Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
This week, a PI Girl brought up a great topic: following me versus following God. She wrote about possibly attending a school like Harvard and how she has a desire to attend that type of school, but was questioning whether or not that would be God’s plan for her life. She essentially wanted to ask for some advice: If we have certain desires to do great things, is that like following our own desires and not God’s? Is it wrong to want to go to a prestigious school like that, which would take away much volunteer time with studying and so forth?
Some girls responded on the Girl Talk feed and said that it would be okay to go and study and learn, and to shine for Christ. The PI Girl asking these questions asked if it’s worldly or if it’s okay because it’s a desire in her heart and she wants to go someday.
The question I believe she was also asking is: How do we discern our desires from God’s desires for our lives?
We don’t need to necessarily address the specific concern regarding the school, but the issue of wanting to do what you want to do versus what God has planned is something that many girls will relate to. We all have things in our lives we desire to come to fruition in our future. We have hopes, dreams and visions of the goals in our hearts. There is nothing wrong with having goals or dreams. Not at all! The only time when we are in a danger zone is when our goals, career, school, relationships and so on are off-balance and we focus on one thing more than we do on God. When we yield or give our attention to something significantly more than other things in life, those other things on our priority list will suffer. If we neglect our relationship with God and we put our heart and mind on other things, then we call fall into idolatry. Whatever we spend more time on, think of more and do the most other than serving God can become idol worship. God says when we put Him first, all things will be added unto us (Matthew 6:33). So delight in who God is and He will show you your path in due time.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
Sometimes we don’t even recognize that we do it until we look back on our lives and realize what we spent the most time doing. I understand the concern here with this PI Girl because she wants to attend this amazing college, but at the same time understands what comes with the price of going to a school like this. There is a cost, but she doesn’t want to lose out on God’s best or have her relationship with the Lord suffer. She seems to have a sweet heart and obviously a fearful reverence for the Lord, but I agree with the other commenters on the subject that it is okay to attend the school (or whatever it is you are praying about). If you are praying about something that you want to do or that you desire in your heart—if it is honorable and purposeful—GO FOR IT! God wants you to succeed, to be blessed and to prosper, and, of course, to give all the glory back to HIM!
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Remember, PI Girls, life is all about balance. Life is like juggling. I once heard Bishop T. D. Jakes say the key to juggling is that you never hold onto one ball more than the others; it is all a rhythm. So true, so good and rich in wisdom. If we picture life as a juggling act, we must constantly be moving and we are balancing different things in life, whether it be God (our relationship, studying, youth group, reading the Bible, prayer, etc.), friendships, family (quality time), hobbies/sports/extracurricular activities, academics, health and so on. There are so many different facets of life! If you ever do hold onto one thing more than any other, I would say hold onto God the most because you will never lose in that aspect. We don’t, on the other hand, want to be overly wise or overly religious; that is never good. Even in the Bible it says:
Do not be over-righteous, neither be over-wise—why destroy yourself? (Ecclesiastes 7:16)
I loved the title of the Project Inspired Girl’s post as well, about following ourselves verses God. This reminds me of the many verses that Jesus said, “Follow me.” (Matthew 4:19) Jesus never spoke of religion, but rather of love and giving glory to the Father, and also wanted us to exemplify Christ-like attitudes and to live how He lived. Of course, we are human and we will naturally slip and fall because we live in a broken world and live in a fleshly body. But it is a great question to ask yourself, even on a daily basis in your walk: “Am I following what I feel and what I want do, or what God wants me to do?” I think when we take the position of a servant rather than someone entitled, we will see drastic changes in our lives.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
There are daily choices that we make in how we choose to honor God or dishonor God. Obviously there are life choices like what school you will go to, whom you will marry, where you will live and so forth. These questions are valid and we should have clear confirmation from God regarding these choices, but we shouldn’t completely eliminate them. The only time you should refrain from making a choice is if the path you are choosing takes you further from God. Then I would agree with you to use wisdom, ask your church and parents for prayer, ask for guidance from leaders and counselors, and, of course, ask God for confirmation. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth.
This also reminds me of the verse where Jesus says He is the Good Shepherd and that His sheep hear His voice, know Him and follow Him (in John 15). This is true in real life as well regarding sheep and their shepherd. Sheep literally will run if another person calls out to them aside from their shepherd. We, too, if we are close to our Lord, will know His voice (just like you can recognize your mom’s or dad’s voice on the phone). We learn the nudging of the Holy Spirit regarding what He speaks to us. Do you know Jesus’ voice? Ask God to speak to you. Ask for clarity.
How can you decipher whether something is of God or not? Well, read the Bible and you will begin to know God’s voice, as His Word is “God breathed…” (1 Tim 3). Man wrote it and God inspired it, but in John chapter 1, it is written that God IS THE WORD. So if we are in the Word and abiding in the vine (John 15), Jesus, the Prince of peace, will give you clarity and you will know. IF you don’t have peace, remember God is NOT the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
I am praying for you, PI Girls! Did this article help you? Please write down some thoughts and prayers below. We love you!