Following His Will

It's time for us to start sacrificing our wills, our desires, and dreams. God wants the best for us. He's given us this life, shouldn't we offer it back?

Following His will is most definitely NOT easy.

So we all say, and we all know in the back of our minds. Yet, when times are good we say "God, I'll follow you no matter WHERE you take me. You want me to go to Antarctica? I'll go to Antarctica." Well...Minnesota is pretty close temperature wise. ;) Just kidding.

I told God I would let Him take me anywhere He needed me. If I heard His voice clearly telling me where to go, I told Him I'd go. I want to do His will because I know He knows what's best for me. He knows how many hearts and lives can be touched by my testimony and my abilities He's given me. He brought me to Minnesota, Ecuador, and Pennsylvania so far. However, I wasn't sure (and still am not) how far He'll take me.

I love this verse: "Then He said to them all: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'" (Luke 9:23) Do you want to follow Him? Are you willing to leave everything behind? Jesus left heaven to come save you.

I've been thinking about interning with someone. It's not in my home state. It's just as far as Minnesota is from my home. I really wanted to go home this summer and work, earn money for school, relax, hang out with family and friends, etc. All that fun summer stuff. The one thing I was MOST looking forward to was going to a youth retreat as a counselor. I've been wanting to do that since I was in middle school. I always looked forward to the day I would be old enough. (Update: And now I’m here in Pennsylvania, learning so much! Praise God! I’m glad I obeyed Him! Yes, it required me laying my own plans and dreams down, but it was worth it! God’s plans for us are GREATER than we can imagine!)

My mom really encouraged me to do the interning thing. She said, "You can't help people when you're still hurting." She talked about following His will and letting the Holy Spirit work miracles. That made me start thinking about the internship again. Then I went to a meeting at a church that night. The guy talked about following God's will. I was so convicted and struck by the double emphasis on "God's will" I was receiving today. My mind was almost made up to do the internship...

I was going to travel around with a group from school on a ministering team. I really thought that sounded great. However, I didn't feel led to do that. I thought maybe God was calling me home. Now I'm second-guessing that. (Actually, I was hesitant to believe God was calling me home over break. I wrote this January 2011 and I ended up going with the team to Ecuador! I felt it was God’s will and He taught me so much! See how important obedience is??)

Then at our dorm devotions, one night (the night I was pondering whether or not I should do this internship), guess what one of the things were said? FOLLOWING GOD'S WILL. I was so struck again. When you feel Him leading you somewhere, start praying! This is exactly what I did. It became incredibly clear to me that this internship was His will. I'm so glad I obeyed Him! I've learned far more than I would have if I would have gone with my heart's desire (which was to go home).

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3: 5-6) His plans for our lives are far better than we can imagine! Trust Him as He leads you.

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" (Isaiah 55:8-9) His plan may seem ridiculous and improbable to us. However, we can't see the big picture like He does. Trust Him.

It's time for us to start sacrificing our wills, our desires, and dreams. God wants the best for us. He's given us this life, shouldn't we offer it back? Are we too attached to this life? It's only temporary! Why should I want to live for something temporary when I can live for something eternal?

"Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- His good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:1-2) Verse one says to offer yourselves as a living sacrifice. That means, while we are still alive, we can still sacrifice things in order to further His Kingdom. Verse two tells us not to conform to this world. Are we so attached to it that we aren't willing to know what His will is?

I encourage you to spend some quiet time with God. It's hard to hear Him when you're surrounded by noise. Ask Him where He wants you to go and what He wants you to do. You may be surprised. Write down Bible verses to encourage you as you begin this life-changing journey. Ask someone to keep you accountable. Share what God has revealed (or is revealing) to you with a spiritual leader.

Another big point I would like to make is this: Just because God wants you to do something, it doesn't mean He wants the person next to you to do the same thing. We all have unique plans God has made for us. You have different healing and deliverance to go through than they do. You've been through different circumstances than they have been through. Let God be God. We can't criticize someone for not doing the same thing we are doing. It's not fair.

Also, we may have friends or acquaintances who have been through the same things we have. We may try to minister to them because God has healed us. However, don't get frustrated if it takes them longer than it took you. Don't be proud. Humble yourselves. As was said, God has a specific plan for them. It's easy to get frustrated and say, "Why aren't you getting this?! It didn't take ME that long!" Be patient. Their life is not your life. They may have more issues, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. We all deal with trauma differently.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You so much for this life you've given me! I'm sorry for taking advantage of it. I want to live for Your Kingdom. I'm tired of living for this temporary world. Lead me in Your will, way, and timing. I want to follow You, whatever the cost. I want to minister to others without caring what they'll think of me. Show me the steps You want me to take. Lead and direct me. I can't do this on my own.

In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

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