I think I found “God’s will for my life”
The following is a guest post written by one of my new favorite bloggers, who goes by perfectnumber. She writes about “Christianity, feminism, China, the world, questions, and hopefully some cute pictures of animals” over at Tell me why the world is weird. To contact the author, leave a comment here or email her directly at email@example.com.
What is God’s will for my life?
For me (and probably many other evangelical Christians) that question brings up images and dreams of the path my life is supposed to take. I’m supposed to go to college- which one? I’m supposed to study something- which major? I’m supposed to marry some person- who? I’m supposed to live in some geographical area- which one? I’m supposed to get a job- which job?
And all of those questions have a certain answer, one right answer, and that list of answers is “God’s will for my life.”
So I find myself praying, asking God where he “wants” me to go. Asking God to help me make the “right” decision. Maybe unsure of what to do. Maybe strongly desiring one particular choice, and begging and begging God for permission.
Maybe worried that I’ll make the “wrong” choice, and then God will abandon me because if I’m not on the correct track he planned for me, he won’t have any idea what to do with me. And it all comes down to my ability to pray and listen to God. If I make a mistake, if I hear God wrong, then I’m screwed.
But I don’t believe that anymore. I don’t believe in a God who micromanages everyone’s life. I believe in a God who gives freedom. I don’t believe in a God who puts us under so much pressure to make the “right” choice. I believe in a God who said, “Do not worry.” I don’t believe in a God who needs everything to work perfectly or he’ll abandon you. I believe in a God who redeems.
So I don’t think “God’s will for my life” is a checklist of very specific places to go and people to meet. I don’t think it’s a series of yes-or-no questions about “is this the right one?” (And maybe this idea of a checklist is too self-focused and American.) Instead, I’ve found “God’s will for my life” in the bible:
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
“Jesus replied: ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'” (Matthew 22:37-40)
“God’s will for my life” is, in general, the same as his will for the entire world. To love others, to set the captives free, to bring the kingdom of God to this earth. And wherever I find myself- with my own desires and abilities- fitting into that wider purpose, that’s where God “wants” me.
Freedom. Not some hidden answer I have to decipher.
Acting on my understanding of God’s character. Not waiting for arbitrary commands.
I spent so much time, after returning from a mission trip to China, begging God to “send me to China!” I’m done with that. I’m done asking God for permission. I’m done believing that moving to another country is so WEIRD that no one is allowed to do it without a personal invitation from God.
I think I’ve found God’s will for my life. It’s “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”