As I’ve worked with college students for most of my adult ministry, I’ve often heard the question, What is God’s will for my life? Young people of an average university age are constantly trying to figure out what to major in, who to date, how to spend their time, and what job to shoot for after graduation.
Naturally, with huge life decisions comes speculation about what God wants for them, and how they should proceed. There’s a fairly abundant fear of the unknown amongst college students, but we all know that fear isn’t exclusive to them.
Discerning God’s call and His lordship in your life needs to begin with the right questions, and What is God’s will for my life? is simply the wrong question to ask.
Let’s say you and I were trapped inside a house that was burning down, and I looked at you and asked, Since it’s getting hotter in here, do you think I should remove my jacket? Now, the question itself is certainly relevant to the specific fact that because of the fire, the temperature is rising in the house and that my jacket should be removed. But if I asked this question in the context I’ve just described, it would be idiotic because I would be missing the more obvious situation at hand. Who cares about whether or not my jacket should be removed? The house is burning down around us!
In other words, there’s a bigger picture happening here, and asking a silly self-involved question is pointless because of the more relevant setting.
Similarly, asking about God’s will for your life is probably asking the wrong question. There’s an assumption within the question itself that we want God to bless us with what will make us most happy. The question is asked through American cultural values that place control, comfort, prosperity, and safety above all else.
Truthfully, the more appropriate question should be, How does my life fit into God’s will? This is how to ask the question correctly because it’s taking into account the bigger picture of how God is working in the world. It assumes that the plot of the story isn’t about you, but about Him. He is the main character. He is doing something amazing in the hearts of people, and we should want to know how we can be a part of what is already happening as He is moving.
Do you see the difference? When we ask the question from the correct perspective, the entire narrative of our lives shift toward His sovereignty and away from our personal agenda. And when we rest in His benevolent control, it’s incredibly difficult to be afraid.
When we see the larger story happening and open our eyes to the fact that we are not the hero of the story, anxiety no longer hangs over our heads.