A little girl asked me this question when I was counseling at a week-long summer camp for elementary-age girls. It was towards the end of the week, and during the worship service, all the girls were closing their eyes while seated. The counselors were lined up along the walls, including myself. The worship leader said that if the girls had anything that God had put on their hearts or anything they wanted prayer for, they should stand up and go see a counselor.
To my surprise and delight, a little girl stood and made her way towards me. “Would you mind if we go somewhere a bit more private?”
I lead her outside, and that was when she asked me this question. She wanted to be a missionary to Mexico, but she also wanted to make sure that was God’s will for her. She asked me how she could find out.
Wow. Just wow. She was so young, but her question showed so much spiritual maturity.
I took a deep breath. How on earth was I going to answer this question? After all, it was one me and many others had struggled with.
Today’s blog post is about my answer. I’m posting in hopes that maybe you’ll find some helpful answers in here—even if it’s just a reminder of what God has already told you.
- Quiet Time
Proverbs says to give God the first fruits of your labor. Though I’m probably taking it out of context, I like my very first labor of the day to be dedicated to God. I begin my mornings with reading a few verses of the bible and taking notes on them.
Soon after that, I have my quiet time. I’ve posted about quiet time before on Rayleigh Gray’s Accelerate the Jesus Movement blog. Different people use this time for different things. Some use it for meditation on scripture, dwelling on biblical concepts, clearing their mind, etc.
My main goals for quiet time can be summed up as: be still, acknowledge God, and listen to Him. I try to just spend time focusing on His presence. While prayer is important, so is listening. Though… to be honest, I often don’t hear anything.
But that’s okay. I told the little girl that by taking time to just acknowledge Him, I believe I’m closer to Him during the rest of the day, that I’m more in tune with His desires and perspective for having dedicated time just to enjoying His presence.
This said… I’m so terrible at quiet time. It’s for a mere five minutes, and it’s a miracle if I focus on God for two. I often add another minute at the end, just to try and focus better. Though it’s not much time, I know that God can use whatever I give him, no matter how small and pitiful. 🙂
- Psalm 37:4
“Delight yourself also in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
My dad, being the wise man that he is, realized that this could be taken two ways.
- God will give you whatever your heart desires.
- God will literally give you the desires of your heart—as in your heart will desire what He desires.
Honestly, I like the second version. As I grow older, I pray less and less for what I want. For example, instead of praying: “God, please help my friend to stop hanging out with this guy. And knock some sense into her, will you?” I pray: “God, please bless their relationship (and I leave the definition of “bless” up to God. Trust me, His version isn’t always the same as ours.) and help them to follow Your will.”
And I not only pray less for what I want—I want less of what I want, because I don’t really even know how to get what I want. I just know that God’s plan is perfect, even if I don’t see that at the time.
As you grow closer to God, the things the He’ll love, you’ll love. The things that He hates, you’ll hate. And what He desires for you, you’ll desire for yourself. So as your relationship with God strengthens, trust the desires of your heart. God will use them to guide you.
- Seek Advice
This was something the little girl I was speaking with exemplified, because that was exactly what she was doing. And if you’re reading this, then this is something you’ve doing as well.
Have others pray for you and listen to their guidance. It helps to have another spiritually mature individual seeking God’s will for you.
Now, a footnote on this: don’t always go by what people say. In the end, what matters is your relationship with God and how much you trust your relationship with Him. If you know that you know that you know that God has asked something of you, don’t hesitate to do it.
And a sub-footnote: Though my family members and best friends have sometimes questioned or become suspicious when I’m making a decision and “seeking God,” my closest spiritual mentors have always supported me, even if it seems like I’m doing something illogical and crazy. If you can’t find a spiritually-mature mentor who agrees with your decision/decision-making process, maybe you should ask God for a miraculous sign or something. Or else you can just follow your mentor’s advice.
No matter what, do not, do not slap the label of “God’s Will” onto something that you desire. Know yourself—and God—well enough to know the difference. Though your desires will start to become similar to His, we all have times when we want something different from what He does.
- Dream Big
Here’s one final tip that I wish I’d told her. Make sure your dreams are bigger than you are. If you can accomplish your dreams in your own power, then there’s a problem. Even though I do have big plans, God always surprises me when He reveals that His plans are bigger still. Not only do big dreams mean big impact, but they also bring you closer to God. When you’re walking on water, you have to focus on God much more intently than if you remain in the boat.
So don’t fear big dreams or big waters. Embrace them.
What does God want you to do with your life?