February 27, 2010

Imma be . . .


I must preface this post by saying that this is merely a venting of my confusion, not at all an outpouring of revelation or any insight. I'm just feeling a little lost and I'm going to express that now.

On a side note, I am SO excited about the recent influx of new bloggers (or return thereof) that I am friends with. It makes me want to write more. But, I also feel like I need something profound or insightful before I can post . . . alas, this post is not going to be either, as I mentioned just now. So with a loud sigh, here I go.

So . . . God's will. God's sovereign will, God's moral will, God's individual will (or the theory of).

I'm here to talk about the idea of God's individual will for one's life . . . and how I am stumped.

I am bad at making decisions for my own life. I want God to take the wheel. I want to trust that my loving Father is guiding my course through everyday life, and that takes a lot of pressure off of me having to make decisions. There are little things I'd like to have the freedom to choose, like what kind of caffeinated beverage I'm going to drink in the morning or how long I'm going to go running, but that stuff is so insignificant that I'm cool with that level of decisiveness resting upon me.

I started reading this book called "Decision Making and the Will of God" by Garry Friesen.

J.D. has also spoken on the will of God . . . how it's more of a direction than a center of a target, more of a compass than a charted map.

I understand that I cannot sit at home and wait for the audible voice of my creator to tell me when to go to the gym, what color shoes I need to wear, or what route to take to get to the mall. I also understand that it would be foolish to rely only on my desires, feelings and opinions throughout the course of my existence, without acknowledging how God might want me to live my life.

So this book is challenging the theory of individual will - does God actually have a specific, individual will for each of us? A course that He desires us to take specifically - what job to take, who to marry, where to live, etc?

So far, what I'm getting is "no." What I'm gathering from the book is that God has a moral will for how He desires every believer to live, and basically you have freedom and responsibility when it comes to decision making. So . . . if I was choosing whom to marry, I would evaluate whether it's a wise decision and if it's in the moral will of God, if it's a Biblical decision, and then go from there. I have that freedom.

Well, I don't know that I like that. I want God to pick out who I'm going to marry. Shoot, I don't even know if there is a future hubby out there. I want God to determine those things and set the course for me, dang it!

I'm having a lot of difficulty trying to understand this - let's be honest, the book is really long and I don't want to read it. I am getting frustrated even writing this blog . . . just thinking about it.

I think the biggest issue is that it's making God feel distant. I've always believed that God is very personal - He created the stars in the sky, but He also knows how many hairs are on my head . . . He knew me before I was born (For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. -Psalm 139:13). He has adopted us to be His children (How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! -1 John 3:1) . . . He personally guided Israel through the desert, He spoke and personally guided Moses, Joshua, David, Paul . . . I could go on.

Which leads me to see God's character. Which leads me to believe that He will guide and direct me . . . that He loves me and is watching over me, that He is in loving control and is orchestrating and weaving together the details of my life.

And I have seen it from experience - from my own life and from others. There are specific areas of my life where, without a doubt, I know that it was God who ordained certain circumstances and outcomes. And from friends - I have seen people be specifically called by God to be missionaries, or to do certain things. My dad truly believes that He was supposed to marry my mom. My grandma told me that God audibly told her that He had chosen my grandfather for her to marry.

So . . . what the crap. I'm just confused now. Have I been misinterpreting scripture? Have I been misinterpreting God's hand in my life? Have people been misled or misinterpreting God's sovereignty?

If God just has a general direction for us to follow, and doesn't have specific details like who to marry, where to live, what job to take . . . then He feels distant. Does this mean that God doesn't care about these things? Does it mean that He really isn't guiding me day to day? That He isn't as personal and intimate as I believe?

I think I'm going to bash my head into the wall. I know that this book is written by a man and it's not scripture, but it's leading me to think that I've been misinterpreting scripture all along, which changes everything. I cannot help but see God's character in scripture which shapes my view of Him and how He is working in my life. I cannot help but see His hand and His ordinance and provision evidenced by events in my own life and of those lives around me.

Yet . . . still insanely frustrated and unresolved over this.


  1. Sarah, God loves you. He has a plan for your life. He wants to continue to make you more like Christ. But he isn't interested in making your decisions for you.

    Maybe this will be better if I apply it to myself because I don't want it to come across as me lecturing at you. God loves me so much that he wants me to make my own decisions. After all, what loving relationship was ever based on one person having total control over the other? That's not a relationship at all. He created me in His image. He expects me to make decisions that affect the world around me to become with him a co-creator. My purpose is to love God and glorify Him by joining him in reconciling His creation to Himself. What part of that could possibly not involve my own decision-making?

    Moreover, if God was interested in shaping our decisions for us and protecting us from our own mistakes where was God in the Garden of Eden? Why allow the poor decision of Adam and Eve if he was interested in controlling us? That doesn't mean God can't intervene, it doesn't mean He is not active in the world and it certainly doesn't mean He doesn't care. That's why He allows the ability to shape our world because He does love us. He wants us to have faith in Him because He has faith in us.

  2. this is super interesting sarah, and it definitely has me thinking. i have been faced with decisions in the past where both paths seemed good and fine and i drove myself crazy trying to figure out which was one "right" and which one was "wrong". this is what i decided: if you have prayed about a major decision, if it is not morally wrong, and if you don't choose one over the other for purely selfish reasons, i think God will be with you in that decision. i definitely think God knows all, but i don't think He chooses for us. He knows who we will marry, what jobs we will hold, and where we will vacation five years from now. don't let that discourage you from thinking God isn't involved because the coolest thing is, is that He knows us SO WELL that He knows what will make us happy, what will make us sad, what will make us giddy, what will infuriate us. He knows that a certain job is so perfect for you, and He can't wait until you discover it. He knows that mr. right is out there and He can't wait for you to meet because you guys are going to be such a great team. i take comfort in the fact that no matter what decision i make, God will be with me to help me learn a lesson from my mistake or He will be with me to celebrate a victory. i guess when you look at life as a HUGE learning process, every path you take is necessary.

  3. Thank you guys for reading and commenting - I need to hear these things, and I know that God is working through you in these situations/conversations . . . I am so grateful!

    . . . which inevitably leads me to pose another question - so if God is giving me the freedom and responsibility to choose or make certain decisions, how much is He involved in the circumstances of our lives?

    I have believed that God's hand and provision was clearly at work in certain situations in my life. If He is not making a decision for me . . . does that mean that He has not predestined, chosen, or woven certain circumstances together? Is it random that I live here, work here, have certain people in my life, or is it God's doing? Can I be confident when I refuse to believe in coincidence, or is there still coincidence/randomness allowed within the free will?

    this may be an endless black hole/cycle of questioning . . .

  4. I'm not sure I have any good answers to these questions. But let's start with what we know from scripture. God is active in the world. He is active when he directly speaks to people (Moses, Abraham). He is active when he actually appears on the earth (Christ). He is active through His Spirit (Pentecost). He is active through the church (Acts). There is not one example in scripture I can think of where God wants a person to do something and does not directly spell it out for them, either through His audible voice or a strong leading of His Spirit.

    So God has ingrafted you into His Body, the church, to make you a part of what he is doing in the world and He seals you with His Spirit to guide you in the right direction. So if you make a decision and have the Holy Spirit, who is to say who made the decision? Who is to say where you end and the Holy Spirit begins?

    Your questions are based on the idea that God needs to work on the external cirumstances in order to guide your life on the path He has laid out for you. But can't he just as easily work out the details of your life by working in the internal aspects of your faith, character, and holiness? If God's ultimate purpose is to transform us into the likeness of His Son, then where we live, or what job we have, or who we marry probably won't be the determining factor on whether or not we work out His purpose in our lives.


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