Are You Heading in the Right Direction?

Here’s how I answer that question.

Heading in the Right Direction?

If you wonder, “Am I heading in the right direction?” you’re not alone. It’s a different way to ask, “Is this God’s will for me?” We ask this about many life decisions. Should I

  • Continue in a relationship?
  • Get married?
  • Change careers?
  • Move?
  • Buy a house or rent?
  • Find a new or better job?
  • Have a baby?
  • Buy a _? New car, computer, iPhone?

I have wondered about many of these over the years. These days I wonder most about ministry. Am I doing what God wants me to do in ministry?

I got back from Haiti two weeks ago and am leaving soon for India. Each time I present the Stand Firm Seminar to new groups. I wonder, “Is this what I should do? Is this what these people need? Should I be doing something else?” Here are seven questions that help me decide if I am heading in the right direction.

7 Questions to Clarify if I’m Heading in the Right Direction

  1. Is it wrong, dishonest or dishonoring to God? If so, don’t do it. If you have to steal, lie or bend the truth to do something, it isn’t God’s will. If it is something selfish or will reflect poorly upon God, it isn’t the right thing to do. If it means someone gets hurt, you shouldn’t do it.
  2. Is it wise to do it? If not, you probably should not do it. If you still want to do it, move forward cautiously. If it isn’t wise financially (meaning you don’t have the money to do it) or not safe to do, you need a compelling reason to do it. You may have such a compelling reason like feeling an unmistakable call to minister in a dangerous place. Only continue if there are clear indications God wants you to do it.
  3. Is it consistent with your goals? If so, go for it. If not, don’t. This assumes you have goals. If you don’t have goals, you need to work on them first. Goals give clarity for life decisions.
  4. Are others supportive of you doing it? If not, reassess your plans. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Sometimes the issue isn’t whether it is wise, but whether it suits you, your gifts, talents and aptitude. Friends, counselors and advisers can see things in us that we can’t see. Your plans may not fit who you are. If your support structure is counseling against you doing something, I’d listen to them.
  5. Are you willing to pay the price? If not, don’t do it. There is always a cost to doing the right thing. It may tax you financially, physically and mentally. You may face long days, short nights and lots of uncertainty. If you haven’t counted the cost, slow down until you do.
  6. Can you be happy if you don’t do it? If so, don’t do it. If the idea of doing it keeps you up at night (with excitement, not dread) then go for it! If you can be happy doing anything else, then move on to something else.
  7. Do you believe God wants you to do it? Have you had any indications God wants you to do it? If not, don’t do it. Do you sense God speaking to you and leading you? It may be through scripture, thoughts or ideas God brings to mind, open doors, and encouragement of others. If you can move forward with confidence, then do so. If you can’t think of one concrete reason, scriptural or otherwise to rest upon, don’t proceed. Wait until you have the faith God wants you to do it.

There is no simple answer to the question, “Am I heading in the right direction?” In my experience, when I seek God’s will and sort through each of these issues, I have the clarity to continue or not.

I wondered when I got to Haiti if pastors and leaders needed me to be there and teach them. I am humbled and delighted with the positive response to the Stand Firm Seminar.

Ward Cushman and Pastor Jean Claude Cimeus

 Pastor Jean Claude Cimeus from Haiti 

Here is a link to an interview with Pastor Jean Claude Cimeus, a pastor and leader in Haiti. It was such an encouragement!

Margaret and I are leaving on Monday, October 1st for India. We will train 1,000 pastors and leaders in Mumbai and Pune. These are men and women who could not afford this training if they had to pay for it themselves. We still have a ways to go in raising the total support for this trip. If you’d like to give please click here or the “Donate” button on the top right-hand side of this page. I know you have a choice where to give. Thanks for your prayer and financial support to train pastors and leaders in India.

In His grace,

The Next Month Does Not Look Good [And Here Is Why I’m Good With That]

The Next Month Before We Travel to India Doesn’t Look Good!

Greetings Friends,

In a little over a month my wife, Margaret, and I are flying to India. We will visit the Love Children’s Home Orphanage and then lead Stand Firm pastors conferences. This is the fourth year in a row we have hosted and led pastors conferences in different parts of India. There will be many good things that happen on the trip. Yet based upon what happened the last three years, I recognize the next month will be difficult.

India is a good place to visit.

Three Reasons the Next Month Doesn’t Look Good

  1. God will test my faith. I never imagined I would train thousands of pastors around the world. Each year we have raised the goal for the number of pastors we are training. This year we are trusting God for more than in the past. I know that each day that passes it will get harder and harder to trust God to provide. There will be times when doubts will flood my mind. There will be times when I assume I’m foolish to even think we could do such a task.  
  2. The enemy will attack me. Satan often focuses his attacks on my faith, trusting God for His provision. The attacks are also accusatory thoughts. I’ve had them before. They will be thoughts like these, “You’re foolish to do this. God will not provide. You will fail and your failure will embarrass you. You’re nobody!” Throughout the next month these attacks will become more frequent and as exhausting as wrestling matches!
  3. I will face many trials. I will not get enough sleep. There will be times I don’t feel well. There will be travel problems, and delays. The power will fail during a conference. Someone will forget to do something important. It will be hard, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

This sounds bleak, but it’s not. Here’s why.

Continue Reading »

Mary’s Christmas Story [As I Imagine She Would Tell It]

Mary’s Christmas Story

Mary's Christmas Story - trip to Bethlehem

I need to sleep, but I can’t. It’s quiet now. Joseph is out getting more fuel for the fire. Jesus is sleeping peacefully beside me. I’m exhausted but I don’t want to sleep. So many wonderful things have happened today, I want to soak it all in. I don’t want this moment to end.

I didn’t feel this way two days ago. When Joseph and I arrived in Bethlehem, all I wanted was for this pregnancy to be over. The six-day journey from Nazareth wasn’t bad, as journeys go. We were fortunate that a kind traveler in our caravan offered to let me ride on his donkey. It was better than walking, but there really isn’t anything enjoyable about riding a donkey 12 hours a day. Each step was a jostling reminder that the new life within me would soon want out.

I didn’t know what to expect in Bethlehem. Would things be different? From the moment Gabriel visited me 9 months ago, little in my life has gone as expected.

Continue Reading »