Having said all that, the question on my heart for the past 3 weeks or so has been the following: How do I discern between what may be God opening a door and what is actually just an opportunity in life that will in fact to steer me off course of God's perfect will for my life?
I've found sometimes I can pray and seek God and it seems Scripture is clear. Yet then I'm reminded of how subtle the devil switches God's words around throughout the Bible and then I doubt. If we are all honest with ourselves, we can make Scripture say whatever we want it to say to us at the time and claim it as “God’s will.”
Three weeks ago we were presented with a wonderful opportunity for the kids to attend a beautiful, new private school in our area. The job situation worked out. The finances worked out. The school is in a choice setting only 7 minutes from our home. There are sports for Brandon, advanced courses for Katie and new classmates for Kylie and Haley to make friends with. There is more flexibility in the clothing the kids can wear. As an employee myself, I would be allowed to wear dress pants daily instead of skirts 6 days a week. The list could go on and all arrows seemed to point to this as the "perfect" school for our children. Yet, one thing was lacking. Peace. In its place was relentless doubt.
I wrote to one of our pastors at Berean Baptist Church and I asked him the above question about discernment of God’s will. He did not know my situation or dilemma. He wrote the following reply:
That is not the easiest of questions to answer because Scripture is not always clear on the specifics of "what" we are to do in many situations. Of course there are general principles that we find to guide us and provide us with some direction, and we have the Holy Spirit to provide peace and guidance as well.
I would say that when we first begin thinking or considering something, we first need to examine our motives and begin praying that the Lord would show us if it is His desire for us or just something we desire.
Next, we need to ask God and the Holy Spirit to speak to us through His Word either in personal reading or through the preaching/teaching of it. Then if a door is opened, we need to pray for peace to know whether to go through the door or not. God will provide peace and the Holy Spirit will confirm in our hearts whether we should or should not go through the door. I have also always found it helpful to get counsel from others at this point and then make a preliminary decision but not lock myself in yet. After the decision is made, it may be normal to doubt some, but in my experience, the Holy Spirit will confirm it one way or the other and if it hasn't been officially locked in then it provides me the opportunity to change direction. When there is doubt, continue praying for the Lord to give guidance and direction and peace.
I guess the short answer to your question is the peace that God gives us when we are in the center of His will and doing what He would have us to do. Satan is not the author of peace so when there is no peace, we can assume that God is not in it.
I went back and forth several times with the decision to leave the kids at Berean or to send them to the new school. I probably drove a dozen or so people nuts in the meantime. One thing is sure; I do not want to make a mistake when it comes to the kids. Finally, when the doubt would not subside, I took that as the Holy Spirit speaking and I made the final decision to stay. Through the course of events, and reactions of those towards me in this decision, I can say without a shadow of doubt, God clearly revealed to me that the decision to stay was the right one. I'm just a simple woman who loves the Lord with all my heart and I want to follow Him closely all the days of my life.
Thank You, Lord for discernment in hard decisions, for Your grace when we make mistakes and for peace when we are in the center of Your perfect will.