“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“Follow your dreams. Pursue your passion.”
If you’ve attended a graduation ceremony in the past decade, you’ve heard these words. Eager young adults have absorbed these exhortations and pursued a mishmash of adventures, missions, artistry, and lofty goals…not always, however, with success.
When the realities of life arrive, especially the pragmatic requirements like money and employment, youthful souls begin to wonder what went wrong. If dreams and passions are the important things in life, why are some people missing the mark? What happens when hopes and visions are dashed on the rocky trials of day-to-day living?
Obviously, there are no easy answers. The world still needs trained accountants, plumbers, dentists, police officers, nurses, teachers, and farmers, even as some young adults chase after fleeting fame, self-glory, and other self-fulfilling missions. The world still needs women to be godly wives and mothers, and we still need men to be godly husbands and fathers, even as many young adults delay those goals to follow intangible desires.
Perhaps you have a creeping fear that your passion for life’s daring adventures is growing colder. Your vision has grown foggy. You stumble about, looking for direction, or plod along in a chosen rut, disillusioned and resentful. How do you find your way?
Can you start over? Can you still find fulfillment in living? Where do you go now? What should your life look like in the future? Where does your path lead?
Finding the answer begins with shifting our focus—away from ourselves to seeking God’s purpose for our lives. What we once thought was paramount in our own plans now pales as we begin to warm up to His directions. The daily battle changes to daily refreshment as we shift gears to serving Him, honoring Him, glorifying Him, enjoying Him.
So, how do we as Christians find God’s will for our lives?
We have four essential areas for study, discernment, and implementation:
First, read your Bible. Just as God spoke in ancient times to a bunch of misfit people, He still speaks to you and me today. He doesn’t specifically tell you what your life goal should be, such as a career in fashion design or corporate logistics. His truths, though, apply to our daily lives as much as they guided the people who preceded us by 4,000 years.
Persevere in your daily or weekly reading, and you will learn how to align your steps toward godly living. Spend time slowly reading Paul’s entire letter to the Romans, especially Chapters 13 and 14 which include practical ways to act out your Christian faith. In every part of the Bible, God speaks of His love for you and His desire for you to do His will.
Next, actively seek out the wisdom of godly counselors. These are people you respect for their faith, their actions, and their advice: your pastors, seniors in your church, mentors, and Christian family counselors.
Make an appointment with one or more of these influence-leaders in your life to talk about your goals. Weigh their recommendations with what you read in the Bible. Ask them to pray for you and hold you accountable to your plans.
Third, review and analyze the circumstances in your life. Has God placed you in a community where you have a lot of options available to you? Has He given you any financial resources to get extra training, or has He made it possible for you to earn the necessary funding? Has God given you specific talents, skills, and experience?
How can you apply those blessings to advancing God’s kingdom? If you enjoy finances, you’re in a prime position to aid others who are struggling to make a budget. If God has called you to teach in an inner-city school, you’ll find yourself on a “mission field” with divine opportunities to serve Him there. If He opens a door for you to go into real estate sales, God might be leading you toward a career that blesses others with roofs over their heads.
Fourth, pray without ceasing. Even if He does not answer your pleas immediately, He hears you. Jesus said that we are to pray with unrelenting fervor, asking God for wisdom. He has promised to be generous in providing it.
As you pray, listen for His voice—in the Bible, in the advice of godly mentors, in the circumstances He provides, in the peace of prayer. Look for ways that all of these come together in harmony. God has a perfect plan for you and desires for you to succeed in it. Have faith in His goals, His mission, His purpose for your life. He will never fail you, even in the difficult moments.
Jesus Christ—through the work of His Holy Spirit—will lead you toward a richer life, abundantly above what you ever asked or imagined, far greater than any despair you bear now. Trust Him and His plans for you.
O loving and wise God, Your counsel stands forever, the plans of Your heart to all generations. By Your gentle hand upon me, I know that You can make me understand the work of Your plans for me. While Your vision for me may yet be for an appointed time to come, at the end it will be revealed, and it will not lie. You have promised, in Your word, that I can ask You for wisdom—You give to all liberally and without reproach. I also ask for a multitude of wise friends and associates, to help counsel me so that my plans will not go awry. Father, as the circumstances unfold in my life according to Your good purposes for me, help me not get discouraged or read too much into what is happening around me…let me look squarely at You and trust that the events/people/things You have placed in my life are from Your good plans and for Your glory, not mine. When I encounter closed doors, open my eyes to the open doors You offer. Now may You—the God of peace who brought up Jesus from the dead, my great Shepherd through the blood of the everlasting covenant—make me complete in every good work to do Your will, working in me what is well pleasing in Your sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
#theprivilegedlife #lightbournecreative #thankful #thankfultoGod #privilegedchildofGod #privileged #thankyouJesus #gratitude #gratefulheart #abundantlife #Christianprivilege #theprayerlife #prayforUSA #prayforhealing #family #blessed #grateful #celebratelife #givethanks #faithlife #freedominfaith #seekingGodswill #seekknockask #followyourdreams #passionforlife #praywithoutceasing #thywillbedone
© Copyright 2021 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
This blog is excerpted/revised from “A Crocus in the Desert: Devotions, Prayers, and Stories for Women Experiencing Infertility” by Nancy Canestrari Williams. Copyright © 2019 by Lightbourne Creative.