I have always been a pretty firm believer that God had one specific plan for my life. In every decision that lay before me, or every fork in the road, I believed there was the right path to take, and the wrong path. I would often spend months agonizing over a decision, asking God for some sign to reveal to me what I was supposed to do.
But lately, I have come to realize something...
God lets us choose what we want our life to look like.
That may sound obvious because we have free will, so of course we get to choose. But I wonder if anyone else ever struggled like I did in feeling like I had to somehow unlock the code to know which choice God secretly wanted me to choose.
First let me tell you what I am NOT talking about. I am not talking about the times when you are trying to choose between something you know is right and something you know is wrong. In that case, I believe God always wants us to choose what is right. And in those times, I believe God actually makes it radically clear if we are about to choose something that is destructive for us. We may try to pretend like we don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but I believe God always gives us multiple warnings before we head into danger. The more times we choose to ignore the signs, the fainter they get.
What I am talking about is when we are trying to choose between right and right; two things that are good and will bring God glory.
The first time I realized this is when we felt called to move to Latvia. I wanted God to tell me, “Yes, you need to go.” But all I kept feeling was, “I’m inviting you to go on this adventure with me, but you get to decide. Count the costs. I will bless you either way.” And then it showed up again when we were deciding whether we were going to commit for a longer period of time or move back home, “You can stay longer and build a life here or you can go home.” This was the moment where I felt an even deeper question that God was asking me:
“What will make you happy?”
“But God! It’s not about me being happy! It’s about me following your will and doing exactly what you want me to do with my life. What do you want me to do with my life?”
“What do you want to do with your life? Either option is good. I will bless you either way.”
Seriously, this was a radical moment for me. I have spent so much of my life trying to decipher God’s perfect plan for my life and it turns out that he actually brings me right into it. God lets me brainstorm with him and ultimately he lets me choose.
I don’t know why this was so radical for me. The fact that it was actually shows me that I think far too highly of myself. As if I am the only one in the entire world who can do anything God invites me into. As if God’s entire plan could be thrown off by me choosing one road instead of another. (Again, remember that I am only talking about choosing between two GOOD, God glorifying situations, not a good situation and a bad one.)
The truth is, God has millions of Christians all over the world who he is able to burden with different things and there is work to be done all over the world. If God puts two paths before me that are good, like serving in Latvia or serving right in my hometown, than he is able to bring someone else to Latvia when I leave. He’s that big.
Here is why I think this is so important: it keeps us from blaming God when things go wrong or we aren’t happy. If we truly realize that we get to choose then we can’t pull the old, “God! Why did you bring me here only to ___________” (You can fill in the blank). “God, I followed you, I gave up everything and I am miserable!” We don’t get to say that. We get to choose.
You know what this world needs more than anything?
Joyful Christians; people who love what they do and are a light to everyone around them, people who are so content in themselves that they are able to take the focus off of themselves and love the people around them.
Are you a joyful Christian? Or do you feel miserable trying to live out the thing you feel like God asked you to do? If so, go back to the drawing board and brainstorm with God. The world needs your joy.