We all have a mental picture of who we want to be. For some people, that life is crystal clear, perfect, and never questioned. Some of us, however, may have more than one mental picture. Maybe you have twenty different mental pictures of a potential life all battling each other inside your head.
You want to be a high school teacher but you also want to be a stay at home mom. You want to run a goat farm, but you also want to live in a high-rise in New York. You dream of year-round sunshine and Hawaii-living, but you also dream of riding horses across a thousand-acre farm in Montana. Oh, and did you mention that you want to drop everything and travel the country in an RV full-time as well, and travel the world at the same time? It sounds impossible to choose
How Do You Choose?
Some of these plans take time, and they can’t be dropped when you suddenly get bored. To be a teacher, you have to have a college degree. That takes time. To be a full-time RVer, you have to find a way to make money on the road. That also takes time. To move to Hawaii, you have to find a job, save up money, and figure out how to live in Hawaii’s super high cost of living. For a lot of us, that kind of money takes time.
We only have so much time on this earth. While we can absolutely do more than one thing with our lives, it’s not practical to think we can live every life we’ve ever seen on TV or read in a book. (Trust me, if I could live in both Downton Abbey and Walnut Grove at the same time, I absolutely would.) So, what do you do? How do you figure out which life, or lives, you’re meant to live?
What To Do When You Can’t Decide Who You Want to Be
As children of God, we have a really simple answer right in front of us. There is only one thing you have to do, and you’ll discover exactly who you are and who you are meant to be. Ask. God. That’s it. God has a plan for you. He has had a plan for you, not just humanity as a whole but you individually, since the beginning of time. How. Crazy. Is. That? When God created the universe, He thought about you–as an individual–and He saw how He could place you into his creation perfectly.
That plan, God’s plan, is perfect. It is perfect or you, for the world, for all of history past, present, and future. You have a place to be, and all you have to do is ask and follow.
Wait a minute. I want to choose my own life.
Maybe you’re thinking this doesn’t actually sound fun at all. Maybe you’re thinking that you don’t want to follow some plan that’s already laid out; you want to do your own thing. You don’t like the idea of being told what to do.
You do have a choice. Everything is your choice. Yes, God has a plan, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t choosing your own life. You are choosing to follow God’s plan. You are choosing to let God use you for His divine intentions. Your purpose under God is so much bigger, so much more exciting than any plan you could come up with yourself.
Let’s say you made your own decision.
You decide to pack up and move to Hawaii. You live there for a few months, or maybe even a few years, and you realize that Hawaii is really expensive, and your salary isn’t enough to make ends meet. You don’t spend everyday surfing or getting a tan or eating pineapple on the beach; you spend every day at work trying to get more hours and make enough money to survive. You can’t afford a plane ticket home, so you never see your family, you can’t get a day off work to go to church, you haven’t had time to pick up a bible in months, and you’re not even experiencing any of the things that made you want to move there in the first place. You’re unhappy, lonely, and broke. This is not the picture-perfect life you imagined.
Now, I’m not saying no one should move to Hawaii. Hawaii is a beautiful place, and some people are truly meant to live there (and if God decides to send me there, I definitely won’t fight it!) I’m also not saying that following God’s plan is going to be picture-perfect. You may struggle to make ends meet at times; you may have long hours at work; you may not get to see your family as often as you would like. But if you commit your life to the Lord, you will see his blessings appear in your life. Somehow, you will survive no matter the odds because God will provide, and you will be able to find comfort in the knowledge that you have a place in Heaven waiting for you, and the life you chose to live on Earth is helping God further his good work.
Okay, but what if I don’t like the life God has planned?
God never promised His way would be easy. He never promised our time here on Earth would be super fun all the time, or even most of the time. What He did promise is that those of us who accept Jesus’s gift of salvation will be given eternal life, and I promise eternal life is super fun all the time.
We all get bored with life sometimes. We all face challenges. The key is to recognize challenges as a way to strengthen our faith. We can get angry at God and decide to try our own path, but that path will only lead us to destruction. Or, we can thank God for what He has provided, pray for what we need, and patiently wait to receive our inheritance in His kingdom. All while living a life here on Earth that furthers God’s plans and strengthens our relationship with Him.
That Doesn’t Sound So Bad. But How Do I know Where God Wants Me?
Now that you’ve decided to follow God’s plan for your life, how do you find it? Sometimes we can confuse our own plans with God’s plan. I think this happens when we want something so bad, we convince ourselves God is telling us to go get it. It can be difficult to discern our own desires from God’s desires, but the way to figure out the difference isn’t complicated.
First of All, Pray.
Desperately. Incessantly. Consistently. Pray over every choice, every decision, every move you plan to make.
You can pray all day every day but if you’re not listening, you won’t hear God. I promise God is desperately pursuing you, showing you where to go and how to get there. All you have to do is listen.
If you’re listening and opening your heart to what the Lord is trying to tell you, then open your bible. Read the Word, learn from the people in the pages, ask Hod to show you his desires for you in his Holy Word. He will.
Follow His Answer
Once you get your answer, follow it. Don’t delay. Don’t make excuses: I can’t leave my job, I’m too introverted to travel, I hate the city, I want to leave this town even though God is telling me to stay, etc. Ask God for the faith and the courage to follow his plan and then follow it. You’ll be amazed at how you grow.