God's Will and our Decisions
Welcome to the September edition of Ezer Equipped. This month we want to explore how to know God’s will for our lives when facing decisions. There are so many choices, so many potential outcomes—from dating, to marriage, to colleges, to career paths, to neighborhoods. What if I choose wrong? What if I miss out on God’s will for my life? This can lead many of us into analysis paralysis. We labor over our choices in order to secure the best possible outcome. We weigh all of our options, write pros and cons lists, look for some spiritual signpost, or listen for the still small voice of God. We think that God is just waiting on us to get quiet enough so he can tell us exactly what to do. But that is rarely how God works.
The Scriptures often reveal that God calls people to follow him with limited information. In Genesis 12, God calls Abram to leave the country of his ancestors and go to a land “I will show you.” In Exodus 3, God calls Moses to return to Egypt to bring the Israelites out of slavery. Both of these men knew very little about the journey ahead of them. Abram didn’t know where he was going. Moses didn’t know how the Lord would rescue his people. But both men moved in faith and did the next thing in front of them. Abram packed up his family and left the land of his ancestors. Moses returned to Egypt and waited on further instruction.
Only in hindsight were Abram and Moses able to look back and see all God had done. This is often true for us too. Clarity doesn’t always come on the front end. God calls us to faith in him—not in our "good choices" or in outcomes. He calls us to move in faithfulness, wisdom, and obedience. As Jen Wilkin says in the video below, the decision is rarely the issue. God is far more concerned with the person we are becoming than he is with the job we take or the school our kids attend. When we are freed from our unbiblical thinking around God’s will for our lives, we can move forward in faith and freedom and just do the next thing in front of us.
As with all of our newsletters, we have provided a few resources to read or listen to, some questions for reflection, and some believable next steps you can take to grow in this area.
Grace Church Women’s Discipleship Advisor
by: Kevin DeYoung
This book is short, but rich and immensely helpful for anyone who is paralyzed by the need to know God’s will with certainty before making a decision. DeYoung explains a biblical approach to understanding God’s will and then leads us into decision-making that is free from fear of missing out on God’s will for our lives.
“God is not a Magic 8-Ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have decisions to make. He is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the way of obedience, and invites us to take risks for Him. We know God has a plan for our lives. That’s wonderful. The problem is we think He’s going to tell us the wonderful plan before it unfolds. We feel like we can know—and need to know—what God wants every step of the way. But such preoccupation with finding God’s will, as well-intentioned as the desire may be, is more folly than freedom.”
by: Jen Wilkin
In this article, Wilkin drives us beyond the temporal to the eternal. She challenges us to be less concerned with the decision we make and more concerned with the kind of person we are becoming.
“What good is it for me to choose the right job if I am still consumed with selfishness? What good is it for me to choose the right home or spouse if I am still eaten up with covetousness? What does it profit me to make the right choice if I am still the wrong person? A lost person can make ‘good choices’. But only a person indwelt by the Holy Spirit can make a good choice for the purpose of glorifying God.”
by: Jen Wilkin
So often when it comes to making a decision, we want God to tell us what to do. In this brief two-minute video, Wilkin redirects us to the primary question we should ask ourselves.
“God is always more concerned with the decision-maker than he is with the decision itself, because every decision is a product of who we are.”
We encourage you to use these conversation starters as a means of self-reflection and for discussion within your community.
1. What obstacles do you have in making decisions?
- Fear of missing out
- Fear of choosing wrong
- Fear of what others might think
- Fear of displeasing God
- Too many choices
- Too many voices/advisors
- Potential consequences/owning responsibility of your choice
- Other obstacles?
2. What types of decisions are the hardest for you to make? Do you see any patterns emerge?
3. How does your struggle with making a decision reveal a deeply held belief about God? What is the lie you are tempted to believe about God (eg. God doesn’t care; God is hiding the answer and waiting to see if I will figure it out?)
4. What Scripture addresses the lie you believe? How might believing the truth about God free you to make the decision facing you?
Scripture warns us to not just be hearers of the word but to be doers of it as well. All of life is repentance. What is a believable next step God is calling you to take in response to all you’ve learned?
- Write down the Scripture you identified in Question #4 in the Connect section, and place it in visible places (eg. bathrooms, car, your desk at work) or commit it to memory.
- Evaluate your current advisors:
- Are they mature, wise, and biblically oriented?
- Are you in an echo chamber, where the only voices you are hearing affirm your desires to “follow your heart” or do whatever pleases and satisfies you?
- Do you tend to make decisions in a vacuum, not seeking advisors aside from yourself?
3. Write down the names of two women, in different seasons of life, that you can reach out to when facing important decisions. This should be someone who will listen and not be afraid to provide direction. If you don’t already have a relationship with them, ask them to coffee to begin establishing a relational foundation that will help them provide solid counsel in the future.
4. Some of us need to think more about our decisions and their consequences. Others need to think less and just move. There are many ways we err in our decisions:
5. The next time you are facing a decision, consider using this grid:
6. What have you learned about the way you make decisions, and what changes do you need to make? In what situation might God be calling you to trust him and step out in faith and discomfort? What is the next step you need to take in faith and obedience to him? Share this step with someone in your community.
This resource is adapted from our Ezer Equipped monthly newsletter dedicated to equipping our women with content, from both within and outside of our church, to help us continue to grow as disciple and disciple-makers. To subscribe to the Ezer Equipped newsletter, click here.