How Do You Know if a Desire or Dream is Really from God?

How do you know if a desire or dream is really from God? These 10 questions will help when making a decision! Read more at

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Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. {Romans 12:2 NIV}

It’s the time of year for dreaming and deciding. 

An idea comes to mind. A longing appears in your heart. A hope finds its way into your conversations. How do you really know if it’s from God?

First of all, that’s a beautiful question to ask. Most people move ahead in their lives without pausing to ask what God wants. And here you are desiring to know—truly know—if this is what He has for you before you take another step. That alone is pleasing to Him.

And I don’t believe He wants to keep us guessing. But He also doesn’t usually tell us outright what we are to do. After all, His highest goal for our journey with Him is an intimate relationship, and ordering us around would make us more like robots than His beloved people. Usually, we discover what He wants us to do as we go.

In Romans 12:2 above, Paul tells us we are to “test and approve” God’s will. In other words, we’ve gotta try stuff. We don’t usually like that approach. It’s scary. We might mess up. We could get it wrong. And yet that is the only way for us to really know God’s will—by experiencing it.

The precursor to that process is to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” {Rom. 12:2}. In other words, to be committed to seeing our lives from God’s perspective. We do that first by being in His Word on a regular basis. Even if it doesn’t have specific instructions for our situations, God can use His Spirit to illuminate what we need to see. The Bible is not a static text but rather is “alive and active” so God can use it to show us what we need for our daily lives.

We can also ask ourselves a series of questions that help us determine whether or not this dream or opportunity is likely to be from God. These are ten questions I’ve found to be helpful when evaluating a decision or dream:

10 Questions to Ask Before Making a Decision

  1. Does this opportunity fit with my strengths?
  2. Does this fit with my skills?
  3. Have my life experiences prepared me for it?
  4. What do the people I trust most say about it?
  5. Do I feel an inner tug or “leading” from God to do it?
  6. Does the opportunity line up with Scripture and what I understand to be God’s purpose for me?
  7. Are there any possible “phantom reasons” that could be tempting me to say yes when God wants me to say no (ex: fear, guilt, a desire to please people)?
  8. If I say yes, what will it mean saying no to?
  9. If I say no, what will it mean saying yes to?
  10. When I look back in ten years, will this be a story I want to share?

This list isn’t complete, of course. But hopefully it provides a starting point for you.

(Side note: one thing that’s not on this list is, “Do I feel scared silly about doing it?” What God asks us to do often does lead to fear in the beginning. When He says “do not fear” in Scripture, it’s most often to someone who is already afraid. If we’re walking the path God has for us, then it seems fear is more often confirmation to continue than a reason to turn back.)

After evaluating and praying, it’s time to “test and approve.” In other words, you move forward with what God has asked you to do to the best of your knowledge. You stay closely connected to Him in the process and as you go, you adjust. If you make a mistake, you learn from it. If you clearly see His hand in something, you do more of it.

God’s will isn’t something we will see in one single moment. It’s more often something we discover along the way. And in doing so, we find more of what our hearts really need—the God who wants to share every bit of the journey with us.


Holley Gerth

p.s. If you need more encouragement and practical tools for a dream or decision, You’re Made for a God-sized Dream and Opening the Door to Your God-Sized Dream can help.


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About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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