This will hold true for anyone, but a great challenge of working with young adults is assisting them through the process of making life decisions. This is a transition stage from the teen years to adulthood: more responsibilities, bigger challenges, and the need to keep learning. A diploma or walk across the stage doesn’t mean the end of education, not by a long shot. In many ways, it’s just the beginning.
Our purpose is not to make decisions for people but help them recognize God’s leading, offer suggestions and opinions, and guide people through unclear moments. God doesn’t want us confused; we’re the ones who make things ambiguous. Part of the problem is fixating on what we need from Him rather than on Him. I tell our students, “Don’t seek after His direction but the Director Himself; not what’s in God’s hands, but God.” When we have a hold of God, everything else will be taken care of (Matthew 6:33).
Every once in a while, we run across people who make controversial choices. When we try to advise them, they grow agitated, and in order to stand their ground, throw down the Ace of Spades: GOD TOLD ME. Well, who wants to go up against God? Even when it’s obviously the wrong choice, they insist on what they’ve “heard.” These are some things I’ve noticed about people who so quickly pull the trump card out of their sleeve:
- They are not teachable and not open to the possibility of being wrong.
- They have unhealthy and unrealistic views or negative attitude towards leadership. If there’s a conflict or problem, then it’s our fault not theirs.
- They tend to be insecure and make themselves bigger and more “spiritual” in other people’s eyes. “God talks to me!”
- They are inconsistent in their relationship with God and devotional lives. Many times they only pray or read their Bibles when there’s conflict or if they feel guilty for ignoring God.
- They constantly go back and forth between the valleys and mountaintops.
- They tend to be impulsive and find it difficult to commit long term.
- “The grass is always greener” mentality.
It is possible for people to hear incorrectly, especially when filtered through emotions and desire. It could be God. It could be the enemy. It could be our own inward fight for justification. I always suggest to folks, particularly when major life decisions are on the line, appeal to the checks and balances God gives us:
- Seek the counsel of older, more mature Christians. If they’re friends, they need to empowered to say “NO.”
- Appeal to authorities: pastors, leaders, elders, mentors, and last but not least, PARENTS (even if they’re not saved!) Our instruction is to honor our parents, it says nothing about their spiritual walk (Ephesians 6:2; Hebrews 13:7).
- Don’t be hasty in making decisions.
- Fast. Pray. Study the Word (again not some attempt at Bible roulette, but simply to grow in Christ). God speaks to us in our daily routines.
- Rest, knowing that we won’t always make perfect decisions. If we miss it, He can get us back to where we need to be…it just may take a little longer.