether it is online, or whether it’s just in your own home serving your family.
Whatever God’s call is for you, I want you to know that you are going to be so much happier and feel so much more fulfilled whenever you follow His leading, whenever you don’t avoid His call in your life. Because just like Jonah, we don’t wanna get eaten by a fish, right? We don’t wanna have to suffer the consequences of not following after God’s plan.
And I have to just end this with a quick story about one reason why this is an episode in the first place. My family and I, were able to adopt one of the little foster boys that we had had for several years, and we adopted him last year, and my sons and my husband and I were talking, we were trying to decide if we should leave our license open or if God still had more children for us to take in.
And at the time that we were doing this, we sat down with my older two boys and we said, “Okay, what do you think, guys? You’ve prayed about it. We’ve prayed about it. What do you think that we should do?” And one of my sons said, “You know, Mom, it’s been really hard. It’s really hard.” And this is something, this is just a side note, biological children in foster families really have it hard too. Like, I know that kids in foster care, trust me, my heart is with them because we’ve had so many come into our home, but I have seen the toll that it takes on even the biological kids in the family, and it’s hard for them whenever kids leave and come in and leave and come in.
And so my son was saying, “You know, Mom, it is really hard. It’s really hard to foster.” He said, “But,” and this is coming from a nine-year-old. He said, “But Mom, just remember how when Jonah didn’t do what God told him to do. I don’t wanna get eaten by a fish.” He said, “So let’s keep going.” And we felt like the Lord was still continuing to call us to foster, so we’ve continued to do that.
But what he said has always stuck in my mind because he knew there are consequences. It might not be getting eaten by a fish, but he knew there are consequences to not following God’s call. And so I want you to remember that, to take these warning signs, and if you are complaining or thinking that other people have it easier if you are taking steps in the opposite direction, or if you’re just procrastinating making the decision to obey, then realize that it’s always better when we follow God’s plan.
All right, that is all that I have for you guys this week. I hope that you have enjoyed this entire series. If you haven’t had a chance to watch all of ’em, make sure to jump back and watch the episodes on rejection, bitterness, we talked about anxiety, and we talked about being treated unfairly. So I hope that you enjoyed all of these. And I hope that these videos are helping you to grow in your relationship with the Lord because truly that’s the goal of this channel is to help you to transform your life by renewing your mind through the Word of God. I hope that you guys enjoyed this and I will see you next time. Have a great week.