Coram Deo is a Latin phrase meaning: "In the presence of God." It's the idea of living everyday life in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God in every area of our lives. Villa Haven is a budding ministry with a heart for encouraging women to live Coram Deo.
This picture was taken a few weeks ago as I was coming off of my first meeting with my new mentor. She and I met about a year ago at a business networking event and I was immediately drawn to her spirit. She was radiating this rare mix of humility and confidence, joy and focus. This rich, gentle maturity. I could tell she loved Jesus. And it turns out she’s built her career around him. She was a woman living Coram Deo.
As we kicked off my first session, we dove into the past to give her a better idea of where I’m at in my faith journey. We talked through past tragedies and lessons learned. We talked about God moments and the people who had been pivotal leaders in my life, shaping me into who I’ve become thus far. I listed off woman after woman after woman who had really left a mark on me at some point or another in my life.
As I finished listing the leaders, she made a note: “So, no male leadership?”
I racked my brain trying to think of someone but came up short.
"Well, no, I guess not." I said.
We moved on quickly and she then broke my life into thirds and had me label each decade with an overarching theme.
0-10 years old >> (happy childhood)
11-20 years old >> (rebellious teen years)
20-30 years old >> (a lot of personal growth)
This exercise got me thinking about my choices and how they shaped the decades. Some of our choices don’t seem to effect much (like which route we drive home) and others stay with us forever (a city we move to, a house we buy or a spouse we choose). But each choice, even the seemingly small ones, are a brick being laid that’s building the pathway to our destiny.
I've read that we're better at decision making in the mornings and the more decisions you make in a day, the less clear you get. Our minds can only handle so much decision making in one day. That's why the President of the United States lays out all of his clothes the night before he starts a new day. He does this so that choosing his outfit for the day is one less decision to make in a day. That way he's able to save his decision making power for the really important stuff.
There’s a heaviness to this truth about the importance of our decisions and the impact they have on our lives.
I was reading recently how in the old days, (bible days) when folks were having a hard time making a decision, they would “cast lots.” That’s essentially like a rolling a dice to choose between options. Sounds a little risky right? We wouldn’t roll a dice on choosing a spouse these days! (Or should we?! HAHA) But the idea back then was that God was so powerful and had providence/authority over every chance – so however the dice rolled, it must be God’s providential choice. They would choose leaders and where people would live by casting lots.
I know we can't run around rolling dice on every decision but this idea of trusting God's coincidences and the way the chips fall has given me so much peace when it comes to making decisions. The big ones and the small ones. God gives us doors to choose between in life and we don't typically know what awaits on the other side. But I wonder if God cares less about which door we pick - and more about the faith it takes to actually make the choice.
I believe His providence is still powerful enough to close the doors we’re not meant to walk through and open the ones we are meant to walk through. And he’s strong enough to use our entry through the wrong door to lead us to the right door.
Romans 8:28 reminds us that he works ALL things together for our good and his Glory – ALL THINGS. All choices. All mistakes. All wrong doors. Not just the “right” ones. He works them all together to get us where we’re ultimately going. So, are the wrong doors ever really wrong when they still lead to the next right thing?! The bible says God would rather you be hot or cold than lukewarm. If you're lukewarm, he will spew you out of his mouth. The point to making the wrong decisions is that at least with a wrong decision, you can be quickly corrected and brought to the right decision. But, there's not much to work with when we sit on the fence of indecision.
My mentor said something that really resonated with me about going after your calling. So many people these days are searching for their purpose and their calling and trying to go after their dreams. She said, “Many times, when making decisions around our calling, we can look wayyy back in our history or childhood or a span of years and see where we were being groomed for a specific calling.”
This made me think back through my strengths and desires as a kid.
I won a blue ribbon writing contest in the 2nd grade.
I would journal and write songs and poetry as a kid.
I was in Honors Language Arts.
My favorite class in high school was a video production/journalism class.
I did the morning news in high school.
I have a Journalism degree.
My old boss made me do toastmasters.
I got so much free Leadership training in Corporate America.
I was social, a cheerleader and had a lot of friends.
I loved giving my friends advice. I liked helping them through their problems.
I spent a decade in sales building relationships.
I was in small groups and church camps all the time as a kid.
All of these things have prepared me for my calling and remind me that God has been laying bricks of preparation for my life for a long, long time. I can't mess those up.
Look back on your early childhood interests and the things you naturally excelled in. I imagine there is an intersect between our natural abilities and the desires of our hearts that points us towards the doors we ought to pursue. Even if it's a little baby step into something new, I encourage you to see what steps you can proactively take to move you closer to your goals for 2021. Take a chance. Making decisions doesn't need to be paralyzing. It should be an adventure!
Like it or not, there will be a word that defines the next decade of your life. And your choices today will shape that future. So, prayerfully and faithfully step into the unknown with as much wisdom as you can & pray for God to close the doors that he doesn't want you to step through.
And if you get stuck...roll a dice, it worked for the disciples!