This week’s post is the continuation of a regular musing on my former blog: lizology101.

As I often do when facing a difficult decision, I called my old friend and mentor, Vivian. I explained the situation and described my uncomfortable feelings about it, detailing the sense of unease that had haunted me for weeks.

“If you are uncomfortable, listen to that feeling,” my friend advised. “You are hearing from God right now. That feeling is his Spirit telling you what decision to make.”

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

God speaks to us in many ways: through circumstances, closed doors or wide-open opportunities; through conversations, the advice of trusted friends and mentors; and sometimes through the emotions that guide our choices and direct our progress.

Hunches and gut feelings, nagging dissatisfaction or discontent can be God’s way of alerting us to make a necessary change. My misgivings and discomfort about the situation I faced told me it was time to alter my path. When we listen carefully to our emotions, we can identify the promptings God provides.

Discerning our feelings takes time and practice to develop. It is important to be aware of what our hearts are saying, evaluate the messages our emotions express, and consider carefully before making a choice. Listening to the language of our hearts is the way to hear God’s voice.

Today I pray you hear what your heart is telling you. Know that God is always speaking through his Spirit.

When have you known God was directing your steps? When did you hear God speak to your heart?

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I recently returned from a road trip through South Dakota. We explored the Black Hills on winding, tree-lined highways and snapped pictures of rock formations while I contemplated the lessons I learned from my travels.

What is built on rock endures. Gutzon Borglum carved Rushmore into the granite of a mountainside. The memorial to our nation’s leaders has endured decades of driving rain and lashing winds. God tells us when we build our lives on the rock of faith, we will endure the decades of life’s storms and challenges. We succeed by building our lives on truth, trust, and commitment -- the foundations that last.

It’s a long, hard walk to the top. We joined the Volksmarch at Crazy Horse Mountain and hiked almost six miles over rough terrain, struggled up steep mountain trails, and finally enjoyed the view from the outstretched arm of the Crazy Horse carving. Life is often like that climb: exhausting, difficult, and dangerous; but if we persevere, we are rewarded for our efforts with a greater view of God’s purpose.

 

Some mysteries will never be explained. At the Cosmos Mystery Area, trees lean sideways, cabin walls slant crookedly, tennis balls roll uphill, water defies gravity and pools in odd formations. No one can explain why this place is strange. No one can understand why some events occur. Only God knows the wisdom of his greater plan, and we will never comprehend all the mysteries of his ways.

Enjoy time with family and friends. The best part of any journey is exploring new roads and sharing experiences with our traveling companions. In South Dakota, I most enjoyed sitting with my family near the campfire at night, talking about our adventures of the day, and planning new excitement for the next. I am grateful for the people who share my life. I know I still have much to learn, and I’m looking forward to everything the road ahead reveals.

This summer, I pray you discover wonderful new vistas. Know God is always with you on your travels.

What have you learned on a trip or time away? What do you look forward to discovering in the future?

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I will be taking a camping trip soon, so I’m collecting and organizing the gear I plan to pack. I have bought new towels, swim suits, flip flops, and sunscreen; gathered sleeping bags, flashlights, backpacks, and bug spray; collected trail mix, granola bars, beef jerky, and water bottles. I am bringing everything I can possibly imagine to make this trip more comfortable and pleasant.

No trip is about the things we carry with us, but its purpose is to find something new. We venture out to enjoy time with our companions, discover new and memorable views, and explore how people and worlds are different yet similar. We return home with a renewed appreciation for the place where we are known and loved.

Our journey through life is not about the possessions we accumulate, but its goal is to appreciate the lessons we learn. We create a rich life by celebrating time with people we love, discovering new ideas and abilities, and expanding our perceptions of the world. We learn to express our trust and gratitude for the God who knows all and loves us always.

Soon I will be traveling a new and unpredictable road. I will take with me an open mind, an eagerness to explore, and a trust that I’ll return home with a new perspective. Throughout all my journeys I have learned that life is not constantly comfortable or pleasant, but we always have everything we need.

Where is your journey taking you this summer? What do you hope to learn along the way?

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