Not till God tells me…..

Dan Miller —  October 23, 2012 — 16 Comments

“Dan! I’m feeling like I’m in a dead-end situation, but I’m not going to move until God tells me to do so!”

I received this note recently from a reader – and it represents thousands of similar notes I’ve received over the years.

“Dan, I’m miserable, frustrated, anxious, sick, exhausted, bored, nervous, worried, concerned, restless, fearful, frightened, apprehensive, troubled, upset, angry, exasperated, incensed, infuriated, discouraged, aggravated, maddened, offended, disappointed, distressed, anguished, tormented, suffering, afflicted, suffering, persecuted” – well, you get the idea.

The challenging thing is to know how God “tells” us to move. My observation is that it’s usually not an audible voice butgod_speaks rather in experiencing frustration, anxiety, physical maladies and lack of peace.

48 Days Coach Joel Boggess recently added:  “Maybe the burning bush scene that a lot of folks (with the best of intentions) hope to see, happens internally and consumes from within.”  Wow – I think that’s profound.  The burning bush we are hoping to see is actually consuming us from the inside out with our anxiety and anger.

Uncertainty, frustration in or even losing a job or business can often be simply a prod to a higher level of success.  The eagles build a nest using thornbush strands to lock it together.  Then they cover them with leaves and feathers to make it soft and comfortable.  However, when the eaglets are about twelve weeks old, mom and dad eagles begin to remove the protection from the thorns.  Pretty soon the little eaglets are up on the edge of the nest to avoid the pain and discomfort.  Then mom and dad eagle fly by with tasty morsels of food just out of reach.  Soon the little eaglet makes a big leap to get away from the pain and the hunger, and you know what happens – rather than the anticipated crashing on the rocks below, he learns he can fly.  I truly believe that oftentimes God allows circumstances in our lives, not to leave us in pain or hungry, but to lead us to higher levels of success that we would not otherwise explore.

If we don’t respond to the discomfort, how do we really expect God to move us?  Do you wait until you’re fired and then assume God did that?  Do you wait until you have ulcers?  Or until you are so frustrated that you lash out at someone in anger?

Recognize that a “dead-end situation” may itself be God’s way of trying to get you to move.  Don’t expect Him to come down here, grab you by the collar and jerk you out of there.  You’ve got to move yourself.

See this time in your life as one of those times – the beginning of a new season in your life.  And see this opportune time and the desire to find the work that God has for you to do as some of those thorns that are causing you to look for some new alternatives.

  • Mike Butcher

    Great article. Coming out of some of those same circumstances.

    Reminds me of the old joke where there is a flood & two boats & a helicopter come along to save this old woman as the water progressively rises & she refuses saying God will save her. She drowns, goes to heaven, and is mad at God that He didn’t save her. He says I sent two boats & a helicopter.

    • lhgraham

      LOL, I try to remind myself of that joke, Mike so I’m not that woman!

  • Eric S. Mueller

    Exactly. God gives us wisdom so we can make our own decisions. Sometimes we make way too much of a deal out of “waiting to hear from God”.

  • Christopher Battles

    Thank you Dan.
    Good timing on this.
    The burning of frustration is often God talking to us, but I want a voice saying “Do this…”
    Point taken and digesting.

    K, bye

  • Jen McDonough “The Iron Jen”

    Yikes, the times I have tried to ignore discontentment, it seems to fester up in some unproductive, joyless form of negativity somewhere in my life. I am learning to recognize it and rather than lash out about it, USE it as a motivation to MOVE it.
    Many thanks for this post Dan – very visually and one that I am going to be anxious to share!!

  • David Tomkins

    Wow. So much fits me. I have been trying to find my way out of this work I am in that frustrates me so much. It has also been frustrating at church serving so much I feel as though I took on a part time job with out pay. Prior discussions with Dan brought me to realize I was serving way to much at church. I love to serve but it was taking from my family time. I have cut back to about 20 hours per week (still not all the way yet – trying to find others to fill my positions – the Lord has provided several so far) and I am feeling a little better. Hard to let go of those positions but when God calls you to do something it means we are not to necessarily hang onto the other things.

    Another thing is my wife and I were thinking about moving to Oregon to be closer to family because our closest immediate family is 9 hrs away. It’s tough being so far away from family. We figured if we moved we could start over. The scary thing is moving across states. No job lined up selling our home. I know I could probably get another job in the automotive repair industry but at the same time will I be making the money there needed to survive.

    I have been thinking and working on a business I believe that I could really enjoy. Working with Audio-Visual and most importantly training others how to set up, use and take care of equipment. I am just thinking that with such a small town – about 15,000 – it maybe hard to make a living of of this. Where as if we move to Grants Pass/Rogue River area we would be closer to Meford – a town of over $100,000.

    So we are stuck. Stay where we are (unhappy wife, unhappy job for me) and try to build a business and keep our 12 year old son in a great Christian school which we all love or or give up the house we love, get closer to family and start all over again.

    Please lift us in your prayers. Thanks for the wisdom as we continue to try and come before and follow our Lord in all we do.

    • Estar

      Having a great Christian school for your son as he enters into his teenage years is critical, given my experience with my son. This will pay dividends years later. And if he has friends who are a good influence on him. I would judge what you are doing now to get him ready for a God-fearing life and not look at proximity to family or unhappy jobs first of all. You can work behind the scenes on your next steps for a better job while he goes through school. Leaving your house now may be more unsettling to your son than you realize. No job is without discontentment or boredom. But given the time in your son’s life, do you have more time to be a parent to him than if you moved and started all over?

  • Marianne Clements


    With all of those negative emotions screaming at you, I think it would be quite difficult to hear God’s still, small voice!

    When God told Abraham to leave, He didn’t tell him where to go, what he was going to do once he got there, how he was going to earn a living, etc. We sometimes want all the details before we take a step. Faith is stepping out without knowing where our foot may land.

    Obviously, I’m not saying we shouldn’t use caution, but if things are that miserable where we are then it’s probably safe to say that this is not where God wants us.

    Have a Victorious Day!

  • Larry

    God wants us to have faith, in fact, scripture tells us it impossible to please Him without it. Waiting until we can see our way clear down the entire path is not faith. It is saying, unless I can see the end from the beginning, I will not move. God directs the steps of a righteous man, but in order for Him to do so, the righteous man needs to be walking. If you’d ever driven an old truck without power steering, you’d know it is much easier to turn (direct) after it is rolling than it is when sitting still. Just begin taking steps in the direction you believe God would have you go and trust He will adjust your course as you move. And He has already shown you much more than you might expect about where to go- through the desires of your heart that He put in you when He made you. Trust His design, trust your heart, and trust His ability to make it all turn out right.

  • Mike

    Dan, great post! About 5 years ago I faced a big life changing decision but I had the choice of setting out for a new challenging life adventure or staying put in the safe and comfortable place I was. The latter was a place of boredom and some discontent and I felt that the Lord wanted me to move because He had a bigger plan and assignment. So what did I do? You guessed it I chose safety and comfort but the boredom and discontentment remains. Now it seems the process is starting all over. My biggest fear is crashing on the rocks.

    • Godisgood

      The windshield is always bigger than the rear view mirror. Keep looking forward! The comfort you feel in your current position which affects everyone presented with new opportunities is also a fear of the unknown. Whenever you dwell on leaving comfort, apprehension kicks in. This is normal. However, we cannot let this rule our final decision. God gives us larger tasks to see if we’re willing to acknowledge that we as a human beings have a definite limitation to where we need to have full faith in God to bring us past this limitation! God has no limits and by taking a leap of faith, you can show God you need him! Lean hard on God and know that when he presents you with something greater, he is completely in control and while the decision is up to us to move, he is beside us the entire way!

      What shall I return to the Lord
      for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation
      and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
      in the presence of all his people. (Psalm 116:12-14 NIV)

      Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6, 7 NIV)

  • John Dennis

    I know I left one job out of anger a long time ago thinking it was time to leave to only get a worse job that lead me to where I live today and hate it. So now out of fear I stay where I am even though every thing the other person feels I feel as well.

  • Kay Powell

    I have experienced this very thing in my own life and have recently witnessed it in a friend’s life. I chose not to continue in the pain and to follow where God was leading,while my friend has chosen to shut everyone out and continue on in her pain. She says she is ready to make changes and then retreats back into her fear and isolation instead of taking the steps she needs to take to move forward. It is painful to go through and excrutiating to watch when you have walked through it yourself; you want to help so badly, but there is nothing you can do until that person decides to change. And, Larry, you are so right; in your own words, “Waiting until we can see our way clear down the entire path is not faith.” Faith is stepping onto a path in the dark and trusting that God has already placed a stepping stone under your foot. I am learning to step, trusting in His character and He has not failed me yet. Makes you wonder why we are so hesitant to trust our perfect Guide, doesn’t it?

  • lhgraham

    Great article! Moving, doing something different, is one of the scariest things. It takes a lot of practice to do it willingly but is worth the effort!!

  • Christy


    I have been carrying around a printed excerpt of your The Rudder of the Day and read it again for the first time in 5 years… wow – what timing… Absolutely amazing message above and just what I needed to read at just the
    right time! If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it! I’ve been in desperate need of this message among other messages and having been praying and searching for a further purpose in my life so thank you, thank you, thank you for lighting the fire under my new chapter in life that I can’t wait to discover.
    God Bless you!

    • 48DaysDan

      Christy – I’m delighted this was a message you needed to hear now. Be confident you can discern the next right step to get out of that nest.