Knowing Your Path in Life
Do you struggle to know where God is leading you, or to follow the path he puts before you?
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11 NASB)
It is the Lord who shows us the path in life.
It is his presence that will give us joy.
In his right hand there are pleasures.
Even though I had read this scripture many times, I was still in charge of my life. I was ambitious; I wanted to be successful and to bring happiness to my family in my own ways. Every week I would go to church, stand on prayer lines and have people prophesy over me yet on Monday morning I was driven by ambition and success.
“...as he thinks within himself, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7 NASB)
When I read this scripture I began to understand how my thinking affects me. My time with God, going to church, and receiving prayer was not helping me because my mind was in direct opposition to what God was saying to me or when people prophesied over me. I began to understand that it was my own mind that was in conflict with what God was saying to me. I became conscious and aware of the purpose of my life but every time I wanted to position myself into what God was saying to me, I did the opposite.
"I was struggling to know why God wasn’t answering my prayers in the area of business."
I had a successful career in the hospitality industry for 20 years and I was hoping one day to own a hotel. In 2001 I was convicted by the Holy Spirit that my hotel career was not helping my walk with the Lord so I decided to give up my hotel career and join Catch The Fire as part of their operational team. Even though I continued to work for Catch The Fire, within me I was constantly thinking about starting my own hotel business. Years went by and I was still contemplating about when would I be in business. I was struggling to know where God was taking me. God would me give dreams to help me see where he was taking me and they were all related to ministry. However I was struggling to know why God wasn’t answering my prayers in the area of business. In March of 2008 God gave me a very specific dream that I would be a pastor at Catch The Fire. In September 2008 Marina and I were offered the position of pastoring a new campus. Then, in 2009 God gave me another dream showing me a ten year plan and yet again it was mainly related to ministry. God was making it very clear to me that I am called to be in the ministry.
My biggest challenge was to tell my mind to forget about business. Being a science student in college I enjoy books on science and faith, and I read Who Switched off My Brain? by Dr. Caroline Leaf. This book helped me to understand the functions of the brain and how a thought is processed. Leaf states that:
“A thought may seem harmless, but if it becomes toxic even just a thought can become physically, emotionally or spiritually dangerous. Thoughts are measurable and occupy mental “real estate.” Thoughts are active; they grow and change. Thoughts influence every decision, word, action and physical reaction we make... Toxic thoughts are thoughts that trigger negative and anxious emotions which produce biochemicals that cause the body stress.”
"...my own thoughts... were giving me stress and anxiety"
Holy Spirit began to show me that my own thoughts, not God’s thoughts, were giving me stress and anxiety. In contrast, God was continuously speaking to me through dreams to show me the path of my life.
Another interesting insight will help you to see why I was not paying attention to God’s promise and why could not I stop thinking about the hotel business rather than what God wanted to do with my life. Dr. Bruce Lipton, a well-known scientist, said the following in his book The Biology of Belief:
“The conscious mind and the subconscious mind are interdependent. The conscious mind – which represents the seat of our personal identity, source or spirit, is the creative mind. It can see into our future, review the past, or disconnect from the present moment as it solves problems in our head. In its creative capacity, the conscious mind holds our wishes, desires and aspirations for our lives. It is the mind that conjures up our “positive thoughts”. In contrast, the subconscious mind is primarily a repository of stimulus response tapes derived from instincts and learned experiences. The subconscious mind is fundamentally habitual; it will play the same behavioral responses to life’s signal’s over and over again”.
I could not get the hotel business thought out of my mind because of 20 years of my life in the hotel industry. I was constantly in that ambitious state of someday starting my own hotel. My conscious mind captured my desire to be a hotel owner and it transferred to my subconscious mind, so my behavioral response was to want to some day to become a hotel businessman.
I had to make a decision to hold this toxic thought captive, because if it was from God I would have had a hotel by that time, or I should not be stressed and anxious about it. God had to take me to the 2009 dream for several months to reinstate in me that I am called to be in the ministry and serve him.
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB). This scripture became my lifeline for the next several months to help me remove what was stored in my subconscious mind.
Dr Caroline Leaf says “to detox our thought life, we must take a toxic thought back through the sequence to rebuild it. A toxic thought can be rebuilt with mental rehearsal. We can literally tear toxic strongholds down by choosing to bring the thought into conscious awareness for analysis, and then changing it through repentance and forgiveness and replacing it with the correct information.”
"...write down the dreams that he gives you."
Here are some scriptures that I used as a guideline to rebuild my thoughts:
“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]” (Philippians 4:8 AMP)
“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action).” (2 Timothy 3:16 AMP)
I want to encourage you to journal what God is saying to you in your time with him and write down the dreams that he gives you. Holy Spirit will help you to discern and understand your thought processes. Writing helps you to visualize what goes on in your mind and what God is saying to you. Revisiting your journal allows you to see what God has shown you and his promises for you. When you do this, your subconscious mind will automatically begin to change and think in alignment with God’s plan for you.
As you harness your mind daily in God’s word and spend time in his presence, your toxic thoughts will rebuild themselves and move along with God’s thoughts. Singing in the spirit has helped me to stay focused on God’s plan for me because we are first spirit, then soul, and then body.
I wish to be a student of the Holy Spirit, daily learning from him, so I can see the path of my life.
Next installment in October
I have been studying and trying to understand how our belief systems affect our relationship with God, our personal life, our loved ones, people we associate with and have an influence on. In my next article I will share with you about belief systems, how and when they are formed in us.