by Sabrina Schlesinger
Would you believe me if I told you I “heard” from God on four different occasions to marry four different guys in my 20’s? I wish I was joking.
I grew up hearing the daunting task of being in the perfect will of God. Which, if I’m honest, put more fear in me than peace wondering if every decision I was making was the wrong one. Was I totally derailing my future and all that tied to it by not moving there, not marrying him, not taking that job? You get the picture. One wrong move and it all comes crumbling down.
And I wanted God’s will. I genuinely had (and still do) a heart to follow Jesus anywhere and everywhere. My life has been set apart to be a Christ follower since I was 12 years old. I have never looked back, nor wanted to. And like you, I have not lived a blameless life, but I certainly have lived a life that has desired to please God, follow His ways and Word, and to be in His will. But the perfect will? What the heck does that mean, anyways?
I have good news…God wants His will to be found! He is not hiding it like a needle in a haystack and making discovering it impossible. And I have more good news, I am going to share with you exactly how to know if you are in God’s will. But before we do, we need to be on the same page about what the will of God actually means.
First, we have the sovereign will of God. Simply put, this is what God is doing on the earth. With or without us, God’s sovereign will, will be accomplished. He is determined to do so and has already decreed it.
Second, we have the moral will of God. This is what God has already said in His Word. He has defined and made some things crystal clear. We don’t have to wonder on some issues because He already stated it in His written Word. And it is important to note, God will never contradict Himself. So, for example, if we are getting a “word” from God to leave our spouse for another person, you and I can be confident that is 100% NOT the will of God, because His Word clearly states this is sin.
And finally, we have the personal will of God. Here is where we discover what God desires specifically for our life. For instance, do I move to this city? Do I marry or date this person? Do I go to this college? Should I leave my church? God has thoughts, opinions, and wisdom to offer us on the “biggies” that have such huge ramifications.
The more we get to know the sovereign and the moral will of God, the better we will discern the personal will of God.
When my kids were little toddlers, my husband and I loved playing hide-and-seek with them. They would hide every time in the same exact space, with toes sticking out from under the curtains. And we would pretend to have a hard time finding them. Then it was our turn. We would have them count in the bathroom as high as they could go and scramble as fast as we could to a hiding place. And the search would begin. I consider myself a master hider in the game of hide-and-seek. I once played with a group of young adults who finally gave up finding me while I silently watched them from a cross beam I had scaled. I didn’t say I was safe, but I was a really great hider! But when it came to my kids, I wanted to be found. After about 30 seconds of hiding, my husband and I would start making little chirping noises that gave our hiding spot away. We made noises on purpose so our kids could find us. And God, our Father, is the exact same way.
Discovering God’s personal will isn’t like walking a tightrope… if you fall off of it, your life is over! He wants to be found. I like to imagine it more like a big soccer field. On either end are two goals with a wide-open space in between. Are there boundaries? Yes. The sovereign and moral will of God. But there is plenty of room to run, maneuver, and play the game. With all the big decisions in life, I have found it helpful to ask three important questions. These help me determine if I am making the best “God decision” for my life.
If you want to know what God wants, you’ve got to get close to Him. I know what my husband loves and what he would think about certain situations because I know him really, really well. I spend time with him. I communicate with him on the daily. Same goes for our relationship with God. It is hard to get a read on His desires for you if you don’t know who He is and His thoughts towards you.
Psalm 37:34-35 (LB) says, “The steps of a good man are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take. If they fall, it isn’t fatal, for the Lord holds them with his hand.”
You ask enough people and you will always find someone who will agree with you. But wise counsel are people who know God, know His Word, and know you.
Proverbs 11:14 (NIV) says, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
God will use wise counsel to confirm what He wants to do in your life. On every major decision my husband and I have made, we have included and invited three to four of our spiritual mentors into the decision-making process. They aren’t hearing from the Lord for us, they are either providing confirmation or giving us a reason to push pause. And because we trust them and know they love us, we have heeded their counsel to see what we could not see. This has saved our bacon so many times.
Safety, protection, and blessings are given to those who choose to be under an umbrella of authority and understand submission.
No matter how crazy it may seem to others, when God is in it, there will always be peace, no matter how difficult it is.
1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV) says, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…”
No peace? It’s a no go. Feeling confused? It’s a sign to push on the breaks. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed with the task before you, even feel disqualified or nervous. But there is a peace that runs so deep and will supersede those fears you may be facing.
Colossians 3:15 (NIV) says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”
As long as our decisions pass through those three filters, I think God is looking at us and asking, “What do you want?” I personally believe He gives us lots of options and encourages us to choose what we desire. Why? Because He is such a good Father. He delights in watching you discover the passions He places inside of you and trying new things. He is for you, not against you. He has good gifts for you. So, enjoy the wide-open space between the field goals. As long as you are within those parameters, you cannot fail!
Sabrina is a mother to three biological girls and one adopted boy. She is a pastor’s wife, certified health coach, author of What Other Moms Never Told Me, and founder of Mom Mentor. Along with her husband, Matthew, they pastor Grace Church in Oceanside, CA and host two podcasts, Parenting on the Go and Marriage on the Go. She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines almost every day. She prefers reading books over watching tv, shopping over hiking, and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!