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How does a person know whether something is God’s will? For instance, whom should I marry? Which job should I take? Even though I pray, I don’t know.

Like you, I used to feel that if I prayed about important decisions it should be clear where God was leading me. But it wasn’t clear, and that was very frustrating. It felt as if God was playing a game with me in which I had to guess what God wanted, but where there would be serious and hurtful consequences if I guessed wrong.

But my understanding of God-led decision making has changed over time, and yours can, too. Here are some suggestions that might help you gain a new perspective:

First, get to know Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within you. Learn to trust that you are chosen if you want Jesus to be in your life. Then trust Jesus’ promise that the Holy Spirit, who is called our comforter, our teacher, and more, was sent by Jesus to “parent” us so we would not feel abandoned (or left as orphans, as Scripture says).

Second, get to know yourself. Know your interests and passions, and let these motivate your pursuit of a career and a possible relationship. Don’t be motivated by guilt (shoulds), or anxiety (fears and doubts). Instead, be motivated by the knowledge that the parent/child relationship you are learning to accept by faith is real and strong.

Third, treat every open door toward a desired job or new relationship as an invitation. Bathe all opportunities in prayer. Pray that your trust in our God will become stronger as you learn to accept that a loving Father, a faithful Savior, and an equipping Spirit—the God we serve—“has your back,” as it were. 

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