Making Sense of God’s Will for Your Life
I wish there was a simple equation for figuring out the Lord’s will. A succinct, straightforward formula for determining the place you need to live, the job you ought to work, and the direction you need to go.
And the funny thing is, the more I talk with my peers in the church the more I find that we all share this common desire of desperately wanting to know God’s will for our lives. Usually, as I’ve come to find, this chase for direction is rooted in a restless discontentment or confusion about where we’re at right now.
Before I go any further lets be clear: I am no pastor. I’m not an expert at hermeneutics or systematic theology or some master who’s cracked the code at finding the Lord’s will. I’m just an over-analytical woman who has struggled in this area enough to have had the Lord’s hand gracefully point me back to truth time and time again. So if you’re struggling with where you’re at or grasping at straws trying to determine your next move in following the God’s will for your life, keep reading to learn from some of my mistakes and misguided beliefs I had about God and His plans for our lives.
God won’t let you miss your calling.
God isn’t in the business of creating long mazes riddled with obstacles that prevent us from knowing His will. He doesn’t play games with us nor does he desire to confuse us [1 Corinthians 14:33]. His will for us, like His Gospel, are simple and straightforward. Sometimes we spend so much time over-analyzing and dissecting every aspect of our lives that we miss that familiar whisper [Isaiah 30:21] offering direction when it’s been there all along.
I used to spend so much time worrying that I wasn’t where God wanted me, despite circumstances, scripture, and the wisdom of others telling me otherwise. The problem with thinking this way is that if we’re really fighting to be in the Lord’s will by spending time in His word, being in fellowship, and obeying His commandments, we’re not going to miss our calling. In fact, if we stop to listen, I bet we’ll see we’re already living it out, It just might not be packaged as we thought it would be.
God’s will for your life lies in the intersection of your gifting(s) and your passion(s).
I know so many Christians that automatically assume the Lord’s will for their lives is usually the most difficult path involving more hardship than joy. This couldn’t be further from the truth! While a life following Jesus is destined for struggles and persecution in some capacity, you can know for sure that God has intended us to live this life to the fullest [John 10:10] and a major part of that is using the gifts He’s given you.
Think of a Christian you know that is clearly living out their God-given purpose. You probably see an amazing, spirit-led gifting, one that appears to come easy for them as well as one that brings them immense joy. Sure, there are struggles and obstacles in their day-to-day, but ultimately, doing what they do is not only their passion, but also something they’re naturally good at.
One way to find out what gift(s) you have is simple: ask! I’ve found such clarity in asking those closest to me (and to Jesus) what they perceive to be my spiritual gifts. The funny thing is, they usually are in agreement with one another, which is further confirmation for me. If you genuinely enjoy using that gift, and feel a closeness to the Lord while using it, chances are that’s the direction you ought to run.
Our calling is not confined to location, profession, or timing.
Don’t get caught up in the specifics. The Lord’s will for our lives usually isn’t a straight and narrow path. If it was, then we would be justified in stressing over missing it! But our God is bigger than that. Our calling is malleable to wherever we are in life and can be lived out right now regardless of if we’re young or old, in the U.S. or overseas, or at a college campus or in the workplace. If we’re purposed to be encouragers, we can do it anywhere. If we’re called to be missionaries, there is a mission field virtually anywhere we go and in every season. Focus on the heart of what you’re called to do and live it out where you’re at right now, surrendering the details to the Lord.
Just because it’s uncomfortable or not what you planned, doesn’t mean you need to change course.
When things get uncomfortable, I immediately start planning an escape route. My first reaction to obstacles is to question whether or not I’ve veered off path and I begin looking for an alternative. I assume that whatever path I was on just wasn’t for me. The stars didn’t align, things just didn’t click, or I didn’t feel “at peace”. Friends, if not feeling at peace was any inclination of God’s will, Jesus would’ve never went to the cross. There are times where we need to press in and ride it out in order to see things come full-circle. Yes, God does close doors, and that is a wonderful thing when He does (hello, clarity!)! But shut-doors and intentional road-blocks are often black-and-white and not solely based on our feelings which are unreliable.
Fellowship is an amazing gift that can combat this element of uncertainty. The people in my life running hard after Jesus have been there to speak discernment and truth to me in my unsteady, wavering moments, providing encouragement and biblical truth. If you’re wanting to flee and run to presumably safer ground from the path you thought you were supposed to follow, ask those around you for guidance, and if nothing more, prayer. Iron sharpens iron, and godly friends can be an incredible tool in speaking truth to us.