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God’s Will – Stepping Into It

God's Will - Simple Living - Organization - Minimalist LivingImage: Bryon Lippincott Photography

Because I am a Christian, and I believe God’s will for my life is my best life possible, I have always been very interested figuring out God’s will.

I study and I pray.  I wish I could hear God like Abraham, or get clear signs like Gideon.  But as much as I have tried I find it hard to know what God really wants me to do.

I am embarrassed to say this as a Christian.. I believe God’s will is the most important thing to do.. and I am not always confident in what that is.

Finding God’s Will

There are some pretty obvious things I know are God’s will.  I know I need to:

  • Love and accept Him
  • Learn about Him
  • Love other people (even people I don’t like)
  • Follow what He says in the Bible (pretty much a catch all for a bunch of other God’s will kind of stuff)

This helps if I am thinking of robbing a bank or dealing with starving children – I know exactly what God’s will is in this situation.  But lots of my life isn’t like this.

How am I supposed to know what God’s will is day-to-day?

I believe my job as a mother is very important and taking the time to spend with my kids is definitely following God’s will.  I also think he wants us to live in the present and enjoy living – it is a gift to us everyday.

But beyond that?  What am I supposed to do?

I think this question paralyzes more Christians than just me.  We pray and look for big signs… we don’t want to screw something up – we need it to be really clear, right?

We are much more likely to pick up small tasks, like helping with church in some way, to follow God’s will.  But we find ourselves sitting and waiting before we make any big change to our life.  We want to be certain of a calling – have clear directions.

But it hit me a few weeks ago.

Do we feel called to living the life we (as Christians in a first world culture) are currently living?

Do we feel called to follow societies mold by living in a big house, having lots of things, and working for the next step in life’s ladder?

Um… I sure didn’t

But this so often seems to happen.  We continue on thinking we are doing what we are supposed to be doing just because it is comfortable and it is what other people agree with.  Just because it is easy and expected doesn’t mean it is God’s will.

BUT if we don’t feel called to what we are doing currently and we don’t feel called to a drastic change than what can we do? This is the really cool part.  

We start taking steps!

We start taking steps ‘following our heart’ (to use a non-religious term).

God can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving and he can’t steer you when you aren’t moving.

I believe He gives us ideas, talents, and interests (as long as they don’t involve robbing a bank) that lead us toward what He wants us to do.

Sometimes I feel guilty following my own interests thinking it is selfish and not focused on God, but I have seen God work through them.  I am slowly learning that unless I feel called to where I am currently there is probably somewhere else I should be and if I am moving God can direct me.

I never saw a spiritual reason for adopting minimalism but my clutter was driving me nuts.  Now that I look back I am confident that it is (and was) God’s will for me. 

Is there something you have been interested in trying, a place you have wanted to go, something that you have had a nagging feeling about?

Maybe this is God’s will for you.  Pray, move toward it, and keep praying for direction.

… unless you feel called to your current situation.

18 Comments

  1. I think we have to recognize and acknowledge God in everything ….in people, in nature, in our possession, in what we do and in the love we have for ourselves and others. We also have to live with high standards, expresseing the best of God’s nature in all the details…heres a small example: being clean and tidy in our appearance and surroundings, and thus expressing God’s beauty and order. We have to see His presence all around us, be focused on this. Aiming to be totally devoted and only focused on this. This to me is having the simplicity that is in Christ (ref 11 Cor 11:3 – KJV)

    Love what you say about being called… I have found that if I do something through my own will and not through God’s will for me, then God will tell me soon enough that I am on the wrong path and I change course..

  2. Wow! This is awesome. I think it’s hard sometimes to decide if I am following God’s will or my own, but usually if it isn’t God’s I get kind of a guilty feeling inside, and then I know I am probably being stubborn. Thank you for this beautiful post!

    Kate

  3. My journey into minimalism has completely felt like a call from God. It stems from my desire to live simply so I can be more generous to those in need (specifically those living in extreme poverty) and God has used many Bible verses to anchor me.

    Proverbs 30:8…”give me neither riches nor poverty, but give me only my daily bread”

    Philippians4:12….”I have learned the secret of being content”

    Matthew 6:19…”Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…”

    There are more.

    I do not believe God’s dream for us is anything similar to the American dream. I know I’m in danger of sounding like a hypocrite because my physical life still greatly resembles the American dream…2 kids, a house, 2 cars… but I hope and pray our heart and our actions don’t resemble the lifestyle.

    And as far as knowing God’s will – God gave me a verse for that too and it’s been so encouraging.
    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

    I know this doesn’t speak directly to owning less, but it’s encouraging to know to that God wants us to be joyful, pray and give thanks. That seems like a minimalist approach to being in God’s will.

    Blessings to you!

    • Great thoughts, Jill! I second all your thoughts and agree that for us, owning less certainly feels like a call. Thanks for this response to a wonderful post.

  4. Nancy

    Simplicity in life and practice helps us stay focused on what is really important in this very materialistic world. But true happiness doesn’t come from how much we own or how much we don’t own. I have chosen to be a Christian. By that I mean I’ve chosen to follow Jesus Christ. He is the source of my security and my happiness. As a Christian I have chosen to use my Bible as God’s word to me, and my rule of faith and practice. When I read my Bible I don’t see a God who is a minimalist in thought or action. In fact He is a lavish lover and an incredible creator of an infinity of wonderful things to enjoy. The philosophy of minimalism and of Zen Buddhism does not come from the Bible. On the surface it seems like a very beautiful philosophy But in the end it still has a focus on this world and on things. It lacks the real security and substance that must always come from God. Following God and His word is always the safest and most fulfilling life. God will always lead anyone who truly wants to find the truth. “And you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” I’m. Praying for you every day. God is faithful He will never leave you in your search for Him.

    • melissa

      I am interested in your thoughts about minimalism reflecting Zen philosophy. Perhaps as Christians we might focus on our dependence on Jesus rather than “stuff.” Christ has a lot to say about money as do letters of Paul. Most of these emphasis the need to give. I see no conflict between living a simple life and living a God centered one. I can live simply so I can give and love the Lord.

      • Nancy

        Minimalism does reflect Zen philosophy and Eastern Mysticism . And as a Christians I agree with you completely that my focus is on Jesus rather than stuff. I think that simple living is very much a part of a true Christian life. I see no conflict there. That’s one of the may reasons I enjoy and appreciate Lorilee’s website. I also love the way that she shares her personal spiritual thoughts and walk. Many if not all of us can identify with her search to know and follow “God’s will” Things start to get confusing or gray when I try to figure out the principal behind a philosophy that says- You can choose your own life. Do your own thing and shed societies restraints when necessary to follow your dreams and do what is really important to you. you can do anything you like as long as it is morally acceptable. Getting rid of stuff and simple living is a great way to facilitate this.
        This attitude in a line might read.
        “Do what thou wilt/don’t let anyone judge you”
        But something is wrong with the picture when a Christian compares that with the attitude and choice of Christ who in His daily walk , both in life and death said..
        ” Not my will but Thine be done”. And Jesus warned us to be sober and vigilant because we have an advisory. (who coats poison with candy) We Christians need to look carefully at the spirit and principles behind our life’s decisions to be sure they lead in the right direction.

      • Zen Buddhism isn’t about this either and I don’t want you to take the meaning of my site wrong. If you are interested in learning more about Zen Buddhism I would recommend ‘Hand Wash Cold’. I really enjoyed the book and I have had a chance to interact with Karen a few times. It helped me understand more about the religion.

        They are often seen talking about minimalism because they see the problems that materialism and western society/culture creates in studying and practicing their religion.

        As a Christian we have this same problem. Somehow, even though every (good) Bible character followed God instead of stuff and position, our current Christian culture looks just like the world around us. We also somehow see Christianity and responsibility as following cultural rules like getting bigger houses, more cars, more work, more stress, more debt. We can come up with great reasons like entertaining, church work, witnessing but these are cultural rules and not biblical.

        I am not saying on this site that you should do whatever you want and go against following Gods leading. I am saying that God’s will isn’t acting out western societies expectations and we need to realize this. It is our spiritual responsibility to make ourselves able to be used. If we are too busy, too far in debt, too unhealthy we are missing out on spiritual calling… and a whole lot of enjoyment of living as well.

      • Nancy

        Thank you for clarifying this Lorilee. I had never thought that true Christianity had anything to do with Being materialistic. Simple living as I see it is basic to Bible Christianity. Of course the Western materialistic culture we live in has long claimed to be a Christian culture So I can see how some might think that materialism was a part of a Christian lifestyle but you and I know that it truly is not. To be honest I do not know a lot about Zen Buddhism philosophy Or values, but I understand that minimalism is a part of it. Thank you for sharing The book referral. You are obviously well read. I would be interested in knowing more about where you as a Christian blogger Differ from Zen Buddhism And what minimalism has to do with either Religion.

  5. Rosalia

    Thank you Lorilee for sharing your musings and your seeking and the answers you are finding. I share your thoughts and your questions often myself and believe that slowly (because I’m slow, not God) God is showing me my own selfishness, particularly with my use of time–particularly in initiating people contacts; and my need to love more–to constantly be on the lookout for ways to show it. This isn’t all that deep or philosophical, but it is what God has been doing with and for me–as little as it is, compared to His marvelous gifts to me, especially as we consider the events of the first Easter Week-end.

  6. Rhonda

    Hi!
    I sure enjoy your blog! I’m fiftysomething, and
    I am still learning what God’s plan is for me.
    You just never know what will be given to you!
    When I was was fortyfour, God gave us a little
    blessing! She was eight months old when she
    came into our lives! Then at fortyeight, another
    little blessing came to us! We got her right out
    of the hospital, and I was able to nurse her!
    God is so amazing!
    Now if He could help me become a minimalist
    I could live with that! We have a 900 Sq. Ft.
    Cottage ( we were empty nesters before our
    little girls came to us) I just bought your book
    tonight! I can’t wait to read it!
    ~Blessings~
    Rhonda

  7. Josh Moore

    Hi, I just stumbled upon your website and ended up on this post. I found this sermon really helpful, and thought you might find it of value too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYdBMlmJ6Oc

    Grace and peace,

    Josh

  8. Ash Newman

    The ultimate minimalist religion

    I dumped x-tianity when I realised the Jews were right all along. Did I become a Jew? No. It’s not necessary. The Rabbi told me about Benai Noach (Children of Noah) or being a ‘righteous gentile’.

    It simply involves following the Sheva Mitzvot (7 laws of Noah) according to the Torah.

    •Prohibition of idolatry
    •Prohibition of murder
    •Prohibition of theft
    •Prohibition of sexual immorality
    •Prohibition of blasphemy
    •Prohibition of eating flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive
    •Establishment of courts of law (aka, set up a system of justice)

    Follow those and you have a place in the world to come. Simple.

    You can do ‘extra’ to achieve more blessings such as ‘honour your parents’etc

    That’s it! No fasting, ritual or other ‘religious’ stuff (That is for Jews – G_d’s appointed Nation of Priests)No church, no big haired preachers bilking millions from the gullible, no child molester priests etc.

    How’s that for minimalist?

  9. Sarah

    I found your blog today and after reading many posts read this one. I am almost thirty, have four children, love my religion and family, yet feel as something is still missing. Simplifying my life has been on my mind for awhile now, and I feel it is a little nudge from God. When we had two children we lived in a one bedroom apartment because that is all we could afford. I felt deprived at the time. I finally have everything I thought I wanted (bigger house, clothes, decorations) and now realize this is not what I want at all.
    I too want to do God’s will for me. I know I am a child of God. I know where I came from, and I know what lies ahead of this life if I can truly follow Christ and keep his commandments. But all this “stuff” I now have is consuming all of my time. Without it I now realize I can do much more. Your post eloquently stated all that has been on my mind. Thank you for taking time out of your day for this blog. God bless you and your family.

    • Sarah, great to meet you! Thanks for your comment and kind words. You are totally welcome :)

  10. marlene

    As I Christian I think minimalism actually fits very good with God’s designs. Is a tool that help us to focus more on the spiritual side of life instead of the material one. We have more time to “give” that in the end is what’s going to fill us up and eventually will create a better environment.
    We end up realizing that life is even more beautiful just enjoying its basic foundations. We don’t need excess to be happy, but just the basics, as God wanted for us to enjoy from the very beginning.

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