For the longest time, I had this idea of God’s will for my life being like a balancing act on a tightrope. With each step forward, my body teetered back and forth, sweat dripping off my face. I had to focus hard on thinking, saying, and doing the right thing in order to stay up. One small mistake and I would soon find myself spiraling down to the hard ground below. I stressed over what God wanted for my life when really, I couldn’t move anywhere for a crippling fear of misstepping. This idea of God’s will left me paralyzed with fear, not trusting God enough to take any step forward in the case that I missed the mark and fell out of His favor.
I remember being so frustrated when praying for God’s will and hearing nothing in return. I couldn’t figure out why if God had a plan and a purpose for my life, He would choose not to tell me about it. It seemed as though I was being set up to fail. It took me a while to figure out how inaccurate this depiction of God really is. After all, the Bible is full of scripture that says that God wants His people to experience a full and abundant life; a popular verse being Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
This verse depicts God as having a plan to prosper us, a plan that brings hope, directly contrary to the image of a God that sets us up for failure and frustration that I had in my head.
Then I came to the realization that He was in fact speaking to me, just not in the way I had particularly been listening. He may not have been audibly calling to me saying to do this or that, but he was was still pointing me in a direction. For me, Isaiah 64:8 helped change the way in which I looked for God’s direction.
“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” -Isaiah 64:8
This verse calls to the idea that God the Father molded us and shaped us into the people we are, giving us the talents, skills, and passions we possess. Because of this, God’s will can often be found in the gifting and desires that He has made you with. I know it is cheesy, but I often think of the analogy that God doesn’t equip a carpenter with a wrench. He gives him a hammer, so that he can be effective at building. In other words, God has created each of us uniquely equipped to fulfill His desired role to further His kingdom. It is sometimes only a matter of looking within oneself to see God’s handiwork and figure out what that is. Ultimately, His will is for us to live seeking His kingdom. We do this by pursuing the passions and developing the talents He has instilled in us, so that He may be glorified.
Another thought that helped me in considering God’s will is in changing my perspective from self-focused to God-centered. I often found myself asking the question, “God, what is your will for my life?” I earnestly wanted to follow God’s plan, but the focus of my question still centered on me and my life. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the way I was asking God about His will revealed my self-centeredness. It was not until recently when I heard the question phrased differently did I realize what I had been doing. So, if you find yourself in the same place as me, seeking His will, but not having any clue as to what that looks like, I encourage you to try this out. Instead of asking, “God, what is your will for my life?” try asking “God, how does my life fit into your plan?” I learned that doing this changed my perspective in a few ways.
I am a small piece of God’s larger plan.
Seeking God’s will with the focus on God’s larger plan puts into perspective my role in His master redemptive plan outlined in the Bible. Ever since the fall of mankind, God has been at work to redeem us, going so far as to send his perfect and righteous Son as a sacrifice for our sins. This is highlighted in Hebrews 9:15
“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” -Hebrews 9:15
Christ came to die, so that we may receive the promised eternal inheritance. This is His plan. However, it does not end there. God’s method to spread to news about Christ’s sacrifice and our redemption is through the body of Christians. We are a part of His master plan, not just living in a vacuum, working for our own salvation. Part of seeking God’s will is understanding His larger plan and our specific role in carrying it out.
God chooses to use me despite my flaws.
The fact that God chooses to use me never ceases to amaze me. Christ is clear in Matthew 28:19-20 that it is up to us to go make disciples and teach others what it means to follow Christ.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20
We are not God’s plan B. We are his number 1 method to reach the lost and spread the gospel. God, in His sovereignty, could choose to save the lost by any method He sees fit. However, He chooses to include us in His plan, despite our flaws. Sometimes it is hard for me to see why God would want to use someone as broken and flawed as myself. However, it is His perfect plan that He would redeem us and include us in reaching the rest of the world for His glory.
I am not alone in God’s plan.
Just as it’s God’s will that I be redeemed through Christ and included in His plan of reaching the rest of the world, it is the same for all other Christians. Since that is true, we know that we don’t seek out and walk in God’s will alone. We also do so as a community of believers. This means we are called to support, challenge, and disciple each other in working towards God’s larger plan. Galatians 6:2 comments on this:
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” - Galatians 6:2
It is important that we recognize that we do not seek and fulfill God’s will in isolation. Rather, it is our duty to bear each other’s burdens, so that we can push each other to be better representations of Christ to the world of unbelievers.
I hope these thoughts help you out in discerning how your life fits into God’s plan. Remember, we are not walking a tightrope, while God sits by waiting for us to fail. Rather, He desires that we would have an abundant, thriving life, pursuing our God-given passions with a mindset to glorify Him.