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As a college professor, I cannot begin to tell you the number of times students have asked me the question, “How do I find God’s plan for my life?”
As much as I would like to say there is an easy step-by-step approach to finding that answer, there simply is not. However, I do believe there are a few ways that God has revealed His plans in my own life.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).
Below are five ways that God has directed my steps and revealed His plans to me:
1. Steps: God has your steps ordered, and every step that you take teaches you something new. Please do not get frustrated with the steps or try to skip any of them. They are for a specific purpose, and they will teach us important concepts and skills that we will need in the future. Zechariah 4:10 says, “Don’t despise the small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way,” (Ps. 37:23).
2. Seasons: Just as God has revealed His plans to me through steps, He has also revealed His plans through seasons. Every season has a purpose and I have learned so much in the different seasons that I have had to walk through. These seasons have helped me grow and they have prepared me for the doors that God would open in the future. As a young college student working in the Campus Pastor’s office, my job responsibility was to create recordings of recent sermons on cassette tapes. I was stuck in a small room by myself for hours on end doing nothing more than copying the tapes. It was a tedious job that many would not want.
If I am being honest, at times I felt unimportant and unappreciated. Little did I know that God was up to something. During that season he taught me patience, humbleness and the importance of a good work ethic. I also had the opportunity to listen to hundreds of sermons. I now speak in various venues, including the university’s chapel services. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man (Colossians 3:23).
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities” (Luke 16:10).
3. Speed Bumps and Stop Signs: When considering the ways that God has revealed His plans in my life, He often uses speed bumps and stop signs. Speed bumps are used to slow me down. By nature, I am a guy who likes to get things done. I am not always a patient person and by placing speed bumps in my path, God seems to be saying, “Listen, I have got this. Stop trying to open the doors on your own and let Me open them in My timing.”
And then there are stop signs. I am so thankful for the stop signs because they stop me from walking through a doorway that is not best for me, my family or anyone else. Several years ago, I was offered a ministry job that to others, seemed perfect. It had a prestigious title, provided great ministry opportunities and the compensation package was excellent. I prayed, sought wise counsel and asked the Lord for confirmation. Those watching from the outside felt strongly that it was the perfect position for me.
The only problem was, no matter how much I tried to talk myself into being excited, peace did not come. In fact, I felt just the opposite. That was a stop sign experience, and I am so thankful that I paid attention to what the Holy Spirit was saying to me. Several months later, I learned that financial difficulty struck that particular ministry and the “perfect job” no longer existed. Be thankful for the stop signs that God uses to protect you.
4. Setups: Some people would call these divine appointments. I call them, “setups.” Setups are those times when God uses people or events to speak life to your dreams or help you grasp hold of a plan that you did not think was possible. Back in 2008, one of these setups occurred in my life. I was invited to have lunch with two of my pastor friends and the intention was nothing more than to have a burger together. However, that meal at the diner ended up changing the entire trajectory of my life. I was invited to travel with a team to South Africa, and the purpose was to conduct leadership training for church leaders. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to train leaders in Indonesia, Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Cambodia and the Philippines. It only takes one setup to change your life. Some of God’s greatest plans are revealed through divine appointments.
5. Stillness: I believe God has often used stillness to reveal His plan in my life. When I was young, my grandmother used to tell me, “Listen for that still, small voice.” The Holy Spirit will speak, but we must be willing to listen. God often tells me to hush. I must get rid of the distractions and rest in His promises. I must dive into the Word and saturate the atmosphere with worship. If we are seeking Him, scripture tells us that we will find Him. Pray and listen carefully. If He wants you to do something, He will confirm it. You are His kid, and He is not going to fail you. He will never leave you. He will never let you down. Be still and know that He is God.
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).
When trying to find God’s plan for your life, please remember what God says about you. You are His masterpiece, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Stop worrying so much about making a mistake. He just wants you to walk step by step trusting in Him in all your ways.
He will direct your paths. Rest in that truth. You are loved. You are called. You are chosen. And God has an amazing plan for your life.
This article originally appeared at thinke.org.
Dr. Jason Robinson is an Associate Professor of Education at Lee University in southeast Tennessee. Jason is a local, state and national award-winning educator who has a passion for teaching and equipping the next generation of leaders. He and his family reside in Cleveland, Tennessee.