Right now, I’m in a shattered and broken place of figment dreams, heightened comparisons, overwhelming circumstances, and an unthinkable mindset paralyzed by fear, anxiety, and depression. A place where everything I thought I ever wanted has come to the realization that sometimes God’s will for our lives is not the (insert your name here) will we have set for our lives. Sometimes, it’s scary to trust in God’s will vs. my will.
God’s Will vs. My Will
All my life, for instance, I can tell you three solid facts about myself that have always been true. I’ve always been a writer and felt called to pursue that as a career, I’ve always been a dancer and felt called to continue that through ministry, and I’ve never wanted children because I felt a calling that God had something different in mind for my future. Yet, when I think about it, fully surrendering to His will, His way, means that if at any moment God takes away my ability to write or dance, or not fulfilling those callings, that I have to be okay with that.
Now of course, I don’t believe that a good God would take away good desires that align with His will. But I am not the one in control of my life, and even when my desires are in track with His, I have to surrender the authority that whatever God decides to do with that is best for me, even if that means not being a writer, not flourishing a ministry, or having children if that desire within me changes. And in all honesty, that last one scares me more than you know and pushes me to a much deeper faith than I’ve ever known because I would do anything to have that come true.
What a tough pill to swallow.
But, as tears well up in my eyes and my heart pounds, I know that God has my best interest at heart. I know when I am faced between God’s will vs. my will, His is always better. As long as I am continually and fully pursuing Him, He will watch and guide over me, always providing everything I need and more along the way. That means surrendering my everything to Him in full acceptance that His will be done, even if it isn’t to the consent of my will that I think I want for my life.
Ouch. Yeah, that last one hurts a bit, doesn’t it?
Living a Life According to God’s Will
Following God’s will vs. my will is demonstrated through our actions. In James 4:13-17, James addresses this concept in encouraging those of the faith to live that faith out, not just in their words, but through action and deed. Within this particular chapter, he warns us to align our views with Christ, draw close to God, and then fully submit and surrender anything within us and our plans for this life so that we will not boast about our self-confidence, but the residing power of Christ in us.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. – James 4:13-17
Did you catch that? Scripture tells us, “if the Lord Wills”; it does not say “if Amber Wills” or “if Amber desires,” or “if Amber demands.” It says, “if the Lord Wills,” and that is a sharp command from the Father to rest in the promise that though I cannot control or boast in plan making, I can boast and rejoice in the one who does.
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. – Proverbs 16:9
And indeed, the less we listen to the mind of man and the more we listen to Him, the more that the path ahead of us will be marked straight and He will lead us where we are meant to go (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. – Proverbs 4:25-26
Trusting in God’s Will, Not My Will
So, what does this mean for us? How can we as selfish and prideful humans be entirely sold out and wholeheartedly devoted to Him, no matter the will he has in store? We T.R.U.S.T.
1. We THANK God
Even when things are going wrong, and we feel like our world is ending, it is crucial to praise God. Thank God, you might be questioning, doesn’t that sound a bit odd? Shouldn’t I be telling God what I want? On the contrary of how it seems or feels though, thanking God in both sorrow and joy strengths our faith.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. – Isaiah 40:29
Just like Solomon praised God before the victory in 2 Chronicles 7:1-11 (God doesn’t answer Him directly until verse 12, yet he praises in the waiting!), we too can thank God when nothing else makes sense because, at the core of our issues, He is still good. He is still worthy. His will is always best.
2. We REMEMBER God
Once we have thanked God in our sorrow or joy about the never-ending scenarios that haunt us, we remember who God is regardless of how our emotions are telling us that we feel. His plan might include that job, spouse, or plan that you have, or it might utterly flip those things upside down. Yet regardless of these things, we can know and trust that God:
- Is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18)
- Provides strength (Isaiah 40:30-31)
- Provides for His will (Isaiah 40:27-28)
- Calls us by name (Isaiah 40:26)
- Brings life through His Word (Proverbs 3:1-3)
- Holds all wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 9:10-11)
- Has an unfailing love (Romans 8:31-39)
Those plans you made? They may fall through. Those desires you have? They may change. That guy or girl you love? They may not be in the future. But by resting in who God is and His promises, we have everything we need (2 Peter 1:3).
3. We seek to UNDERSTAND God
After praising and reflecting on who Scripture tells us God is, it is time to dip deep into His Word and seek to follow Him. Taking time to pray, journal, and read His Word pours profound spiritual truths into our hungry and thirsty souls that only God can satisfy.
Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4
When we seek to understand God and want what He alone wants for us, we are less likely to be overwhelmed by the thoughts and plans we try to carry out on our own.
4. We SURRENDER and SUBMIT to Him
Through thanking, remembering, and seeking to understand God, we must also truly surrender and submit to Him. Here, we must be willing to lay down the plans we have for ourselves, and authentically know that even if our dreams, hopes, and ideas come crashing down, He will provide. When we surrender to God, we are saying, “thy will be done, not mine.” When we submit to Him, we accept whatever plans He has in-store to replace ours.
But these things, I must tell you, are not easy. They aren’t like ripping a band-aid off a healed wound. In fact, they are more like tearing it off of an injury that hasn’t healed yet. Despite this pain, when we do these things, our faith, love, and trust in Christ will grow. Daily, we must surrender our ideals to Him, and with that, submit to whatever He has planned for our future. To obey, and fully submit oneself to that which lay ahead. There is joy and freedom in submission to Christ.
5. We THANK God again and TASTE His goodness
Finally, after we release everything of ourselves and accept everything that He alone is, we are given the freedom to thank God again for what He will do and taste the fruit of His goodness. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Biblical fruits of the spirit we sang as a child, but honestly, His fruit is good, and He desires to give us good gifts. No matter the circumstance, pain, or joy, those who follow Christ will be rewarded for their faithfulness to Him.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. – Psalms 34:8
Taste the goodness of Him who provides, even before you see the fruition of His promises. When faced with the decision between God’s will vs. my will, I remember the promises of goodness the Lord has given.
Following God’s Will
Though I keep questioning, I rest in the promise that He alone is the answer I am looking for. I know when I am faced between God’s will vs. my will, that His way is the answer. No matter what my will wants, He knows best for me.
Rest in that today, my friend. He is a God of goodness and mercy and surely has nothing less than a perfectly planned will set in the eternity for you today.