Knowing God's will for our life can sometimes be a challenge. Since He typically does not speak in an audible voice, we often feel as if we cannot adequately decipher what it is He is asking us to do.
So, how do we know what God's will is for our lives? I'm glad you asked!
Around 1999, I was sitting in church on a Sunday morning. I couldn't tell you what was being taught, but I do know that at the end of the service, I literally sensed a hand on my back pushing me to the front where the preacher was standing.
"Hi. I'm not sure why I'm here, but I believe God is calling me to do something big for Him."
After making that awkward statement to the pastor, he prayed with me and church was dismissed. There were no flashing lights or claps of thunder. No visions of angels or handwriting on the wall, and honestly, over the next several years, life was pretty ordinary, though occasionally God would give me dreams which I recognized as more than just bad pizza.
As an example, one dream or vision I had was of many books with all different types of covers. They were coming into view like a spiral staircase, one-by-one being laid down. I somehow understood that I would be the one to write all these books, but that was all the information I was given. Nothing more and nothing less.
There were others...dreams of a large kettle of souls with me doing the stirring; dreams of walking through a tunnel for three years then suddenly coming to an end and a light being lit, etc.
To you, these may not mean a thing, but the dreams in combination with a confirming word I might receive through reading scripture, or through events such as having a complete stranger in a Walmart in Florida, say he was in awe at what God was going to do with my life, then pray over me, to so many other "God-winks" that I just knew part of my calling was to be a writer.
Over the years, I have witnessed that calling become reality as I have self-published over eleven books and just this week receive a contract from a book publisher for another.
Steps to Discerning God's Will
Okay, okay, but how? How does it all work? How does one know what God is calling a person to do?
The first step is to pray. Pray, pray, pray!!! Deciphering God's will for your life can only be understood through getting to know Him. I have spent countless hours over the years seeking Him out, telling Him my fears and desires, and listening for that still, small voice to guide me in the way I should go.
The second step is to live life with your eyes wide open and ears attentive. God will often speak through others, through experiences, through music, etc. I probably over-analyze things, but every experience and every out-of-the-ordinary thing people say, are often what I tune into. God may be using those things to speak to me.
The third step is to immerse yourself with scripture. God's Word guides us, warns us, comforts and moves us. It is alive and active, therefore, we should spend time searching scripture and asking God to somehow reveal His will to us.
The fourth step is to seek wise counsel. I have certain individuals in my life--some older, who have had more life experiences than I have had, so I feel confident in sharing what I sense God calling me to do, and ask for their feedback. Often, others can see something in you or your situation you cannot see yourself. It is good to at least listen to what these godly friends have to say.
The fifth (and most difficult) step is to wait. God rarely moves quickly. It has literally taken me a period of about 30 years to see some of His promises to me be fulfilled. There have been things I needed to learn. Places I needed to mature in. Experiences I was required to walk through first. Waiting is hard...maddening at times, but in the end, God's timing is always perfect.
Well, friend, of course this is not an exhaustive list. God deals with each of us so differently, and what He has called me into is totally different than what He is calling you to. Just be ready. Listen. Wait. Pray. Seek. All of these things will help prepare your heart to receive the great responsibility of living out the calling He has for you.