When I write or speak about working overseas, young Christians often ask how I knew God was calling me there. They come up to me all bright-eyed and hopeful about the future, yet unsure how to decipher God’s will for their life. I tell them a few simple things:
- Get Quiet
As anxiety about the future mounts, we often become busy, distracted, and overly talkative. This is counterproductive. When praying about a new opportunity, make sure your heart is full of faith that God will guide you, and then wait in quietness and trustfulness until he speaks.
- Look for Supernatural Coincidences
All of my major life callings have been preceded by strange, near-impossible coincidences. For example, I got connected with my current organization when I stumbled upon some missionaries in the Himalayan wilderness. While this may seem extreme, I see this same pattern everywhere I go: God goes out of his way to open doors.
- Take a Step Forward
When it comes to major decisions, it’s easy to fall into self-doubt and hesitation, looking for endless confirmations of what you think God said. To combat this, simply take a step forward and see what happens. If the door closes, it wasn’t right. If it keeps opening, keep walking.
- Don’t Neglect a “Lesser” Call
In a similar vein, it’s tempting to ignore what God has spoken because it wasn’t as grand as you were expecting. God often calls us to stay where we are or do something we don’t want to do. You can continue to pray about going abroad or getting your dream job, but you also have to accept the season you’re in and be obedient to God’s call in it.
- Get Hungry
If all else fails, try fasting. It’s a great way to humble your heart and realign it with God’s will. He loves to speak to those who are desperate for him and ready to obey his voice.
Ultimately, there’s no one recipe for hearing God’s voice. However, a willing heart and a few smart disciplines make it a lot easier to determine your call and walk forward in absolute faith.