“What if I choose the wrong college? What if I choose the wrong major? Or I end up with the wrong guy? What if I miss God’s will for my life?”
These are questions I asked my dad as a senior in high school and truthfully, I still ask a version of these questions thirteen years later – sometimes still to my dad! I often wonder what God’s will is for my life. But it seems to be more evident when faced with choices that could significantly change the trajectory of my life now, my family’s life or my future life.
I would venture to say this is something every believer has thought about when faced with a decision that seemed too big, too much, or too consequential for the wrong path to be chosen. I truly believe that most people do not want to “get it wrong”.
For you it might be which school your children should go to, which job to take, whether or not you should move. Discerning these decisions can take its toll. We just want to know what God wants us to do in one big flashing neon sign! Sadly, that doesn’t usually happen – although, it would be amazing!
So how can we know God’s will for us?
Throughout Scripture, there are two types of “God’s will” mentioned. One is referring to God’s sovereign will; meaning it will play out no matter what because He has decreed it to take place. The other mention of “God’s will” in the Bible refers to His will for our lives as individuals in which we get to choose whether or not we participate.
Both types are important to study but from personal experience, it seems easier to release control and trust God’s sovereignty over the situations that are beyond me. It proves to be more difficult to know God’s will for my life on a daily basis. Anyone else?
There is not exact formula on how to reach the answer. Each person is unique. Each situation is different. Each decision is individual.
However, I have found that these points have helped me discern God’s will for my life.
- Get into God’s presence.
In the midst of the crazy schedule, sometimes I need a reminder that God wants to walk this out withHim, not simply forHim. The first verse I think of when seeking the will of God is Romans 12:1: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
When sacrifices were made in the Old Testament, the Israelites would have to go into the tabernacle or the Temple of God. This represented God’s place of presence to the people. Here, Paul is telling us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, in view of all that God has already done for us, to do anything He is asking of us! When we offer ourselves not only for a moment in the morning but walk with Him throughout the day, we begin to hear His voice and see our choices with a heavenly point of view.
Being in His presence will give us His perspective.
- Seek truth and clarity.
Romans 12:2 goes on to declare, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Renewing your mind is required when we are asking God which road to take. Discernment is essential when making plans and deciphering God’s best for your life. God’s Word reveals His character and His decrees. Knowing who God is and what He says on matters can bring revelation into our lives for our situations even if it is not a direct answer.
Then, ask God to clarify your ‘why’. The Truth is light and that light, if we allow it, will shine on our motives.
Are we doing it because it is God’s best or are we doing it because it looks best?
- Look for confirmation.
Begin to look for God to give confirmation in your daily life. It could be through a text from a friend you “randomly” receive or a song that comes on the radio at just the right time. James 1:5 tells us to ask for wisdom and God will give it generously! I often ask for specific signs (like Gideon in Judges 6) but mostly I ask that the Lord shut the doors that He does not want open.
Not all open doors mean ‘yes’ but most closed doors mean ‘no’ or ‘not right now’.
- Stay vigilant.
Once you choose that path, stay vigilant as you walk forward in that decision. Not too long ago, I ended up saying ‘yes’ to something that was not God’s best for me. As I began walk in that ‘yes’, I was consistently joyless, anxiety-ridden and drained when I had to work on it. Not all paths are easy but in God’s will you will find peace, and I truly never had it. I said ‘yes’ when I was still unsettled.
Sometimes we have to make decisions that seem like the right thing to do because we did not get a clear answer. But rest assured, the Holy Spirit will guide you in His ways even after the decision is made. If needed, He will course-correct when your heart is set on Him.
God’s will might not be the easy path but you will have rest for your soul.
- Give yourself grace.
Sometimes you will be off by a little. Sometimes, by a lot. But my guess is, if you are spending time with Him, He will guide you exactly where you need to be. Give yourself grace for your race. Jesus has all of the grace you need (2 Corinthians 12:11), so receive it, get back up and keep marching forward!
About those questions I asked my dad, I chose my school based on my then-boyfriend then broke up 3 months later, changed my major four times, dated a few of the wrong guys and ran from God and my calling for years. But in God’s great kindness and love, when I gave my life back over to Jesus, He redeemed the time, forgave my past, and set me back on the course He purposed for me all along.
God is not a God sitting up in heaven just waiting for you to make a right or wrong choice.
He is the God who is by your side as you choose which step to take.
He is the God of Truth and revelation.
He is the God who loves you, redeemed you and purposed you.
No matter the decision in front of you, His presence will give perspective. His word will always reveal truth. He will give all the wisdom you need. So, stay vigilant and give yourself some grace!
God has purposed you on purpose for a purpose. In His presence you will know the path of life and the abundance of joy.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”
Ali is a speaker, preacher, writer, founder of Arise PHX – a monthly event for women of all ages, churches + backgrounds to gather as one Church – and an avid adventurist. Her passion is to see people live fully into the gifts & graces God created them with to serve the church and the world!”