How to Know God’s Will

When I was just a little shaver, time and time again my mother would pull me aside and tell me, “You are special, and God has something special He wants you to do with your life.” I grew up believing this, wondering what that special thing was that God wanted me to do.

I went through college, years as managing editor of a weekly newspaper, in hospital public relations, and then to graduate school and finally hired as a book editor. This, I thought, was perhaps the special thing that I was to do. My kids were growing up and I got involved with them at church, taking the lead with their earliteen Sabbath school. I wanted them to know that church didn’t have to be boring, that God wanted them to enjoy the time they spent with him. I caused controversy in our church, but I also got kids so excited about church that they dragged their parents out of bed and made sure they weren’t late each weekend.

Then I spent two years researching, launching and editing a new national magazine, ParentTalk. My partners and I poured blood, sweat, and tears into the project. This, I believed, was THE special thing God wanted me to do. It was touching many people’s lives, and was so much a part of what I believed. When we ran for it for a year and didn’t meet our subscription quota, the publishing house pulled the plug. I was given the job of telling writers, advertisers and subscribers the bad news that ParentTalk was no more.

I didn’t understand. I had poured everything I was into this project. I prayed continually to God. If that wasn’t the special thing He wanted me to do, then what was? One day while I was driving alone, I got the message as if an audible voice were telling me. “It’s not what you do; it’s who you are.”

I didn’t understand the message for a long time, but I took comfort in the fact that God wasn’t through with me. My first conclusion was that there was life after THE ONE THING. Just as a writer has another book and another to write after his best seller, God never had just one thing He wanted us to do. There are many things God wants us to do.

As time has gone on, however, my attitude has changed even more. I have many friends who pray and pray over decisions, concerned that they will make the wrong decision. They worry that they will decide the wrong thing and be doing something opposite of God’s will. It’s refreshing to realize that in many cases, God can use us regardless of what we decide. Should I choose Job A or Job B? Can God use you in either case? Probably so. More than anything, we need to consider our motivations. Why do we want Job B?

As I get older, I am coming to the conclusion that regardless of what job I choose, it’s who I am while I am in that job that’s important. It’s not what you do, it’s who you are. God wants us to bloom regardless of where we are planted. If you are unemployed, you can serve God just as well as if you received a six-figure salary job. God has a plan for each of us, that’s true. But He wants us to flourish, be happy, and show the world that being a Christian is all about loving God and loving your fellow man.

The hard part is accepting that wherever you are in life, that’s where God wants you–for now. If you accept his will, then when changes come up, you’ll know that He has something better in store for you.

2 thoughts on “How to Know God’s Will

  1. Nice piece Glen. Exactly what I have been dealing with in my life this week. Your words have helped.

  2. I think of what God wants for my life in a series of Story arcs. There is the main arc, from birth until death with the ultimate goal of salvation, but inside that are many subarcs. I believe you are right, God will use us wherever we end up. I also know that God does specifically tell us to do or not to do things from time to time. I’ve been in the situation of knowing that whatever direction I take, God will use me. However, I’ve also been in situations where God is telling me I need to do this and that, for reasons sometimes I am unsure about…until after.

    The wonderful thing about God is he is a God of the individual – he treats each one of us in a way that is unique to our life situation. I love that our walk with God is about the Journey and not the destination. I think if we are not growing as Christians, we need to take a look at ourselves and ask why.

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