Are you searching for God’s will for your life? You want to follow Jesus but you’re worried you’ll miss the mark. You’re starting to overthink every decision, step, future plan…and you feel paralyzed by indecision and anxiety.
Fear not, beloved child! I learned how to stop overthinking God’s will for my life, and I use it almost every single day. It’s based on Oswald Chambers’ wisdom in My Utmost for His Highest.
One of the biggest decisions of my life was moving to Africa to teach for three years. I really wanted to go, but I couldn’t find the right teaching job. I started overthinking my decision, wondering if God’s will for my life was in Africa. Then I decided to proceed in the direction of my dreams and goals, and let God take care of the rest.
Three closed doors had to open before I could move to Africa.
First, I needed to find a job at a Christian school that actually paid its teachers (as opposed to teachers raising their own money, like many missionaries do). So I prayed. “Father, if it’s Your will that I teach in Africa, please give me a paying position. I can’t picture myself raising money. I’m not rooted in a home church or spiritual community, I have nobody to lean on. Please help me financially.”
Second, I was still studying to be a teacher. I was finishing the last three courses of my education degree at the University of Alberta, and needed special permission from three professors. I would have to take my final exams early to be in Africa for the first day of school. Two instructors immediately granted permission; the third refused. He said I’d miss too much coursework. Plus, he had an ethical problem with a new teacher not completing her full course load before teaching. That made me start overthinking my decision to teach overseas and I almost withdrew my request…but I decided to trust God and keep moving forward. Eventually, the instructor granted permission.
Third, my only option in Africa—Rosslyn Academy—refused to hire me. That door slammed shut, which didn’t make me overthink my decision. It took the decision right out of my hands! The school’s policy was to hire teachers with at least one year of experience. Plus, their positions were filled for the upcoming year. Woe was me for a month, until out of the blue they requested a phone interview. The eighth-grade teacher they had hired changed her mind about taking the position, leaving an unexpected opening.
And so to Africa I moved.
How to Stop Overthinking God’s Will for Your Life
Instead of overthinking a big decision or small next step—whether it’s a big leap or a little change—have faith that God is guiding you. Even if you don’t feel a discernible tug or hear a loud shout, trust that He is leading you onward. You can proceed confidently in the direction of your dreams.
As Oswald Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest, “When you have a right-standing relationship with God, you have a life of freedom, liberty, and delight; you are God’s will. And all of your commonsense decisions are actually His will for you, unless you sense a feeling of restraint brought on by a check in your spirit. You are free to make decisions in the light of a perfect and delightful friendship with God, knowing that if your decisions are wrong He will lovingly produce that sense of restraint. Once He does, you must stop immediately.”
Take small steps toward your dreams and goals
Look for open doors that invite you to proceed and closed doors that warn you to stop. Take the next commonsense step through open doors — be curious and faithful! Remember that a closed door is a sign to yield or shift direction. God has led you in the past; reflect on how He guided you before. What warning signs did you ignore? What invitations did you accept? If you come to an open or closed door, refuse to overthink God’s will for your life. Simply proceed.
Often, the first step is research or information gathering. Explore the possibilities, discover opportunities. Are you bored and unfulfilled? Try a different volunteer or work role, join a new group, go on a missions trip. Are you struggling with fear, anxiety, or paralysis? Get support.
God isn’t trying to trick or confuse you. When you step forward in faith, He will show you the next step. You don’t need to find His “perfect plan” — He rarely reveals everything all at once! Stay connected to the Holy Spirit, and walk with Jesus one step at a time.
What decision are you overthinking? Write down the obstacles holding you back — the big and little fears, anxieties, struggles and possible problems. What’s the worst case scenario? You may not even know what you’re scared of because the future is unknown! Instead of overthinking God’s will for your life, take one small commonsense step forward. Know that He will close the wrong doors and open the right ones…even if it doesn’t happen overnight.
With His love,
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Need encouragement? Stay in touch!