I grew up in a church community where God’s will was a tangible thing. God’s hand rested heavy on the world in our view of things, and we had our part to play in God’s mission.
So, discovering God’s will for our lives was crucial. What a waste it would be, we worried, to live one’s life and find out when all was said and done, that we had been outside of God’s will! A reasonable fear.
Of course, certain aspects of God’s will were crystal clear. Murder, and lying, even disobeying parents were outside of God’s will.
Our particular tribe had a few addendums: It wasn’t God’s will to drink alcohol, or go to movies, or for boys and girls to be alone together until they got married!
As I grew up, conversations about God’s will expanded to include significant life decisions. Who to date, then who to marry. What college to go to. What major to take. Where to move. If you wanted to please God with your life, it could become quite stressful trying to sort through all the possibilities.
For some of the more sensitive among us, it could be guilt-inducing too! There were always folks in the community who talked about their iron-clad sense of God’s will for their lives. But what if you didn’t feel that way? What then? Was it because you weren’t listening? Maybe you weren’t praying in the right way? Were you sinning, and now God was leaving you to your own devices?
Yikes. Looking back, I’m sad at how much stress we piled on top of good people who just wanted to please God. Have you felt any of this?