Let’s say you find yourself thinking about different choices in front of you.
You are asking God to just tell you what to do, so you don’t have to worry about it and can move forward.
Your mind begins racing: what should you choose? How will you choose?
You begin to panic: what will happen if you make the wrong choice? How can you stop overthinking this?
Suddenly, you glance up and see, written plainly in the clouds, God’s will for your life: “Marry this person.” “Go to this school.” “Pursue this career path.”
But, wait. Unfortunately, this isn’t how God works, right? Wouldn’t it be great if it were that easy, though. We all want direction for what God wants for each of our lives. It’s normal to desire a sign, a symbol, or even just some clarity.
I have some good news. You can be free from the search.
However, when we begin searching for a sign of God’s will instead of God Himself, we run into problems. When the sign or answer that we desire becomes our hope, we can find ourselves trapped in cycles of stress or anxiety when we can’t grasp it.
If this is you, I have some good news. You can be free from the search. The Bible clearly tells us how each of us can find God’s will, inviting us into a life of obedience and faith rather than the certainty we seek.
If you want to know the will of God, you need to pursue the will of God found in His Word.
Let’s start with what Scripture tells us:
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 4:3
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality.
1 Peter 2:15
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
When you are free from searching for a particular answer from God, you will be able to seek God’s guidance without the anxiety of making the wrong choice, because, well, there is no wrong choice.
Instead, here are three steps to consider as you continue to pursue His design for your life outlined in Scripture:
1) Ask yourself, what do you love to do?
God has uniquely gifted you with passions and talents: what do you love to do? Your life is most glorifying to Him when you are living out of who He created you to be: not when you are trying to be someone else.
If we are pursuing God’s will outlined in Scripture, we will find ourselves choosing between good things. We are free to pursue choices that we desire as we pursue God’s heart and His desires for us.
However, there is a shadow side to this. We can find ourselves consumed with the fear of not making the “best” choice: the most life-giving or the most rewarding or the most fun. We fear we will choose wrong and then be stuck with our choice.
The reality is, this is a skewed view of God’s character. This obsession with making the “right” choice stems from a place of expecting what we choose to fulfill us, rather than trusting God for our ultimate satisfaction.
As we trust God to provide, we realize we are free to make decisions that align with the passions He instills within ours.
2) Try things.
Many feel the pressure to seek certainty in God’s will for their career because they believe they will be locked into that choice, destined to spend the rest of their life doing this job. Again, there is no correct answer: you are free to try different things, learning and discovering what you want to pursue.
As you question, consider that this is pretty difficult to plan because you don’t know what God will do with your life. In an episode of The Gospel Coalition’s podcast, Bethany Jenkins, Vice President of Forums at The Veritas Forum, reminds us that there is no dream job. The search for what you will do for the rest of your life is the wrong question theologically: you do not know what God has planned for you, so how can you plan for the rest of your life?
God cares more about your character than what you do for Him. You will never know what you like or don’t like if you don’t give it a try.
3) Give yourself wholly to something.
Choosing Christ means choosing faithfulness to Him and the people and places to which He calls us. Feelings will change. It is challenging to stick things out. Unfortunately, we sometimes find ourselves doing things that are more challenging or aren’t as glamorous as we expected: things we do not enjoy.
However, at the end of the day, God grows our skills, passions and desires. As we grow in our skill and ability in something, our passion for it likewise grows. Bethany Jenkins says, “What does faithfulness look like to the Christian? Deep work for the Lord. Competence, control and autonomy. Skills trump passion in the quest for work you love.”
Today, step away from cycles of worry and overthinking, away from the pressure to make the “right” choice. You are free to love God and pursue His will for your life shown in Scripture: to embrace the freedom He is inviting you into and believing it is true.
The reality is that God cares more about who you are (your heart) than what you are doing. If you choose Him, then there is no wrong choice.
Leandro Lozada is from Puebla, Mexico and is the Program Director at Love Thy Neighborhood. He is a graduate of Southern Seminary with an emphasis in Christian Ministry.