How to Know God’s Will for My Life (Part 1)

One of the greatest struggles that we experience as Christians is discerning what the Lord’s will is for our lives.   Oh, if He only left a personalized note, an audible message, or wrote His words using a skywriter or a billboard – how much easier it would be.  But alas, God does not communicate with us via those avenues, but thankfully, He does indeed speak to us, and rest assured, if we are willing to wait, follow, and listen, He will show us His will.

Seeking after God’s will for our lives must begin with setting aside our own will.  There is simply no other starting point.  For many years I struggled with this.  My will was strong, my resolve stronger, and my ways set.  I prayed for the Lord to reveal His will, but far too often, I was actually waiting for His will to align with mine.  And when it didn’t, I simply forged ahead relying on my feelings and desires.  Oh, if I could only show my younger self the foolishness of my ways.

But God takes those periods of strong will and waywardness in our lives and uses them to teach us so many valuable lessons.  I suppose that is how wisdom is acquired, through the hills and valleys that we traverse in this life.

As we mature, hopefully our eyes are opened to see how foolish and misguided our own will can tend to be.  And with time, we can begin to see the value and peace that comes in setting aside our own will to yield to the Father’s perfect plan.  We come to the understanding that God has already authored our story, our perfect story, and that this unique, individualized epic has been carefully constructed for our good and His glory.

And while we hopefully arrive at a place where we yearn to submit to the Father’s will, deciphering what that will is has challenged many a Christian.  We’re often left with many questions: How do I really know what the Lord’s will is for my life?  How will He tell me?  Will He show me?

At no other time in my life have I experienced God’s will more clearly laid out than what I have personally lived through over the past few years.   If you doubt that God makes His will known to His people, I would encourage you to read my story.

The Story

After the passing of my father-in-law in 2015, my husband and I knew that we would need to move from the home that we had been renting for the past 15 years.  With his passing the house had now became part of the estate.  We were living in an area that we simply loved but one that was, and still is, oppressively expensive.  We contemplated buying the house outright from our family members.  We explored various other housing options.  We turned over every rock in New Jersey, yet, each time we came up empty.   We soon came to the realization that staying in New Jersey was not feasible.

And while our desire was to remain in New Jersey around our family and friends, it quickly became clear that God had a different plan.  We are grateful that He made this clear to us early along in this journey.  So we spent the next 3 years prayerfully considering where the Lord wanted us.  We pondered where in this vast country our family would land.  At times I would feel a flood of anxiousness rush over me.  It all just seemed so overwhelming. But through the uneasiness, this simple prayer was always on my lips:

“Lord, please show us your will.  We are willing to follow.  Please open doors, help us to walk through them, and close the wrong doors.  Please make your will clear. “

Our family prayed that prayer for three years.  And during that time the Lord opened many doors, and we walked through nearly every single one of them.  We traveled to many states, went on numerous interviews, conducted countless hours of research looking for homes, and each time…every time…the door slammed shut.

One of our very first trips was to Central Virginia.  We had taken our oldest son on a college visit.  It was the only college that was on his list of potential schools.  I had spoken to him several times about the foolishness of limiting his options, not to mention the fact that the tuition was simply out of our range.  Regardless, we arrived on campus and enjoyed the day’s activities and tours.  And as we walked around I really felt the Lord nudge me.  I felt Him move with such clarity, it was undeniable.  I remember exactly where we were; I turned around to my family and declared:  “The Lord is going to bring us here.  I don’t know when or how.  But He will use us here is some capacity.”

Everyone looked at me a bit perplexed.  But I doubled down and said, “I know it.”

And I did.

Upon returning home, we continued to pray and search.  I spent a lot of time looking for jobs in Central Virginia, but never did I limit myself to just that area.  We began to explore the possibility of transferring with my husband’s current company.  Transferring made a lot of sense.  There would be no interruption in benefits as well as a higher starting salary compared to coming in new at a different company.

We soon traveled to North Carolina to explore three transfer opportunties.  We had heard many great things about the Carolinas and had family there as well.  We continued to pray, and again, simply asked that the Lord would open and close the doors.  My husband visited all three locations and received the same good news from each: “We should have an open position soon.  We’ll call you.”

No calls came.

I then began to explore career opportunities with the college that we had visited in Virginia.  To my surprise there were a few positions that seemed to be a good fit for my husband.  We worked on the applications, and in short time, my husband was called in for an interview.  So, we headed back down to Virginia.  The interview went well…very well.

During that visit we met up with local realtor in the area.  She was kind enough to spend the day with us showing us around the area and bringing us to several homes.  We had a really wonderful time getting to know Pat.  I didn’t know it then, but God orchestrated this meeting.  For in 3 years time, the Lord was going to use Pat in our lives in a big way.

At the conclusion of the weekend, my husband was told that he would be contacted by the department within a few weeks to make arrangements for the job.  We left feeling elated.

Yet, there was silence.  No call came.

This pattern continued for the next few years.  My husband had promising interviews in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, and various parts of New Jersey – all producing nothing.

There were so many hopeful maybes.

Finally, a transfer to Roanoke, Virginia had come through for my husband.  The salary was approved, a start date arranged, and just as we began to arrange to have our home placed on the market, my husband’s company lost a major account.  As a result the company was struggling.  We received the news that there was a hiring freeze nationwide which would include all transfers.  Another no.  Another road block.  Yet another closed door.  No sooner had I exuberantly told friends and family that the Lord had provided a new home for us, I sheepishly had to inform them of the change.

I would love to tell you that the pattern stopped, but it did not.  Several months later, once the hiring freeze was lifted, my husband was offered another transfer.  However this time, we were told that we had 3 days to provide an answer, and that if we changed our mind for any reason or needed to extend the start date in order to find housing and move, my husband would be terminated.  We were flabbergasted.  So we desperately searched for housing.  We had friends on the ground in the area feverishly looking.  We had realtors searching.  I was just about going mad.  None of us could find housing.  In desperation my husband made cold calls to churches in the area asking if they had members who had rentals.

Nothing.  This was inexplicable.  Roanoke was big.  There was plenty of housing.  This should not be hard.  I filled out so many applications, made so many calls, left so many messages…every single attempt came up void.  Every one.  Even the realtor came up empty.  There was no logical explanation.  I soon began to realize that when we pray for God’s will to be done, He can take seemingly simple tasks and make them impossible.

At the beginning of this journey, a closed door had brought comfort.  It simply was God’s way of clearly communicating His will.  But with time, the closed door became a thorn, a dagger to the soul which seemed to cut deeper and deeper with each new opportunity snatched from our grasp.  My soul was becoming weary and tired.  I yearned and prayed that the Lord would provide a mere glimpse or a tiny morsel of what His will was.  Yet, each time, there was the closed door, and where that door once brought comfort, it now yielded tears and angst and frustration.

For me, this was the tipping point.   My husband asked me to send out an email to the Roanoke office to inform them that we could not find housing within those 3 given days, and as a result, we would not be taking the transfer.  After I hit the send button, I just cried.  And as the flood of tears came, I cried out: “Lord, what are you doing?  You know our situation better than we do.  You know we need to leave.  You know we need to sell the house.  You know these things.  What are you waiting for?”

And in the solitude of the house that day, I grappled with what truly waiting on the Lord looks like.  It is not about angst and tears, frustration and worry; it is about comfort and peace, resting and trusting.   Oh, I had experienced and basically had had enough of angst, tears, frustration, and worry.  I had no comfort, no peace, and no rest.  This lead me to ask myself:  Where was my trust?  Did I really, truly trust the Lord with my life?

I then saw that what I was experiencing was a battle of epic proportions.  It was not a battle between the Lord and me; it was between the Lord and Satan.  Satan did not want me to wait on the Lord.  Surely he did not want God’s perfect will to play out in my life.  All of the worry and frustration that I was experiencing were just seeds of discontent and doubt being planted to steer me away from the Lord.

So that day I chose to find the blessing in the closed door.  I chose to raise my hands up to the Lord in praise.  Through tears I sang.  I lowered my fists and realized that all along the Lord had been answering my prayers:

“Lord, please show us your will.  We are willing to follow.  Please open doors, help us to walk through them, and close the wrong doors.  Please make your will clear. “

“Make your will clear.”  That is exactly what our faithful Father had been doing all along.  He moved each time with clarity.  He left no room for us to wonder.  There was no room for doubt.

Isn’t this exactly what we long for as believers?  Do we not want the Lord to move in a manner to where all doubt is erased?  Do we not want Him to direct us?  Maybe we are a bit more willing to accept that clarity when He acts quickly and in our favor.  Truly submitting to the Lord’s will is not easy.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;   in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Within the coming weeks after that day, the Lord began to pull the pieces of the puzzle together.  That university job that we had explored 3 years before, now became reality.  From this point on, the closed door was a thing of the past.  The Lord would move with such surety and precision that I was simply left in awe.

Please be sure to come back to the blog this week as I conclude this series.  I want to share with you how the Lord flew the doors wide open and provided exactly for what we needed every step of the way.  The contrast of the closed door and the open door will truly show you how God clearly makes His will known to us.

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “How to Know God’s Will for My Life (Part 1)

  1. Thanks Kim! It’s been such an encouragement as I having been struggling in a similar path these years and things seemed to get worse over the past year and a half. I know whom I believed in, and His Word always comforting. I now also choose to praise….for He is worthy of my worship!
    Miss you!!
    Christine

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    1. It’s such a hard journey sometimes, but God is always good, even in the waiting and not knowing. I’ll be praying for you. We miss you all as well!

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  2. Kim- I am sure anyone reading this can relate to “saying” we will follow God’s will for our lives, and then struggling with actually DOING just that! You explain the human emotions that are involved so clearly. I will gladly keep reading your story.❤️

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