During this Lenten season, I often think of the disciples and the difficult decisions they had to make in their lives.
They knew that leaving their homes to follow Jesus was the right thing to do. This was not the safe or expected decision. Presumably, they had jobs and families and other responsibilities. But they knew that they simply could not remain where they were after encountering Christ and experiencing what they had.
I am sure that people advised them against this decision, and I am sure they had to repeatedly explain themselves to others. But they had a conviction that even though their decision was risky, the payback would be worth it. And, in fact, the payback was more than they ever could have imagined.
When we make a decision in our lives that others may not understand, we tend to be met with a barrage of unsolicited advice. Though often well-meaning, if we’re not specifically seeking out advice, this can cause unnecessary pressure to explain ourselves and our decisions—particularly if someone is young and trying to find her or his way in life.
People will always have their thoughts about what others do or don’t do. The thing is, the big decisions you make in your life, especially if they are directly related to your own happiness or well-being, are ultimately between you and God.
If you have taken this decision to prayer and thought out all aspects in a meaningful and intentional way, there is no need to defend your decisions to others.
I am a people-pleaser by nature. A typical middle-child and mediator, I am always tunedin to how what I do and say makes other people feel. This can be a great asset, but also a great drawback. I have had to unlearn these tendencies over the years, because I have learned that I cannot always be responsible for the happiness and comfort of others.
Like the disciples, we can’t live our lives based on what others are going to think. God knows the deepest desires of our hearts, and he desires for us to know happiness. He leads us to the things that he has meant for us, even if the path may seem long and winding.
If we hold onto this trust that God will guide us in our lives and in our decision-making, we simply cannot be lead astray. Because even if things go wrong, this is a lesson that we were meant to learn.
It is a tough lesson to learn in life, but we are not helping anyone by remaining in situations that no longer serve us or others. If we are unhappy in a situation, or that situation is no longer allowing us to grow in our faith, then it is time to move on. Because you simply cannot serve others if you are not being served in any way.
It takes a deep self-awareness and a strong relationship with God to realize when a situation calls for change. And only you and God can know this.
As the faithfulness of the disciples teaches us, the way of the Cross leads to Easter and new life. When you have a strong conviction and you are certain God is leading you in the right direction, listen to that conviction, and be ready to take a leap of faith.
He will not lead you astray. You don’t owe anyone else an explanation. And once they see how happy you are when you live out loud, that will be all the explanation needed.