“How do I know what God wants me to do?”
I asked this question recently while having coffee with a friend. In a season when I needed to make several decisions, I felt stuck at a crossroads, unsure of how to move forward. I explained to my friend that I’d been taught to think of God’s will as a tightrope. There was one clear, very specific answer for everything. “That sounds like a lot of pressure,” she said, “and I don’t think that’s how it works.”
I had a nagging sense in my soul that she was right. So I went looking in Scripture for how we’re to determine God’s will. I discovered very few times when God told people exactly what to do, as He did with Moses parting the Red Sea. Most of the time He simply wanted people to have an intimate, lifelong relationship with Him.
I wonder if King David anticipated the generations after him asking, “How do I know what God wants me to do?” Psalm 37, written by David, is a Hebrew acrostic poem. Each stanza begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, a method used to make written words easier to remember. In verses 4-5, he writes, Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.
On the surface, this can sound like “delight in God and He’ll do what you want.” But the opposite is true. When we delight in God, our hearts are in sync with what He wants.
Every morning I pray, “God, align my mind with Yours. Align my heart with Yours. Align my eyes, ears, mouth, hands, and feet with Yours.” When I shared this with my friend, she said, “Then you can trust that what you choose to do will align with what God wants.” Of course I objected, saying, “But what if it’s not?” Then I remembered that Romans 8:28 says, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” God can redirect me and even redeem my mistakes as needed.
I thought the root of my indecisiveness was spiritual, but it was really my anxiety. I thought if I could figure out exactly what God wanted me to do, then I couldn’t possibly fail. I wouldn’t get hurt, experience rejection, or have regrets. So I put off making decisions or moving forward.
Yes, God gives us boundaries through clear commands in His Word (no murdering anyone today), and we’re encouraged to get godly advice. But God’s will isn’t a tightrope; it’s an invitation to walk with Someone we love for a lifetime.
I’m adding a new line to my prayer each morning: “God, give me the courage to trust myself today because I trust in You.” I want more holy risking and less anxious retreating, more mistakes that help me learn and less missed opportunities, more pushing forward and less being paralyzed by fear. When it’s my turn to write “once I was young, now I am old,” as David does in Psalm 37, I want to have stories worth passing on and hard-won wisdom to share. I have a feeling you do too.
MORE FOR YOU
Prayer: Dear God, align my mind with Yours. Align my heart with Yours. Align my eyes, ears, mouth, hands, and feet with Yours. Give me the courage to trust myself today because I trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Reflect: What piece of advice would you give someone else based on what God has taught you?
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