How to Discern God’s Plan for Your Life
By Drenda Keesee
Should you marry him?
Should you quit your job?
Should you move?
As Christians, we want to follow God and serve Him with our lives. But how do we know what God’s plan is for us?
We may not be sure which decision to make, what God is calling us to do, or whether we’re doing the right thing or not. So, how do we discern what God wants for us without letting our thoughts or feelings get in the way?
Here are three tips on how to discover your purpose!
1. Spend Time with God.
In order to know God’s voice, you have to spend time with Him. You can’t expect to discern His voice if you are unfamiliar with what it sounds like.
“How do I hear God’s voice?”
I hear this asked all of the time.
So many people have told me they feel like they can’t hear God. They’re expecting the loud, booming voice they’ve seen in old Christian movies that say, “Thus saith the Lord,” but it never comes.
The reality is that God is trying to speak to them every day, so where is the mix-up?
Most of the time, God does not speak in an audible voice. My husband describes God’s voice as sounding like a thought, but with a different twang or conviction behind it. It’s often hard to shake, let go of, or you feel it in your gut.
The more you take the time to listen to God’s voice, the more you’ll learn to recognize it! And, on the flip side, when we never take the time to listen for God, our spirits become quiet and His voice gets softer.
A great place to start is by reading God’s Word! God will speak to people in different ways, but if you want to learn His voice, spend time in the Bible.
Romans 10:17 (NLT) says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”
When we are consistently spending time in God’s Word, we will be able to recognize His voice when He speaks!
2. Be Still and Listen.
We live in a culture that is constantly giving us ideas on how to live, dress, talk, and everything in between. We are constantly being bombarded with ads on TV, online, and on social media.
Let’s face it, our culture is afraid to be bored. We put on music in the car, look at our phones 24/7, and sometimes even juggle multiple forms of entertainment at one time. Nowadays, we hardly go to the restroom without our phones!
When we constantly surround ourselves with noise, it can be hard to hear the still, small voice of God.
It’s easy to miss the voice of God in the midst of all of our entertainment. With all the noise coming at us, it’s more important than ever that we take TIME to listen for God’s voice.
Set aside a certain amount of time each day to spend with Him. If you miss it some days, that’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. But it’s important to make God your priority if you expect to hear from Him. David describes God’s Word as his guide in Psalm 119:105, and that is what the Bible is meant to be. It will guide us through life and help us learn about God and His character.
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105, NLT).
Relationships are a two-way street. That goes for our relationship with the Lord as well. God is perfect, and He is always there for us. If we want to turn to Him at any point in the day, no matter what we have or have not done, He will be there to love and support us.
Still, relationships require effort on both ends. If we are not spending time in prayer, worship, reading the Bible, and learning more about God, then we won’t be able to recognize His voice. The more time we spend with God, the more clearly we will hear Him and recognize His voice—just like in any relationship!
“For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”
—Jeremiah 29:11-13 (CSB)
God tells us in His Word that we WILL find Him when we seek Him. He is not hiding from us. He wants us to seek Him, and He wants to lead us. He has a plan for our lives, and He wants to support and guide us on it.
3. Let Go of What Holds You Back.
Not spending enough time with God isn’t always what is holding us back from hearing Him. Sometimes we have to cleanse our lives of things that are not of God.
We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 8:28). But sometimes, living in sin or unforgiveness can keep us from hearing God. If we are pursuing worldly things that are not of God, we may have a hard time hearing God and being able to fully commit to following His plan for us.
We may say we want His plan in prayer or in a small group, but if how we spend our time, money, and resources is toward a worldly lifestyle, then our lives will be headed in that direction.
Everyone faces different temptations in life. No matter what temptation you may be facing, the Bible tells us to get rid of everything that is slowing us down in pursuing God’s plan for our lives.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
—Hebrews 12:1-2a (NLT)
The Bible commands us to throw off everything that causes us to stumble. It also tells us in Romans 14:13 (NLT) to “live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.”
Ask the Holy Spirit what you need to get rid of in your life. It may be a habit, the TV shows you are watching, what you spend your time thinking about, or even a group of people with whom you may need to limit your time. All people are created in the image of God, and He loves them all, but if they are hindering you from following the Lord, then it may be time to limit their access into your life.
The Importance of Discerning God’s Plan for Your Life
Discerning God’s plan for your life is critical in order to follow it. If you don’t know where He is leading you, then how will you be able to follow? You may be confused as to what your purpose in life is. I want to assure you that God has a plan for your life. He has had a plan specifically for you since before you were born, and He wants to see you walk it out. He won’t abandon you either (Deuteronomy 31:6)!
Stepping out in faith and following God’s plan can seem daunting. But if God is leading you to something, you WILL have peace about it. If you are unsure, continue to seek God about it, along with consulting with other believers. Ask them to pray for you as well. That’s why Christian friends are so important! If you aren’t a part of a small group, join a Happy Life group today and get connected with some like-minded women! The best part is that you can connect with your small group from the comfort of your home!
It’s never too late to step out and follow God. He will meet you wherever you are in life. You may have missed out on previous opportunities, but it’s never too late to follow Jesus. If you ask Him to lead you, He will. That’s why God sent us the Holy Spirit—to be our guide in life. God wants to guide you and to see you fulfill the plan He has for your life!
Are you looking for a good church? Be sure and listen on Saturday evening or catch the 3 services on Sunday for Faith Life Church!
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Tune in for their weekly messages here. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide, and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary, and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesees have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.