I’m on a group message with all of my best friends. These girls are incredible. I often say that these are the girls I grew up with. I don’t mean we all wore smocked dresses and bows in preschool together, I mean we all started seriously following Jesus around the same time in college—we grew up spiritually together. They are the strongest, bravest, most encouraging people I know. They have allowed me front row access into their lives, they have challenged and encouraged me, and they have shown me the power of community. I can confidently say I know Jesus better because of their friendships.
We have a tendency to blow up each other’s phones. My friend Dendy was late to the text train one morning and sent us all the text, “Woke up to 42 messages! You are chatters and I LURRRRRRV IT!” We clearly don’t mess around when it comes to staying connected with one another. We share as best we can from afar, and it never ceases to be incredibly encouraging to see my dear friends following Jesus in their own unique and beautiful ways.
As we are entering our mid-twenties and post-college realities are hitting us, many of us are asking hard questions, wrestling with our faith, and desperately desiring to follow God’s will. For the first time in our lives, we are faced with decisions with no clear-cut path to take. We have options, and because we are “on our own” so to speak, we are left with the freedom to choose. Discerning where, when, how and what the Lord has for us is tricky when there is not a clear right or wrong.
One of my friends is processing whether to stay at her current job or to take a new position that will move her across the country. As she pointedly shared, “When you are facing two good options, knowing that God can work in all circumstances, what do you choose?” I can only speak for myself, but this newfound freedom of calling the shots and making decisions can feel terrifying! Based on the many conversations I’ve had with my friends, I know I’m not alone in this feeling.
So how do we walk in God’s will when there is more than one good path to take?
I don’t pretend to be an expert in this arena, in fact, I am just as curious as to what God’s will means for my life. I’m still learning so much, but when the path to following Jesus isn’t clear and when all of the options seem good, I’ve begun to ask myself some crucial questions.
Am I walking by faith or in fear?
For we live by faith, not by sight—we are of good courage.
2 Corinthians 5:7-8
Faith is powerful. Fear is also powerful. I know that self-centered fear isn’t from God, and I know that faith is. So I often ask myself, am I making this decision from a place of fear or a place of faith? Call me a control freak, but I love having my i’s dotted, and t’s crossed. Unfortunately, life does not provide me with the luxury of knowing what the future may or may not hold. Grasping at a choice because I am afraid of the unknown, the cost, and the risks involved are all red flags for making decisions out of fear. I can’t see the future, but I must remind myself that my future is in the hands of the One who says He will “never leave me nor forsake me.” (Deut. 31:6)
Do I trust the desires of my heart?
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
I am unaware of when a nasty lie took root in my life that told me the desires of my heart were not good and untrustworthy, but it took root nonetheless. Unfortunately, this is a common struggle among Christian women that it is somehow unspiritual to go after the desires of our heart. As I’ve grown in my relationship with the Lord, I’ve become more confident that my desires are from God’s hand, and they are good. So I ask myself what am I passionate about? What brings me joy? What makes me feel alive? When I make decisions, I want to make sure that those passions and desires align with whatever decision I make.
Am I inviting others into the process?
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
I have a handful of people in my life that deeply know me. They know me past the friendly, I have it all together façade I can often wear. They see my heart in ways most don’t. I’ve revealed secrets I’ve kept long hidden, and I’ve shed tears with them, which I don’t often do. These are the people I go to for trusted counsel. More often than not, they see things in ways I can’t, and point out perspectives I haven’t considered. When faced with a decision these people are quick to encourage me to take risks, walk in faith, and give me godly input. Without inviting in counsel, I’m left rearranging my own thoughts by not receiving the wisdom from those who know me best.
Am I spending time in God’s word?
You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I saved the most important for last. If I want to follow God’s will, isn’t it imperative that I spend time with God Himself? Scripture is dripping with promises of God’s faithfulness to lead us. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” I cling to these promises when I don’t know what to do because Scripture tells me that God honors an obedient heart. I love to look through old journals and see how God’s word directed my every step. My journals are testaments of God’s faithfulness to see me through the confusing and chaotic times and that fact spurs me on to remain steadfast in His word.
I share these questions to encourage you to continue to step out in faith and not shy away from the messiness that comes with discerning God’s will. I ask myself these questions when I need the reminder that Jesus has me and even in the midst of not always having clarity, He is unchanging, and He can be trusted.
And lastly, I hope that each person reading this has a group of friends who rally around you and spur you on to run your race well. I leave you with this powerful reminder from Joshua, sent from one of my best friends to our endearingly named “Hottie” group…He is with you wherever you go.
Blake Snyder, RGM Outreach Coordinator