Five Simple Steps to Discover God’s Plans for You

photo courtesy of yanific at http://www.sxc.hu

That very title, “Five Simple Steps to Discover God’s Plans for You” has some of you already objecting with, “You’ve got to be kidding! Simple? Discovering God’s Plans?” Others of you are already forming your questions:

Who should I marry? Should I go back to school? Is this the place where God wants me to serve? Should I start my own business? Should I homeschool my kids? When should I buy a home? When should I retire? Where is God calling me? Is this job a dead-end? What’s the next step in my life? Which church should I attend? Am I really on track with God’s will for my life?

Does “Five Steps” sound too simplistic? Maybe. Is it possible we sometimes complicate God’s will or God’s plans for our lives? How do we figure out those plans? Just what ARE those plans? 

God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11 gives us a clue: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

TWO THINGS TO BELIEVE

From that verse we can believe two things:

1. God’s plans are always good (not harmful to us).

2. God’s plans are always designed to bring us good (hope and a future).

But how do we handle the big decisions in life? How do we know if we’re making the ones that will bring good for us?

FIVE SIMPLE STEPS

Here are five simple steps that might help. They’re not exclusive, and may appear too simple for you. But I believe they work:

  • ASK. You want wisdom? James 1:5-6 says to ask God for it. But believe God will give it to you. Most of us have a tendency to figure things out on our own. God is saying, “Hello, I’m here. I made you. Trust me.”
  • BE FAITHFUL WHERE YOU ARE. God will not give you greater opportunities or responsibilities if you aren’t faithful with what He’s already entrusted you in the smaller areas of your life (See Matthew 25:21). Serve Him cheerfully, gratefully, faithfully, wherever you are, no matter what your lot in life may be right now.
  • LISTEN. Continue to study and pray (and even fast), watching for insights from God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. Other trusted believers can help balance your perspective. But in the end, God and His Word never change. (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17). God will not “tell” you to do something that is against His righteous character or contrary to the principles in His Word. His Word is powerful, bringing instruction, correction, training, and equipping us thoroughly “for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Trying to make decisions without consulting God or His Word is like trying to find our way through a dark tunnel without a flashlight.
  • WAIT. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, waiting is not always easy. Sometimes God gives you more than one good choice. That happened to us one year when two churches were interested in my husband coming to serve as a new staff member. Both churches seemed like possible fits. We considered both, but had no answers. So we waited and prayed. Before we had to make a decision, God had eliminated one and cleared the way for the other.    

However, another time earlier in his life, Larry faced two good decisions. Both seemed great choices: attend college or serve in a missionary program for two years first. He ultimately decided God would have been pleased with either choice. So he ultimately chose one with confidence.

But either way, waiting on God before you act or decide allows you time to think, pray, and listen for that wisdom God has promised.

I confess to being a “show-me” kind of woman. “God, will you please show me clearly what to do and when to do it?” Waiting is not my favorite thing to do. Yet through the years I’ve discovered that God sometimes delays His clear-cut answers to cultivate our trust in Him alone–and not on our own wisdom. Unfortunately, I often learned that the hard way!

It’s not always a matter of us waiting on Him. Sometimes God is waiting on us…for our character to catch up with His desires for us (or for His plans to become our plans).

  • OBEY. Similar to #2 above, simply keep doing what you know to do, day in and day out. Stay faithful, keep growing, stop worrying, and obey God with the light that He has given you. If your heart’s desire is to please and honor the Lord in all you do and in all your decisions, will that decision really be a “bad” one? 

QUESTIONS? TWO MORE TRUTHS

Still have questions? But what about….what if….? We’ll always have questions. Remember the two things we can count on about God and His plan for us. Then remind yourself of two more familiar truths:

  • There is a God.
  • We’re not Him.

Bottom line: Does God keep His promises? Absolutely. Can we trust a God who never changes? Yes! Is God faithful? What do you think?

I’d love to hear your comments below. You will not be hounded, prodded, or automatically added to my mailing list if you do so. And your e-mail address does not show to the public, only the name that you use. Feel free to send this blog to someone or to repost on social media, but please do so with the buttons below, which will automatically include the link to my website. If you want to repost any of my blogs on your own blog or website, please contact me for permission first.

There’s still time to be entered into the book giveaway for Karen O’Connor’s book, The Upside of Downsizing. Just go to last week’s blog and leave a comment there as to why you want the book or add your own experience of downsizing. The deadline is March 15.

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    Comments

    49 Responses to “Five Simple Steps to Discover God’s Plans for You”

    1. Betty on February 28th, 2011 8:43 pm

      Dear Rebecca,

      Words just cannot express how much I enjoy your news letters.
      They are so inspiring, and very helpful, and you always brighten my days.

      Sincerely,

      Betts

    2. JASON FROM BORONIA VICTORIA AUSTRALIA on February 28th, 2011 10:31 pm

      GOD HAS PLANS FOR ME!

    3. Rebecca on March 1st, 2011 1:40 pm

      Thanks, Betty. I appreciate your encouragement.

    4. Kemba on March 10th, 2011 11:57 am

      Wow, your message was on key. I thought to myself ” we could be friends, waiting can be so tiring but I trust God his plans are the best”.
      Keep up the good work

      With love from Trinidad and Tobago
      Kemba

    5. Rebecca on March 10th, 2011 7:25 pm

      Thank you Kemba, for your encouragement!

    6. Paula on March 24th, 2013 8:28 pm

      Thank you for your faith and your wisdom and for sharing this with your readers. Your words gave me great comfort and a reminder to trust in the timing of The Lord.

    7. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on March 26th, 2013 9:41 am

      Thanks, Paula, for stopping by, and for your encouraging comments.

    8. Elle's Ekpes on April 3rd, 2013 3:34 am

      It’s great to have read ur message inspiring and worth presentation to an audience of the people of God. Thanks a lot and Godbless

    9. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on April 5th, 2013 8:40 am

      Thanks, Elle, for stopping by.

    10. Elina Munkondia on April 8th, 2013 4:23 pm

      Dear Rabecca,
      I am truly inspired by your words. I’m at a point in my life where I ve done all I can in my own strenght and its failed. I don’t want to do that any more. I want to obey God and trust that he knows exactly where he wants me to be. Keep up the good work.

    11. Abraham kwapong on May 10th, 2013 8:02 am

      I want know God well,and serve him well.

    12. samuel on May 14th, 2013 10:35 am

      Thank u so much for posting this message on your blog, is has realy helped me learn to wait on God rather then rush through life,
      I am 22 and want to do God’s will in my life and your message is very inspiring and encouraged me to have patience

      God Bless.

    13. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on May 17th, 2013 10:31 am

      Samuel, I’m grateful that this post blessed you. Thank you for stopping by. God bless you as you seek His will.

    14. Joshua on June 25th, 2013 11:06 am

      I mst say dat i have not be dis happy lik i am now am so glade dat am now part of dis God’s wrk.

    15. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on June 29th, 2013 3:49 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us, Joshua.

    16. Santiago Gomez on July 3rd, 2013 10:53 am

      thank you so much for these words, they have help me somehow and yeah I still continue looking for what God wants me to do. I think about it everyday because I have so many options in front of me, I know is hard but you are right we should wait patiently, pray about it a lot and never stop seeking our father. I definitely will mediate these scriptures you mentioned on the steps. Thank you once again, this touches people’s lives including me God bless you :)
      Let’sGo!!!!!!

    17. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on July 3rd, 2013 11:34 am

      Thank you, Santiago, for your affirming words. May the Lord continue to give you wisdom as you wait upon Him.

    18. debbie vance on August 11th, 2013 4:02 pm

      I have put in some applications at some other health care places and pray that I will get hired at one of them. I pray that God will see in his heart that I want this, but so far no luck. I am trying not to get discourage for I am wantinga new life and change in jobs. I sometimes wonder. Please give me some encouragement.

    19. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on August 13th, 2013 9:42 am

      Debbie, thanks for stopping by. I tried in this blog to encourage those who are seeking to know God’s will for their lives. In other posts, I’ve written about being in God’s waiting room. God knows where you are and what you need. He has not and will not forsake you. You will be in our prayers often that God will open a door for you, and that you will draw closer to Him in the process, no matter what happens. He is faithful. His Word holds the best encouragement for any of us.

    20. Adelabu N O on September 2nd, 2013 8:47 pm

      God is faithful and should be trusted

    21. Janine on September 27th, 2013 4:57 pm

      I grew up very withdrawn from people and went through a lot as a child and still dealing with many issues in my life. I keep getting prophetic words that God loves me but I just wish he could reveal a small bit of what he has planned for me. The information above will help me in the future but any other words you can share with me will be appreciated.
      Janine, 19 of age

    22. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on September 28th, 2013 11:26 am

      Janine, God’s Word is filled with promises that assure us of His love. All of us would love to know His plans for us–even a small picture–ahead of time. But I guess that’s where faith and trust in a Sovereign yet loving God come into play. Though we can’t see or know ahead, we still believe that His plans are for our good (Jeremiah 29:11). I have a strong belief that if we are truly seeking to honor God with our lives, we can’t go wrong. We’ll make mistakes, but He will work those out for our good. And He will provide the Christian mentors or friends who can help us deal with some of those difficult issues. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a wonderful promise.

    23. Karlee on November 17th, 2013 10:59 pm

      I have been thinking about my life rebecca.
      The reason is that I am 11yrs old and I am
      sometimes very concerned about my future.
      Its just that I think my purpose is to be a sing
      for god but I don’t really know.I would appreciate
      If you would help me understand this all and that
      you can answer back to me soon.
      P.S i hope u can answer I’ve never talked to
      a well known blogger before or even got an answer
      form one. :/. Sincerely,Karlee

    24. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on November 21st, 2013 8:56 pm

      Hi, Karlee, thanks for writing. If we know Jesus and are a follower of His, He has a plan and purpose for all of His children. Keep trusting Him, praying, reading His Word, and asking God to show you His plan, and He will do that. He will also provide wise counseling and training if music is the path He wants you to take. The main thing is to live for Jesus, and to honor Him in all we do, however He directs our lives. We can trust Him to show us everything we need to know.

    25. Karlee on November 24th, 2013 9:28 pm

      Thanks Rebecca it really means alot I hope god himself has told u what good u have done for others and if he hasn’t I bet he will :) nay god bless u till u die and forever more after

    26. Hermione on November 27th, 2013 9:00 am

      Hi Ms. Rebecca,
      I googled for “how to know God’s plan” and your website is one of the links that appeared first. It’s really nice to read your article, and it made me feel like I’m not alone in this battle. There are others who are just confused as I am.

      I am 23 years old, currently unemployed. I took a course (BS Nursing) in college which my parents forced me to take, and now I’m having a hard time getting a decent paying job just because there are too many nurses here in our country. My mom then told me to apply for a position in her previous employer (a very BIG shot bank) because of the benefits I could possibly receive. The thing is, I don’t want the position she’s telling me to apply for. I’m halfway through the application process when I backed out. Today, I went to the bank with her, only to embarrass myself and my mom because I ended up crying in the hallway, her former colleagues staring at me in disbelief.
      Please help me, I don’t know what to do. I am so disappointed with myself. I feel so immature and unreasonable just because I didn’t want the position, I backed out. I mean, it is a great opportunity. but I don’t think I can handle the pressure. I’mm just so sad and frustrated right now. :(

    27. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on November 27th, 2013 7:32 pm

      Dear Hermione, I’m sorry for the difficulty you’ve been facing. Finding a place that fits your passion and heart is not always easy. But God is there to help. What is it you really enjoy doing? What kinds of things are you good at? What are your skills? Being unemployed can attack our self-esteem. But remember that your worth comes from the Lord, not from anything else. I am not a counselor, so I can’t tell you what to do. But God has promised to give us wisdom when we ask. You are in our prayers that He will show you what to do. Sometimes it’s while we are working in other jobs that God begins to make clear what we really are to do. The most important thing is that wherever you work, that you remember your real work is to honor Him. He is your real employer. He will give you joy in any situation, if you are seeking to please Him.

    28. Hermione on November 27th, 2013 11:52 pm

      Thanks a lot for taking your time to reply to my comment, Ms. Rebecca.
      I really appreciate it.
      Hopefully, I’ll be able to discern God’s plan for me. Thanks for the support and prayers.

    29. paul-apostle on November 29th, 2013 12:10 am

      dear sister in Christ , praise be to the lord always !
      the revelation you have shared with is awesome and to the point.
      its been so healing and wonderful. praise God. Let God bless you in every way in all your works and in your ministry for God.
      -paul-apostle.
      India.

    30. Karlee on November 30th, 2013 11:48 pm

      Wow sometimes I feel like saying this in my head “am I even meant to be here is life real I don’t know why I think that I am just a kid shouldn’t I be normal and think about things a regular kid would think.I don’t know how or y but my life has been scarred both emotional and physically I have gone through alot of difficult things that a child my age shouldn’t go through please Rebecca would you help me I don’t know what to really do I thing what purpose has god put me on this planet I am a failure and a clumsy idiotic feeling being should I even deserve to be one if gods creatures I am not worthy to be here I do not fit in I have so much pain emotionally and phisically I have tookin hit after hit after hit y can’t I let go y can’t god just let me go y not let me die I am not important in the world I have no useful purpose on earth what am I supposed to do how should I feel y do I bottle up my feelings like this is it normal I get confused at school from this guy I don’t understand everytime I have to do something in front of him I end up feeling like having a anxiety attack in fact I sometimes do I don’t think I should have anxiety attacks at 11 yrs old do u please help me with my problems I am facing Rebecca

    31. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on December 1st, 2013 2:32 pm

      Karly, perhaps it would be helpful to talk with a trusted Christian counselor who can help you. One thing I know: You have great worth and value in God’s eyes. Jesus died for you–and for everyone. He loves us all so much and wants each one to know His plan for us. His universal plan for all of us is to love Him and give Him glory. No matter what we go through, He will never leave us or forsake us, even if others do. None of us deserve any good thing. But God loves us and He says if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. He wants to bless us, and He has grace to give to each of His children. Cry out to Jesus. If you have never asked Jesus to come into your heart and to be the Lord of your life, that’s the first step to finding peace. No matter what we have been through, Jesus will give us a brand new life with a deep down peace–forgiven and loved and treasured by Him. He will take our anxieties and fears. He loves you more than you know. We all go through difficult seasons of our lives, some much more than others. But Jesus is the same, yesterday today and tomorrow. If you have a Bible, read about His love for you daily. The book of John is a great book in the Bible that talks about His love. Be patient with yourself. All our lives we are growing, little by little, stronger and stronger, as we seek Him first and trust Him daily.

    32. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on December 1st, 2013 2:33 pm

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Paul.

    33. Karlee on December 1st, 2013 11:39 pm

      Bless your heart:(

    34. Karlee on December 17th, 2013 10:57 pm

      Rebecca u have so much knowledge when I read ur response I thought it sounded like god was speaking through u and he probably is I just want to thank u for helping me giving me hope giving me faith giving me knowledge I how u continue to light the way for others and get them to know god as he sees us and how much he loves us

    35. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on December 18th, 2013 8:57 am

      Thanks for your encouraging word. God’s blessings to you this Christmas.

    36. Karlee on December 25th, 2013 12:22 am

      :) merry Christ mas let us all celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ rejoice rejoice for the son of god was born this day amen let god bless everyone while watching over us

    37. kevin on January 12th, 2014 3:22 am

      Hello Rebecca.. I am 21 and I am currently pursuing engineering..(btech).. I was a failure during my first two years.scored very less marks.And side by side I noticed that my relationship with God was fading away..negative things started happening in my life.. It was this year that I started reading bible daily( had,stopped reading bible two years ago) and praise the Lord, I am able to enjoy his love and peace in each and every area of my life..things have started getting better.. And I am havng a thirst and hunger for his word..however I am very concerned about mt future after engineering..it is my dream to pursue masters in US.. But our financial background is not too strong for it.. Parents cant afford and I know that.. I. Am very,confused and I pray to God everyday for his plans to be fulfilled in my life..
      And your word gave me a lot of hope regarding Gods plan forcmy life..and I have a firm belief that nothing is impossible for Jesus.. If doing MS is there in his evergreen plan for my life,then there is no stopping..but I am really confused how I will know what is his plan..??I knw I have to be patient but m afraid if I end up doing anything against his plan.. Please help..I am confused

    38. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on January 13th, 2014 10:24 am

      Kevin, thanks for stopping by. Your questions are common, and ones addressed, I think in the blog. Part of what “trusting God” means, is that we move ahead each day in the “light” and wisdom He gives us, even when we don’t know what will happen in the future. God’s universal “plan” and purpose for us is that we honor Him and bring Him glory, no matter how that “work” shakes out. When your chief desire is to honor the Lord, you will not need to fear “doing things against His plan.” Keep asking God to affirm and confirm where He wants to use you and place you, following the open doors, and asking for wisdom when a door closes. What God is concerned most about, I think, is that we are becoming like Jesus in our journey. Christianity is not an exact science. It is a faith journey. He has promised to finish the good work He started in you (Philippians 1:6).

    39. winny on April 3rd, 2014 9:07 pm

      Dear Rebecca, thank you so much for this message. I really know that God is waiting for my character to to catch up with His desires.

      with love from Jakarta Indonesia

    40. Khushboo on April 29th, 2014 12:52 pm

      At this point in my life ,when everything seems to be wrong ,I have left everything to God and truly believe that he has definitely planned something good for me in future .This is the only belief that has kept me alive till date .

    41. Drew on April 30th, 2014 12:12 pm

      Rebecca,
      You really are such an amazing inspirational person! I am almost a junior in high school and I have so many plans for myself but I don’t know which one God wants me to do. Become a worship leader? A writer? Maybe even a pharmacist! I don’t know what to choose but I guess I’ll have to trust in GOD!!!
      God bless you!

    42. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on May 2nd, 2014 2:36 pm

      Khushboo, it is always wise to leave everything in God’s hands. He will never disappoint, and He does have good plans for all of us. May He continue to direct your life.

    43. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on May 2nd, 2014 2:39 pm

      Drew, thanks for stopping by. God will lead and direct your steps when your life is committed to Him. As long as your desire is to honor Him, you will be a blessing to Him and to others no matter what you choose.

    44. Justin on May 5th, 2014 1:26 pm

      Rebecca, I’d love to ask you some questions regarding my personal situation in regards to Gods humbling me and growing me at my current job and the opportunity that is before me that I am hesitant to take because I want to first know it is in fact a good thing from God and not just my desires.. (new business venture)

      I Would love to hear from you!

      Thansk,

      Justin

    45. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on May 6th, 2014 10:13 am

      May God grant you wisdom. He’s the One to turn to for for answers in this situation.

    46. Derrick on June 10th, 2014 9:25 pm

      Several years ago I preached a sermon on God’s Plans For You, and made reference in my sermon on your “five simple steps to discover God’s Plans for you.” I am currently completing a book, and I am including the sermon I had previously preached with your reference, but just realized that I did not obtain your permission. I am hereby requesting your permission to use this reference in my book. I am a retired pastor, and is using my time for writing. I will be waiting on your permission if so granted by email. May God bless you.

    47. Pamela Robertson on June 16th, 2014 4:50 pm

      I enjoyed the blog today; in my studying on should I plan for my future I found this, and everything I’m studying points me to the same thing. Live today, trust God, and know he knows the plans he has for you.
      Thank you,

    48. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on June 17th, 2014 11:32 am

      Thanks, Pamela, for stopping by. God bless as you continue to trust God for His plans for you!

    49. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on June 17th, 2014 11:59 am

      Derrick, you did not specify exactly what “reference” you mean. Before I can consider granting any permission, I need to know more about your request. Did you use material from my blog, or just refer to the title? As soon as you let me know, I can respond.

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