What is God’s will for me? Here are some flawed ways of attempting to answer that question.
- Discerning open and closed doors. One thing to be said about this line of thinking is that it incorporates a biblical phrase. But it’s not a sufficient way of arriving at a decision, just because many times there are many possibilities at hand, that is, many open doors. So go through which one? Well, ask that question and you’ve suddenly arrived back where you began. Also: was turning the stone into bread a door opened to Jesus? Was killing Saul in the cave an open door to David?
- Guessing what God is up to by a facile interpretation of circumstances. We moved from Boston to Denver for a job, and three months after the mountain ranges came in view that job blew up. In the aftermath, folks that loved me often offered some version of “God used the disastrous job just to get you out here but he had something different in mind all along.” Maybe. But then maybe not. Anytime I’ve started to think that I understand what God is up to, am grasping the bigger picture of how things are proceeding, well, that ‘insight’ often ends in some degree of chagrin. I don’t think that conjecture about what God is doing provides anything like firm footing for taking the next step.
- Feelings of peace. “I don’t have peace about it” is a line used by the girl who’s about to kick her boyfriend to the curb but doesn’t want to admit to him or herself that actually she’s bored by him, or has concluded he’s a loser, or has come to realize that deep down he’s shallow etc. Often ‘no peace’ is an explanation that’s verily no explanation, perhaps is too lazy to consider or articulate the real problem, probably is a little cowardly. All that to say: peace (in this sense meaning ‘calm’) is nice and all, but is quite a slippery concept. Sometimes we think we’re talking about it while actually we’re hovering around something else. That being so, ‘having peace’ isn’t a good basis for making decisions. You say you have peace? Well, consider: sometimes peace has arrived on the scene having been escorted there by naivety. Also, the absence of peace might not mean anything! Fact: In all of my major life’s decisions, including those in retrospect I could label as ‘genius moves,’ particularly the best decision I’ve made (wedding Tonia!) I had second doubts…nay – hundredth doubts. Read my journal written while I was debating whether to stick with Tonia and the word ‘Bedlam’ will come into your mind. So enough about peace: one’s psychological status is fleeting, not easily defined or understood, unreliable, perhaps even unremarkable.
- Wielded Scripture that hasn’t passed through the rigors of historical and grammatical interpretation. Should I move to CO or FL? CO or FL? CO or FL? Well, I’ve been reading the psalms consecutively (see, no conjuring here!) and this morning God spoke to me with “I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help”! Hey! hold on buddy! What if, instead, you had come across something about ‘let the coastlands praise Him’? Is this really how the bible works?
Plenty more of these and we’ll keep adding on.