Published on October 30th, 2012 | by Deborah McVicar0
How do I know what God wants me to do?
“Help! I’m a senior in college fretting about the remaining seven months before graduation. All of my friends seem secure in post-college plans but I feel alone in trying to discern God’s will for my life. How do you know what He wants you to do? Do you think my passions are included in God’s plan?” Hannah Boeke, 21, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Discerning God’s will for your life can seem very overwhelming, especially when everyone around you seems to have it together while you feel lost, wondering what on earth to do. I know—I’ve been there! What’s great about God is that He is a close and personal God, He cares very deeply about the details of your life and what’s important to you.
You mention that you’re fretting about what to do, so my first piece of advice can be found in Philippians 4:16. According to this verse, there are three things you can do: stop worrying, be thankful, and let God know what you need. He will give you an answer and He will never tell you to do anything that is in opposition to the Bible.
The book of Proverbs tells us that plans fail without advice, but they succeed with a multitude of counselors. Talk to people you respect, who have shown they have wisdom and who you can trust. These may be your parents, friends, teachers, or leaders. Ask for their advice and for their prayers!
The things you are passionate about often tie into your gifts and talents. What are you good at? What is your personality like? The more you learn about yourself, who God made you to be and what He’s made you good at, the clearer sense you’ll have of what the “next steps” should be.
It can be really easy to get stuck in a place where we fear making the wrong decision and so we don’t make any decision at all. Sometimes all God requires us to do is to make a choice. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that we make our plans but God will direct our steps. I’ll give you an example from my own life.
I moved from England to Canada; I had studied and I was working a great job but I knew if I wanted to stay in Canada, like I believed God wanted me to, I had to change jobs in order to meet the requirements of Immigration in Canada so that I could apply for what’s known as permanent residence (a green card). So I handed out my resume to as many places as possible. I didn’t get a single call back. You can imagine how discouraged I was until out of the blue, a friend of a friend was looking for someone to work in their office. I still work at that office today.
The way God talks to us isn’t necessarily going to be a great big sign in the sky or an audible voice. It’s usually in the still, small voice. The voice that nudges us in a certain direction or the feeling in the pit of our stomach that says something is a bad idea. Coupled with some good advice from people we respect and using the Bible as our standard, we are sure to end up exactly where God wants us.
Be open to the fact that what you end up with may not be what you planned on. God knows better than us what we need and what’s going to make us the most effective. I can tell you numerous stories where my plans fell apart and I became discouraged only to find out that God’s plan was much better than mine!
I wish you every success Hannah and I am praying that God gives you direction!