How do you know God’s plans?

This coming weekend at Eastbrook, I am speaking about our plans and God’s plans. I am wondering if you could take a few minutes to respond to me about these questions:

When was a time when you really knew you were living God’s plans for you? How did you know?

Or, when was a time when you realized that you were not living God’s plans for you? How did you know?

11 thoughts on “How do you know God’s plans?

  1. Sometimes I feel like I know I am in God’s will because things just go so smoothly! After volunteering to teach lamb’s school on Friday mornings, then God blesses me with the sweetest kids ever and going to spend a morning with 10-15 three-year-olds ends up being a total joy. …and a bunch of fun.

    BUT- there is another side to being in God’s Will and sometimes it is a hard place to be. While having an easy, blessed,fun, wonderful, great time is a great side effect of God’s will in some situations, sometimes challenges are a part of God’s will also and those challenges should not be taken as an indicator that we are not in His will.

    Hope this makes sense and thanks for always pointing us to Christ.

  2. Anne, I appreciate the way that you bring together both of the aspects of God’s will: the joyful side and the challenging side. I think that both sides are present in our life with God. It is easy to say God is in something if it is joyful, but one question I always have is how we know if God is in something if it is challenging. Any thoughts, anyone?

    • To me, that is where faith comes in. If we have sought the Lord for direction and followed Him and His Word when making our plans and then it gets challenging….. that is when we hold on to faith and His promises and believe He is working in us to make us stronger and more like Him. Jesus was in God’s will and look how difficult his life was!

      • Thanks for that, Anne. I do believe that we can be square in the middle of God’s will or plans and experience a tremendous amount of challenge. Otherwise, as you said, how do we make sense of Jesus’ journey to the Cross? A true trust and faith in God is essential for moving forward with God in our lives.

    • I am rather new to this, but The Psalms speak to me. I think Psalm 77 speaks to this question. Even in times of darkness (1-9) we need to keep our eyes set on Him and his incomparable power and consider how great He is (12-13) as a reminder that He knows what He is doing! He is always there, but most of this life you just have to work out for yourself or it wouldn’t be your free will to work toward being who He wants us to be. God, our heavenly father, many times must stand back as a parent, let us decide, and let experience be the teacher. We should welcome these tests, as they help us get to where we need to be (Psalm 139: 23-24). He will let us struggle, but if we put our trust in Him, are faithful, and pure of heart, He will protect us as we work through our experiences. We are his beloved children; the rest of Psalm 139 is a beautiful and comforting testament to that.

  3. When I was about to graduate from college and didn’t know where I would go, what I would do. There was an international student weekend, a chapel message before that, a connection with the ISI person and suddenly, I knew what I was supposed to do. It gelled, I wanted to work with internationals, I saw how I fit but it was in a direction that was opposite what I thought God might direct me in. My heart changed to really WANT to do this and others agreed with me that I was the right fit. I worked with ISI for 5 years and was sorry to leave.

  4. Okay, so I know I don’t go to Eastbrook anymore, since I don’t live in Milwaukee anymore, BUT…I knew that I was living God’s plans for me when I first graduated from college and had NO plans…I had to trust God and lean on him, because there was nothing else – no plans, no next step, no forseeable future, and then out of nowhere, I get an email job offer…I ended up getting the job, and finding a place to live almost effortlessly. Nothing like that has ever been so clear for me-that basically without significant effort, only with significant prayer, did I find my ‘next step.’ And the funny part about it was that the job I got was not anything I thought I’d ever do, but by opening that door, God put me in the right PLACE to do big things – things that were totally unrelated to why he initially brought me there. Was that totally confusing?

    • Not confusing at all, Liz. It’s interesting how God’s plans for us often involve waiting in periods without any clear plans. I always come back to verses like the following one in Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

      Also, my experience is that God has ways of bringing back around things we didn’t understand at the time to be intricate parts of His intentions for us.

  5. With nine years of teaching experience I was interviewing for a new teaching job in a suburban district that I thought would be perfect. I knew each of the people on the interview panel and yet I could not find the answers to the questions. I was virtually tongue-tied. All I could think about was an interview I had the week prior at a private choice school where I had known no one on the interview panel, and yet felt completely at home from the moment I walked in the door. In that first interview the answers to the same questions had come easily; I was offered that job the next morning. (God’s will, but I wasn’t convinced.) But during this interview, I just wanted to run out of the door. I quieted my mind the minute I got to the car and felt…you are not needed here. I knew I wasn’t living His plans for me because I couldn’t speak the answers to the same questions that I had answered many times before. His will was for me to use my gifts to work with the students at the private choice school. And I have since learned that I needed the students just as much as they needed me. I am growing closer to Him as I guide my first graders to know and love Jesus.

  6. My most common experience is feeling unclear of God’s plans for me… But I’ve had a few clear flashpoints in my life where I’ve felt very certain of God’s direction. The most obvious was in 1990, when I took a 2-month sabbatical from my job as managing editor of the Phoenix Business Journal to do a short-term mission with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the Amazon. I felt tremendous clarity and peace about this decision to go to Brazil, even if it mean quitting my job at the Business Journal. God gives us clear directions through the Bible on how to live each day (love your neighbor, don’t steal, etc), but tremendous (scary) freedom re: the big decisions in life. Who should I marry? Should I live in Chicago or Seattle, work as a cobbler or a doctor? I think God will go with us and use our choices for his glory, as long as we’re spending time with Him and following Jesus day to day.

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