It has always seemed so mystical. Like it’s this supernatural power that outpours upon you, resulting in overwhelming emotion and perfect clarity. Some describe it in a way similar to The Force in Star Wars.
Growing up, the “will of God” was taught to me as a sort of supreme enlightenment. As an unshakable sense of direction and undivided knowledge of truth, blanketed in the peace that passes all understanding.
Then one day, it all clicked, and I realized what God’s will was for my life. He was tall, educated, and handsome. And best of all, he was bilingual and well travelled.
Our meeting was serendipitous, kismet. Nothing short of a scene from a romantic comedy. Our love was instantaneous.
Marriage talk was brought to the table faster than I could learn his middle name. There was no doubt in my mind this was The One whom God had destined for me. His “perfect will for my life.”
We did everything just like how the Christian-preparation-for-marriage-books tell you. We prayed together. We cried together, went to church together. We shared a mutual confidence that this was the destiny God had intended for our lives.
Then, unexpectedly, something changed.
All of a sudden, everything was questioned. My knight in shining armour wasn’t sure if he even knew what love meant. Let alone if we were making the right decision.
“How could this be?” I thought. We were so sure. It had started out like a fairy tale, but ended like a bad sitcom.
There I was, devastated by not necessarily the break-up itself, but by the fact that I truly thought I had received clear guidance from God.
How could I ever be certain of another decision in my life? I had been wrong about one of the most important ones I will ever make.
On the outside I pretended I was fine, resuming everyday life as normal, masquerading as a statue of strength, immune to being hurt.
But inside I held a vortex of pain and anguish. Frantically trying to piece together the puzzle of what went wrong.
How could God do this to me? Why would He make His will clear, bring me The One, only to take him away?
And then, God started answering me.
I began to allow myself to fully process everything that had taken place, and to absorb the truth I was starting to realize. This is what I discovered.
God’s will is simple.
In the Bible, God makes His commands and desires for His followers pretty simple. Love Him, love others and spread His message. Our lives are created as instruments used to continue the work of Christ in word and deed. Everything else is just a bonus.
We have the ability to choose.
After choosing to follow God and figuring out how to love Him and others, the rest is up to us. Who we marry, where we live, what job we have, etc. At times, we think we’ve found the perfect path, but that person or job still has the chance of not working out. This doesn’t always mean we’re wrong. It just means life is unpredictable.
Right choices aren’t necessarily emotional.
Most of my best decisions haven’t been made during times of intense emotion. God has given us both a head and a heart to be able to distinguish right from wrong. We’re able to make choices that marry rationale and intuition. Sometimes your “gut” is right, but sometimes it isn’t.
God’s will is peaceful.
My mom has always told me to never make a decision unless I felt completely at peace about it. Looking back on my relationship, I can see where there was a lot of uncertainty and doubt I had ignored because I had found what I wanted and refused to be persuaded otherwise. When you make a decision, though it might be scary, ultimately it should bring peace.
There’s no “how-to” handbook on understanding and deciphering God’s will. It’s a lifelong pursuit to comprehend how and why an infinite Being and Creator gives and takes away. Finding your way on this journey through life is constant sequence of trial and error.
Jesus tells us He will never leave us or forsake us. When we desperately try to hear His voice, He is ready to bring truth and dialogue with us. Sometimes people can hear Him clearly; others may experience a sense of peace or clarity during a quiet walk.
It’s easy to confuse desire with God’s voice, but I know from experience, what I want isn’t always what God wants. Thankfully, if we make the wrong decision, God is able to take any mistake or painful situation and turn it into something beautiful.
Flickr photo (cc) by Send me adrift.