For four years, there’s been an ongoing conversation happening on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Call it mentorship, call it friendship, call it a unique kinship adoption – but whatever you want to call it, the 24-year old in India and I have savored it for a long while. We met in a Facebook group that focused on goalsetting and productivity, and our talks have run the gamut – from Bajrangi Bhaijaan (one of the coolest movies I’ve ever seen) to the best worship songs, why therapy costs so much in the United States, and who pays for what at Indian weddings.
He’s taught me a lot about the inherent and cultural pressures on young adults in India to do well in school and succeed quickly in business. His thoughtful questions have put my former 25-year old brain to shame a number of times. He calls me Aunty – a term of endearment for an older woman who offers advice and care. We’ve argued, prayed, and had deep discussions about life. And with each conversation, I’m convinced more and more of this one thing:
God’s purpose for your life is bigger than you think.
The main topic of conversation that keeps emerging in the now 48-month old message thread is “How will I know God’s will for my life? How do I know what He wants me to do with my career, with family, with a future spouse?” My friend gets trapped in the fear that he will miss God’s great plan by *thismuch* and be forever regretful of a life that could have been amazing but ended up being just OK. He asks me for wisdom. I share what I’ve learned in this life as a follower of Jesus. God is always faithful to teach us both in the process.
Trust me, I know. You’ve had those same fears too. You might be battling them right now. They blow through my days still, like a breeze that chills to the bone. I had them at 25 as a college graduate praying for just the right job and just the right career. I had them 25 years later after changing careers three times and losing what I thought was my dream job. And to be honest, I am having them right now as I contemplate a contract with a literary agency for a book that’s been a dream for years.
My friend in India knows about the book and the contract. He totally believes it’s God’s will. Me, on the other hand, knows all the “inside feelings” I battle – the ego that rises and the worry that emerges and the wondering what happens if things fail or I fall.
And so, I repeat these words again:
God’s purpose for your life is bigger than you think. God’s will is for you to live the life He’s given you. Period.
This week, another friend and I chatted about God’s will and hearing His voice. I said, “You know, I love how the Lord just sprinkles in drops of divinity throughout our days. We make our plans and do our things and say a prayer and then just walk. We don’t get big clear booming words from God most of the time. We just walk. The good and rough and flat-line moments are all there, wrapped up in whatever’s happening in our lives. And through it all, He’s right there proving His care, proving His power, proving His fidelity. I’m not sure He only has the ONE thing we’re supposed to do. I think His story is bigger than our small imaginations.”
I’m doing a little something unorthodox in this “25 Things I wish I Knew at 25” article. I’m sharing an excerpt from that infamous Facebook Messenger thread. It’s something I sent to my 24-year old adopted nephew-friend. It’s something I wish someone would have sent to me at 25. And it’s something this 50-something girl needs to remember too.
“I don’t think God’s will is for us to have a specific job or marry the perfect girl or live in a defined location. I think His will is about what we do with the time we’re given here on earth – what we’re doing with the days we’re given.
“I wrote this after meditating on Romans 12. I’m not asking you to agree with the words, or even agree with my thoughts about God’s will (in the movie “The Gift,” it is said that God’s will is love – so no matter where we are or where we go, as long as we are people of love, we are living out His will). But here you go.
“It’s simple, then, this whole will of God thing. It’s this: trust Him. Invite Him into the steps. Give Him space to speak. Talk to Him about the days. Hold Him close through the process. It’s not about the job. It’s not about the city. It’s not about what you do. It’s about how you do it.
It’s about where you are when you are getting to where you’d love to be.
He just wants to be there with you. His will is your life – lived fully. He wants to journey with you – to say, ‘these steps – you’ll find rest in these steps.’
“He’s told you over and over again – from before the beginning. His will isn’t a list of rules. His will is love and faith and relationship. He created you because He actually thought you might enjoy it here, that you might gain something from this life. He created you because He thought you might like what it feels like to be known and loved. He created you because He thought you might simply want to be here – for now and for eternity.
“And He created you because He knows without wavering that His is a powerful bloodline and heritage and future. He created you for you, love – and for Him, and for those you will love along the way.”