Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Finding God's will and purpose for your life...



People seem to think it's like finding a needle in a haystack,
the cheese at the end of the most confusing maze ever,
like there are lucky few who find it.
"How do I find God's will and purpose for my life?", 
is an all too frequent question as we minister and counsel others.

If I thought that God's will, God's purpose, were that difficult to find,
 I think I'd just throw in the towel and settle for an ordinary life.
Perhaps that's why so many do.
They're convinced that God is far, far above, watching us wander aimlessly through that impossible maze,
wearing a slightly amused smile on His face as we struggle.

May I suggest that God is near, so very near, and He is holding up a big neon sign that says, 
"GO THIS WAY!"
He's putting up obstacles to keep us from walking down the wrong path.
He's got "SLOW DOWN, CONSTRUCTION AHEAD" posted
 when the circumstances aren't ready for you, or you aren't ready for them.
He's clearing out the path ahead of you when He knows the time is right and saying, 
"Now, run!"

May I suggest, without offending you, that the obstacle to finding God's will and purpose, 
might be less about God and more about us.
We want it to be like approaching Disneyland.
We want freeway signs marking the path well ahead of time, 
and then a huge, brightly lit gate announcing that we've arrived.
TA-DAH!  You've done it! 

And then what?
So, you wrote that book that you are sure was God's will...
then what?
You raised your children to love and serve God...
then what?
You mastered that skill, achieved that goal, fulfilled that desire...
then what?

Romans 12 talks about us KNOWING God's good, acceptable and perfect will.
God tells us clearly the heart and mind attitude needed to achieve this.
First, we must make a decision that we are not our own.
Our lives are not ours to spend willy nilly as we see fit.
We must come to a point of decision to give ourselves fully to God.
To lay our lives down as a living sacrifice, is the word picture given in Romans 12:1.

Next, we must choose to not be conformed to the world, but to allow God to transform us.
This happens as we allow God to renew our minds.
This is impossible without the Word of God.
God's Word is the washing agent that the Spirit uses to cleanse our mind 
from wrong ways of thinking, reacting and responding.
How can we know the will of God, God's divine purpose, without the mind of Christ within?

Once we are surrendered and we realize, and live, as if our life is not out own, but His,
once we are on the lifelong journey of renewing the mind,
exchanging our old way of thinking, 
the world's way of thinking,
for His,
well, then, His will becomes good and acceptable and perfect to us.
The thing He planted in our hearts to be and to do, before we were ever born, 
becomes our heart's desire, and begins to unfold before us as we walk daily in His ways.

Let me give you an example in my own life.
I loved Jesus since I was so little I can't remember when I first trusted in Him as Lord and Savior.
I haven't always walked in obedience to Him by any means, 
but I have always wanted to serve Him and have always wanted His will for my life.
As a young girl, on up through high school, here were some of the desires and dreams in my heart. 
I wanted to be a wife and mama.
I wanted to be a teacher.
I wanted to work with special needs kids.
I wanted to be a counselor.
I wanted to be a writer.

Then, I made some decisions in my life that made the first thing on the list come to pass.
I became a wife and mama.
Because of that, I never finished college.
So, it looked to me, like I had messed up most of the rest of the list.
Yet, I always, continually yielded myself to God's will.
I was His to use.
I always, still, continually, seek to allow my mind to be renewed with His truth.
I desire to be conformed to Him and His Kingdom ways, not my own or those of the world.

So, I focused on being the best wife and mama I could be,
of course, falling short much of the time,
but seeking God all along the way.

My husband, who continued to go to college after we were married, eventually became a pastor.
Counseling, of course,  is a huge part of the pastoral ministry.
Together, we have taken a lot of classes and training to be equipped to counsel people,
and counseling is one of the many things I've done a lot of over the years as a pastor's wife.

One day, when all of my own children were in school, I received a phone call from a Christian school wanting to know if I was interested in teaching there under the supervision of a certified teacher.
I taught K-3 grade at that school for a period of time.

When we moved to the Portland area, a friend who worked at one of the public schools called me and asked me if I knew anyone at the church who needed a job.
She said there was an opening at the school for an educational assistant job in the special education department.
I hastily said that I was interested, but was unsure if I had enough college credits for the position.
I was hired, with the condition being that I must pass a qualifications test for the position, 
since I didn't have my degree.
I passed the test, and worked with special needs children for the next several years.

Well, here I am writing away at this blog, and while I'd certainly like to have something published someday, 
I still consider myself a writer.

So, am I saying, skip college, do your own thing, 
and God's will and purpose for you will come to pass anyway?
Emphatically, no!
BUT, what I am saying, is that it's harder to miss, harder to mess up, a God given purpose and dream,
to miss God's will, then you think it is.

If you have made a decision that your life belongs to God,
if you are letting Him transform you and renew your mind,
you will fulfill your God given purpose,
you will find the good and acceptable and perfect will of God for you.
But, it's a journey, my friend.
It's a lifelong journey, not a well-lit destination.

Still following,


15 comments:

  1. such a great post, Elizabeth! Each day I pray that I walk in His will and be the place he wants me to be. It's a succession of many small steps daily, not one huge leap.

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  2. beautiful post and so much truth--

    what I have found for me is this--the more I am yielded to Him and want to live continually in His presence, the happier I am and the more fruit the Holy Spirit exhibits in my life--and yes, it is a journey--

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  3. This is awesome, Elizabeth. Following God's purpose within us and sticking with it might be a harder road, but well worth it!

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  4. I agree 100% with everything you wrote. :) I believe the reason Christians don't know God's will is that they don't read God's Word. They would rather read a "devotional" or listen to a sermon, read a book, but not read The Book. I know this because I used to be that Christian. Reading God's Word transformed my life...exactly what It is supposed to do!! :) A good book I read a few years ago that I really found helpful was "Team Ministry: How to Find Meaning and Fulfillment through Understanding the Spiritual Gifts within You" by Larry Gilbert. He wrote seven things that were God's will written in the Bible (saved, surrendered, suffering, serving...can't remember the others right now) and if we are fulfilling these, then the will for your life is whatever you desire. If our hearts are totally surrendered then we won't desire things outside of God's will. Anyway, didn't mean to write a "book." ;) Great post and your example was just like the book I spoke of!! :)

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  5. I agree completely Elizabeth and have found the same kinds of things happening in my own life! Thanks for the encouragement this morning...big hug xox

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  6. I love your advice, Elizabeth! We do tend to make finding "God's will" into a huge confirmation test of 20 correct steps, etc.

    "BUT, what I am saying, is that it's harder to miss, harder to mess up, a God given purpose and dream,
    to miss God's will, then you think it is."
    You preach it, sister. Good stuff here!

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  7. Excellent!! Just what I needed to hear. You say thing so well and this really helped me in my walk with God. Love your blog. You put things in a way that really make me think and see things in a different light.

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  8. What a wonderful post, Elizabeth! Trying to find God's purpose for my life is something I've really struggled with...I love your perspective and words of encouragement.

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  9. I love this post--woven together so beautifully, just like He weaves our lives together!!

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  10. Well said! He leads when we pay attention - and listen for that still, small voice!
    ~Adrienne~

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  11. Wonderful... I like to get to know you more and this was a more 'personal' kind of writing.

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  12. this is beautiful! following is not always easy for me, a born leader and a backseat driver. this is a reminder to listen and follow.

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    Replies
    1. We all need that reminder often, don't we?

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