Finding God’s will

January 6, 2010 at 8:04 am 1 comment

Has anyone else worked themselves into a tizzy trying to figure out what God’s will is?  For my life, for the college I’m supposed to go to, the major and career I should have, the friends I should make?  Yes?  Good; I’m not alone. 

I don’t know about you, but it sometimes seems like God is playing hide-and-seek with me.  Except, I really can’t compete with the God of the Universe, so it’s a little bit unfair.  Even clinging to verses that tell me to pray for wisdom and understanding, and that in asking we shall receive doesn’t help too much.  I’m still spinning around in a circle, paralyzed to do anything in case it’s all a mistake and that’s actually the wrong choice. 

One little message: Forget about His will for your life!

I know, that sounds awfully heretical.  But I didn’t say it.  Francis Chan does in his book Crazy LoveHere’s how he continues:

“I see it as a misguided way of thinking and talking.  There are very few people in the Scriptures who received their life plan from God in advance (or even their five-year plan, for that matter!) […] think a lot of us need to forget about God’s will for my life.  God cares more about our response to His Spirit’s leading today, in this moment, than about what we intend to do next year. In fact, the decisions we make next year will be profoundly affected by the degree to which we submit to the Spirit right now, in today’s decisions.  It is easy to use the phrase ‘God’s will for my life’ as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience.  It’s much less demanding to think about God’s will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next ten minutes.  It’s safer to commit to following Him someday instead of this day.

“To be honest, I believe part of the desire to ‘know God’s will for my life’ is birthed in fear and results in paralysis.  We are scared to make mistakes, so we fret over figuring out God’s will.  We wonder what living according to His will would actually look and feel like, and we are scared to find out.  We forget that we were never promised a twenty-year plan of action; instead, God promises multiple times in Scripture never to leave us or forsake us.”  (p. 191-193)

I think that means I should stop sitting around and talking about “someday”.  Someday, when God has comfortably confirmed and given me this number of  miraculous signs, I will be living in His will and doing those things.  I think the point is that I should start realizing that I’m not supposed to be living in the eternal “someday”.  I’ve been given today to live, nothing more.  I should be seeking to do His will today.  Yet again – how do we find His will for today?  What about the actual decisions we need to make  – sometimes major – today?   

He does have a plan and purpose for our lives – though as Chan points out, “the key is that He never promises to reveal those purposes all at once, in advance.”  But sometimes I don’t care about a life plan – I just want a little bit in advance.  Maybe through college and after college?  Or maybe I just want wisdom (actually, by “wisdom” I mean can’t-miss-it-skywriting) for right now, today, as I decide things like majors and activities and friends. 

So we actually do have decisions to make, and that writing on the wall – or sky – isn’t showing up.  (Maybe it’s in heavenly, invisible ink).  I’m not saying God doesn’t give us clear guidance to make decisions.  But I think most of us are confused as to what that guidance looks like.  We want a black-and-white yes or no. 

Lydia Brownback puts it wisely: “We want a blueprint for happiness, and we know God has the power to provide it. But God’s primary will for us is not circumstantial happiness, which is why our attempts to harness him for that purpose never quite work. […] Scripture is our blueprint for guidance, for knowing the will of God, and it gives us all we need to map out our lives. We don’t see that, however, because we are looking for steps, not principles. The Bible provides us with guidance principles—what pleases God and what does not, what is wise and what is foolish. It is by following these principles that we live out God’s will in our individual lives.” 

Principles, not steps.  The Bible offers no ten-point plan for “finding” God’s will (no, it’s behind that cloud!), and thus, circumstantial happiness.  Instead, it offers wisdom for the choices we will have to make.  (Yes, we have to make the choices).  God does have plans for us, but that doesn’t mean we have no choice and will robotically fulfill those plans.  Yet I think His plans are less about “Megan will take this job at this time and earn this much money and give this much money to this organization” than they are about soul-shaping.  “I will continually be making Megan into the perfect image of my Son, and I will work everything for her good and My glory.” 

So what are those principles that should govern our next ten minutes, and our next major (or minor) decision?  More on that tomorrow.

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Entry filed under: faith.

When Bigger Isn’t Better overwhelmed

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Becca Anne  |  January 15, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Megan, thank you.

    Thank you for being wise, for being gracious, for being funny and amazing and for sharing all of this with me. I needed to hear this.

    You are such an inspiration to me. And I love reading your posts, because I can just hear your voice in my head and it makes my heart happy 🙂

    Reply

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