How to Know God’s Will for Your Life

🌺  Written by Brittany Ann

A woman with clasped hands has closed eyes and is smiling -- she looks peaceful. Over the photo is text that reads, How to Know God's Will for Your LifeI never set out to be a Christian author, speaker, or website owner. 

Maybe it’s because the Internet didn’t exist back then like it did today.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t see other speakers around me growing up, so I didn’t know it was an option.

Maybe it was because, at that point in my life, I wasn’t yet asking questions like, How to know God’s will for your life?

 

I thought I’d be a stay-at-home mom, a schoolteacher, a research psychologist, or even a famous country singer…

(And I still love all of these career options!)

But God had other plans for me. And God has plans for your life too.

 

In Jeremiah 29:11, God assures the Israelites currently in exile,

“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.”

 

But the exiled Israelites aren’t the only ones God had a plan for. Ephesians 2:10 tells us,

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

This verse applies to all believers, including you!

Even if you don’t know how to determine God’s will for your life, that doesn’t mean He doesn’t have one. It just means He hasn’t revealed it to you yet (or He has and you haven’t heard Him yet).

 

It can be so frustrating to wonder how to know God’s will for your life, yet not know where to start. 

Is God calling you to take this job or that one? Live here or there? Have more children or be content with the ones you have? Does He want you speak up about the sin you see around you or stay silent? Does He want you to pursue this goal or that one?

We’re faced with so many options! Which should we choose? And how do we know if it’s God’s will or our own?

 

That’s why, in this post, I’m sharing 5 tips for how to know God’s will for your life today.

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps cover the many costs of running this site and allows me to help provide for my growing family. Thank you!

 

Wondering How to Know God’s Will for Your Life Personally?

Do you struggle to understand how the Bible can lead your life today when it was written so long ago?

Maybe you want to follow God’s will, but you’re not sure how to apply His instructions in the Bible to relevant issues today, like abortion, LGBTQ rights, or toxic relationships.

I know how intimidating these issues can feel, which is why I wrote my newest book, Follow God’s Will: Biblical Guidelines for Everyday Life (along with the Follow God’s Will companion workbook).

Practical, encouraging, and full of biblical truth, Follow God’s Will is designed to help you answer questions including:

  • What does God want me to do?
  • How do I apply the Bible’s instructions to my life today?
  • Where is God calling me personally?
  • How can I make a difference right where I am?
  • How should I navigate relationships with those who think, act, or believe differently than I do?
  • And so many more!

Both books officially launch on October 4th, 2022, BUT you can start reading the first chapter today for free!

Simply enter your first name and email below, and I’ll send you an exclusive “first-peek” right away, right to your inbox!

 

 

1. How to Know God’s Will: Read God’s Word

 

Do you ever find yourself wondering, There are so many choices! So how to know what God wants me to do? I think just about every Christian asks this at some point!

You know what is amazing? God has left a written guide for the Christian life!

That’s right, the Bible is our instruction manual for how to know God’s will for your life. When we take the time to read God’s word, it becomes much easier to know God’s will. The apostle Paul writes,

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

 

Does this mean you can ask a question about God’s will, open the Bible, and find a step-by-step answer? Honestly, sometimes the answer is yes, and it is really that easy!

 

Sometimes the Bible speaks explicitly, telling us exactly what is expected of us.

For example, the Bible clearly tells us, “You shall not murder.” This command is given to Moses more than a thousand years before Jesus was born (Exodus 20:13). Jesus later affirms this and expands on it — he says that speaking in hatred is comparable to murder and has no place in the a believer’s life (Matthew 5:21-24).

We don’t have to wonder if it is okay to murder or hate — the Bible explicitly tells us it’s not!

 

Other times, the Bible speaks implicitly — it’s up to us to apply the Bible’s principles to our lives.

Maybe you are faced with the choice between two jobs. Neither one involves doing anything immoral — so how can you figure out God’s will when the Bible doesn’t tell you which job is better?

Here, the Bible provides implicit guidance. Jesus won’t tell us exactly which job to take. But Jesus DOES tell us that the two greatest commandments are are to love God and love others (Matthew 22:36-40).

With this command in mind, we can examine our choices to see how they’d affect our lives. I would ask things like: Will one of these jobs harm my relationship with God — through a toxic work environment or coworkers, or missing church on Sundays? Will it allow me to support my family in the way that is most important right now — financially, time-wise, or emotional energy required?

Even if you don’t see explicit instructions in the Bible, the implicit message in scripture can help with how to know God’s will for your life.

The more familiar you are with the scripture, the better you will know God. The more you know God, the easier and more natural it will be to hear God and follow His leading. Reading the Bible is the first step in how to know God’s will for your life.

 

If you find the Bible intimidating, or you don’t know where or how to start, I offer a guide for beginners that helps you choose a Bible, explains where to start, and gets you set up with a Bible reading plan! Don’t let fear or embarrassment keep you from reading the Bible to discover God’s will for you life!

 

2. Ask the Holy Spirit for Guidance in Finding God’s Will

 

Did you know that Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would live in each Christian, to be with us and help us forever?

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. … But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17) 

 

When you are wondering, How can I know God’s will for my life?, use this opportunity to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Be bold when you ask for guidance! The only “right way” to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance is to open your heart to God’s answer, and then listen for His leading.

You can be super specific with this request. Sometimes, I’ve pretty much given the Holy Spirit my detailed pro and con list when I’ve faced a specific problem, trusting that God will make His will clear to me.

Other times, I’ve sensed that God is calling me to something, but I couldn’t discern just what it was — and that’s exactly what I’ve told the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that even when we don’t know what to ask for,

“the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).

When it comes to listening for an answer, take note of small prompts around you. God might speak through a Bible passage; through advice from a friend; or through a sermon or podcast.

And don’t get stuck in thinking that God’s will is one path only, and that you’re in trouble if you wander off that path. Sure, sometimes God will provide a clear answer about what His will is, and then you are responsible to follow!

But other times, God might step back and let you choose.

When I take my kids to the ice cream shop, I usually give them a dollar limit as a guideline, then I let them choose what they want — and it’s honestly so fun! If I get a kick out of seeing what my children choose for ice cream, I can only imagine God’s pleasure in seeing us choose from the options He gives us!

 

3. Notice the Opportunities All Around You

 

There is only one you. God created you and put you in a very specific time and place, with opportunities that are available only to you.

YES, I truly believe in the power of thinking globally and looking for ways to serve beyond our immediate community. (In fact, “Sponsor a child in a developing nation” is one way to share the gospel without being weird or pushy!)

BUT, one answer to the question of how to know God’s will for your life is to take a good look at what is going on around you. 

God wants us to love Him and to love others, and God provides us with countless opportunities every single day. Do any of the following examples resonate with your day-to-day?

  • God’s will for you might be to volunteer with your children’s school to promote kindness on the playground.
  • God’s will might be to welcome your newest coworker with a coffee and 10 minutes of your time.
  • God’s will could be taking a new job with a community group to address an issue you’re passionate about.
  • Or maybe God’s will is to pay for the grocery order of the elderly person in the next lane who forgot his wallet.

 

As I shared at the beginning of this blog, my path to starting Equipping Godly Women wasn’t one that I predicted or mapped out. It didn’t come to me as an announcement from heaven.

Instead, Equipping Godly Women is the result of many, many, MANY small steps that I took one at a time. I knew that I wanted to follow God’s will for my life, and just what that was became more clear to me as I noticed the opportunities unique to my life.

God’s will for your life will often bloom in the same way. It will grow from the uniqueness of your life, desires, and personality. God is already equipping you and guiding you to follow His will in a way that fits the person He created you to be!

 

4. Ask Friends, Family, or Mentors for Their Advice

 

I’m very thankful for the relationships God has given me, especially when I’ve wondered how I can know God’s will for my life. Asking godly family, friends, and mentors for their advice can give us perspectives we may not see. 

One of the things I most appreciate about the way God made me is my very optimistic nature. It helps me think big, gives me energy to juggle several things at once, and allows me to be an encouragement to other people.

But, if you’re an optimist, or you know and love one, you probably know that sometimes very optimistic people really need a little reining in — before we have a million half-finished projects that are threatening to overwhelm us! I’ve gotten solid, God-given feedback at several times in my life that have made God’s will for my life much more clear.

Don’t shy away from asking others for advice! Other people may have expertise that you don’t; they may be able to shed light on how an important aspect of your personality fits (or doesn’t fit!) with what you are proposing; or they may help you articulate what God has placed on your heart.

Searching out godly advice is one of the best ways to know which of the “plans of the heart” are truly in line with God’s will for your life.

 

Listen to advice and accept discipline,
    and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:20-21)

 

5. Consider the Potential (Long-term) Impact of Your Decision

 

It’s true that we can’t predict the future, and there are many factors outside of our control. However, when asking how to know God’s will for your life, it is wise to take a look at the possible outcomes of your decision.

God gave us both the Holy Spirit and brains to evaluate our decisions and “to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). When faced with a decision and unsure of what God’s will is we can consider things like:

  • How will this affect my relationships with my family, friends, or church community?
  • What are the possible best and worse outcomes?
  • Is this something that might look foolish to the world but makes sense in light of what God is showing me? Or is this out of the blue and makes no real sense at all?
  • Will this bring me closer to discerning the next step in God’s will?

 

A single mom I know was in a job that mandated a massive switcheroo in her hours, big enough that it affected her ability to care for her kids. When she considered the impact on her family, alongside her real desires and passions, she felt God’s will telling her that it was okay to walk away from that job — even though she felt a little crazy doing it because she didn’t have another one lined up!

A year later, she is confident that leaving the first job was an important step in how to know the will of God.

Her current job is helping her discern her career path, while still allowing time for important side projects. She is able to see her kids even more than she did before. She has made connections that could help down the road. And she has learned to ask for and accept help from her support system, a lesson in humility that she wouldn’t otherwise have learned!

If you are feeling stuck in how to know God’s will for your life, consider the impacts of different decisions. Sometimes the things right in front of us consume so much energy that we neglect the big picture. Taking a breath and a step back to look at the long-term can help make God’s will more clear.

 

Ready to Discover How to Know God’s Will for Your Life?

Figuring out how to know the will of God should not be a stressful, “don’t you dare choose wrong” adventure. Not at all!

I want to help you know how to find God’s will for you life — in listening confidently, in identifying God’s direction in your life, and in following it boldly!

This is why I wrote my brand new book, Follow God’s Will: Biblical Guidelines for Everyday Life, along with the Follow God’s Will companion workbook.

Practical, encouraging, and full of biblical truth, Follow God’s Will is designed to help you answer questions including:

  • What does God want me to do?
  • How do I apply the Bible’s instructions to my life today?
  • Where is God calling me personally?
  • How can I make a difference right where I am?
  • How should I navigate relationships with those who think, act, or believe differently than I do?
  • And so many more!

Both books officially launch on October 4th, 2022, BUT you can start reading the first chapter today for free!

Simply enter your first name and email below, and I’ll send you an exclusive “first-peek” right away, right to your inbox!

 

In Case You Missed It

 

Equipping Godly Women is passionate about helping you seek God’s will for your life. Check out these related blog posts for even more practical ways to find, hear, and follow God’s will.

 

How Do I Hear God’s Voice Clearly?

How Do You Know When God Is Speaking to You?

How to Share the Gospel (Without Being Weird or Pushy)

How to Memorize Scripture (Quickly and Easily!)

 

How have you seen God’s will come to fruition in your life? Does one of the 5 tips from above speak to you about your life right now? We’d love to hear how you’ve answered the question of how to know the will of God!

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