I used to think it was crucial for me to know God’s will. If I knew His grand plan for at least this season of my life, then I could direct all my decisions to fall in line.
Is it His will for me to stay in this job or change to that one?
Is it His will for me to send my kids to that school or make another choice?
Is it His will for me to teach that Bible study, serve on that committee, or go on that mission trip?
I ponder and I pray. I ask friends. I read the Bible. I look for confirmations that point in one direction or the other.
I assume there is one right answer and in order to stay in God’s will I must make the right choice.
That’s a lot of pressure for a simple girl like me. After all, I’m choosing between one good thing and another good thing. And so I fret and wonder, which of these things is God’s will?
But what if I’m wrong?
What if God’s will is more simple than that?
It’s great to pray, ask friends, and look for confirmations. But what if God is more concerned with us looking for Him than looking for answers?
What if God just wants us to pay attention to Him in the midst of whatever choice we make?
Recently I heard a story that shook me to the core. It had been a busy day at a restaurant with lots of customers coming and going. But at one point a guy came up to the manager and handed her a card. He told her, “This is for your staff.” And with an emotional catch in his throat, he said, “I just wanted to make sure they knew.”
The customer then turned and left as the manager tucked the card into her apron pocket.
A little while later, she had time to open the card.
It was a note directed to the staff thanking them. It wasn’t for their service or for the food. It was for their smiles.
He explained in the letter that he’d made plans to take his life that day. But their gift of simple conversations with simple smiles gave him the gift of hope.
As I heard the story, I cried.
Something stirred deep inside of me.
I got this overwhelming feeling that this is such a beautiful picture of how God’s will works. He intersects our lives with people that need His hope and whispers to us, “You have the hope they need… give it to them.”
Maybe it’s to offer them a little of our time. Maybe it’s to share a little of our story. Or maybe, like with this customer, it’s to simply offer a smile. And when we listen, a shift happens. It’s like the world splits open with each of our simple acts of obedience to God and His light breaks apart the world’s darkness.
God instructs us to let our light shine. This is His will. This is His plan. This is His instruction.
And when we get in the habit of obeying His instruction today, we’ll develop a keen awareness of His direction for tomorrow.
The more we pay attention to these moment-by-moment instructions by God, the more our thinking starts to line up with God. Our mind gets in a new rhythm of seeing what He wants us to see, so that we can do what He wants us to do.
“Do not conform 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 12:2, NIV)
This is why I wrote The Best Yes. I want to unrush my schedule, unrush my life, unrush my soul… so I can have enough space to pay attention to God. To see those divine opportunities with people who need hope and to be able to say yes to God’s instruction. These are my Best Yes moments. And I don’t want to miss them.
I suspect the same is true for you.