Seeking inspiration from the Holy Spirit can be a complex experience.
God is constant, but His direction filters down to us in a variety of ways. Sometimes we hear words, other times we get a “gut feeling”, or knowledge of what is going to happen that cannot be explained by logic. Sometimes the Spirit gives us visions of ourselves on the intended path. Other times the visions are given to people that encourage us to choose the inspired path.
Inspiration always pushes us to grow in our faith, but there are hundreds of paths that reach the end goal.
For example, we may be challenged to start a new job or let go of one we are very good at. God may be calling you to start a new ministry where you are or pack up and move across the world to meet a need somewhere else.
Perhaps the most surprising part of inspiration is that we get to choose our response.
In most situations, God gives us the opportunity to accept His inspiration or to turn away from it. Inspiration is like the sign at the “T” in the road that lets you know you have to choose a new direction. The Spirit communicates which direction God wants you to go, but ultimately you get to choose whether you follow it or not.
But what happens after we choose to turn towards God?
Sometimes it feels like we move ahead at full speed because we know what God is calling us to do, but then things get really hard. That overwhelming feeling of being surrounded by the Spirit can be replaced by a sense of doubt. We start questioning our choice. “Did I turn the right direction? Has the Spirit left me? I thought I was turning towards a blessing but this feels like a huge burden. Where is God in this mess?”
Remember the purpose of the Spirit’s inspiration? Our inspired experience was designed specifically for each of us to grow our faith, trust, and love for our Creator. Growing is a burden, but the resulting growth is a blessing. We have to carry that burden to gain the strength and wisdom from the experience. Facing our fear and doubt is a crucial part of that journey, but in this moment of doubt we still have a choice.
We can choose to be overcome by fear, turn, and run back down the path of non-inspired life. Or we can embed ourselves deeper into the folds of His robe and allow His strength to draw us forward.
Imagine a child learning to ride a bike. At some point the parent feels that it’s time to take off the training wheels. Some children know they are ready, others take some comforting and encouragement, but the parent knows it’s their time. The parent pushes slowly, with two hands on the back of the bike. The child’s feet are moving simply because the pedals are moving, then the child decides to push the pedals and they move a little faster. The parent slowly releases one hand and jogs behind the bike. As the child starts to get excited they accelerate and the parent lets go at the perfect moment. Moments later the child realizes the parent has let go and fear sets in. They think, “I’m going to fall-Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this!”
Sounds familiar, right?
There are going to be times in our life where we feel that the Spirit is no longer holding us up, and that we are no longer receiving that active inspiration, even though we’re being obedient to God’s will. But like the child on the bike, we get to choose what happens next. We can give into our fears, stop moving forward, and fall. Or we can trust that when He takes His hand off of us, He knows it is the perfect time. It’s beautiful to imagine Him remaining watchful, protective, and smiling from ear to ear when we realize we are capable of doing what He has empowered us to do!
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Angela J Herrington is founder of Broken Beautiful BOLD online women’s ministry and Life and Leadership Coach for Christian Women.
In addition to operating a successful boutique social media agency, she teaches women how to recognize, cultivate, and unleash their God given leadership ability. She holds a BA from Indiana Wesleyan and a Masters in Leadership from Wesley Seminary. Her graduate research project focused on leadership development and opportunities for Gen X women in the US church.
Angela is a Lark’s Song Certified Life Coach who reaches hundreds of thousands of women in 40+ countries each month on Facebook, IG, Twitter, Pinterest and two blogs. She is Director of Communications for Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy, a women led organization dedicated to engaging, empowering, and equipping women to lead in the church.
She is the host of the soon to be launched God Sized Calling Podcast and has also been published in Hope for Women and HOPE is Now magazines.
Angela is a also wife, mom to 6, and proud resident of Marion, Indiana with her family when they’re not traveling the US in their RV.