How do I figure out God’s plan for me? What does God want me to do with my life? How do I know God’s purpose for me? What’s God’s calling on me? How can I know God’s will for my life? How do I know if God is leading me down this path or that? God, please help me figure out your plan for me!
It can be confusing to know what God has called us to do. One way to figure out God’s plan for you is to look at what you have a longing to do.
How to Figure Out God’s Plan for Me: Holy Desires Reveal a Holy Design
While not every desire will come to fruition, and certainly not come to fruition the way we thought it would, it still brings wonderful direction to our lives by looking at what good desires God has placed on our hearts. For as John Eldredge said so well, “Desire reveals design.” (Of course this should not include sinful desires. When we follow God, our desire will change and we will desire to be what he wants.)
With that said, none of this means that our calling will always correspond to our desire for ease and smooth sailing towards our ideal vision of life for ourselves. Just because you have to do things you don’t like to get trained for the season you want is no reason to assume that you are missing God’s will for your life. When trying to figure out God’s plan for your life, expect there to be long periods of training.
How to Figure Out God’s Plan for Me: God’s Sovereignty Does Not Cancel Our Need for Personal Effort and Training
God’s foreordination does not contradict our need to put forth hard work to become what he has planned. The fact that God has a real plan for life just means that we will be miserable if we try to reject that plan. By rejecting rather than embracing the will of God for your life, you will achieve neither what you want nor what God wants for you.
True happiness is found when we work hard to become who God has preplanned for us to be (Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 3:12-16). Like Paul who used to persecute believers of the gospel only to then be transformed by God’s plan, Paul’s desire drastically changed when he followed Christ, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16).
1 Corinthians 9:16 shows not only how Paul’s desire drastically changed, but how miserable he would be if he were to reject God’s plan for him. Likewise, if we do not do what he calls us to, we will eventually have to cry out “Woe to me.” Desire reveals design. Just as Paul’s desperate desire to preach revealed his calling and gifting to preach, we too should seek to do what we cannot do without.
How to Figure Out God’s Plan for Me: God Will Sanctify Our Desires Through Our Lives
To balance all this, we must be humble enough to know that some of the desires we have are not yet fully sanctified and developed by God, therefore we should not expect to know our whole life plan at the age of 25.
We must be contrite enough to know that who we are now is not who we will always be as we continue to grow and mature, thus we must expect some of our desires to not be fulfilled the way we originally hoped, or in some cases not at all.
God has a good plan for our lives. Therefore, life should not be a journey in seeking to be what we think we want. Rather, we should seek God above all, and then see what he makes us into. When we seek to obey and please God, we need not worry that our life will be miserable, fearing God has planned something for us which we will not desire. For when we seek God, our plans will change through the course of our lives, but so will our desires.
When Paul was Saul, he could never have guessed his ultimate desire would be to preach the gospel he was persecuting. But when Saul was transformed by the grace of God into the Paul who loves Christ, Paul’s desires changed too. The same will be true of us. The more deeply we come to love God and are sanctified in him, the more our desires will be conformed to the plans God has always had for us.
So when you are following and obeying God, a good way to figure out what God has planned for you to do is to look at what you desire to do.