Using My HOPE SET for Discerning God’s Will

What does God want me to do?  I find myself asking that question A LOT lately.  I kind of wish I had been asking that question a lot more when I was younger.  Maybe then I’d have a better understanding of how to discern God’s will.  Or maybe not.  Maybe this is something we will always struggle with because there is no direct and tangible communication with God.  I know we have communication with God through prayer and scripture, but what I mean is I cannot ask God for advice and hear him speak to me in literal, audible words.  I have to feel it.  And to be honest, I think a lot of days I’m as likely to have “spidey senses” as the good sense to understand what steps God wants me to take next in life.  I’ll bet there are some other people out there that have had similar feelings and experiences.

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Using my Hope Set
Wouldn’t it be nice is we had some help when trying to determine God’s Will for our lives? Luckily, strategies are available.

 

Food For Thought  To be honest, I didn’t think much about “God’s will” in my younger decades.  I’ve been a Christian for three decades now and my thinking in this area was basically limited to God wants me to love others, keep my sin to a minimum, pray, and believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and died for my sins.  I pretty much thought outside these criteria, I was on my own for decision making.  I kinda regret that thinking now.  Reflecting on my prayer life over the past 25 years or so, I’ve been really good at telling God what I want, but I have been failing to ask what He wants for me.  I can now see where that has possibly hindered my life in certain areas.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Many of my decisions have led to amazing things, most notably my husband and daughter, who only could be in my life as a result of some of those other decisions.  But I wonder sometimes if I could possibly have spared myself some grief or pain if I had been seeking His will in my life choices.  I know we have “free will” to make our own decisions, but to be honest, I haven’t always been great at making my own decisions, especially when I stop including God in my choices.

Now I’m at a cross-roads.  Something about the “magic” number of 40 has placed me smack in the middle of a life intersection.  I can look back on the road that I have traveled and the bumps and curves it has held and know I want to avoid those obstacles as much as possible.  Then I look out in front of me, seeing a series of life-path choices.  But I’m pretty near-sighted, both literally and figuratively.  I can only see so far down these paths.  I don’t know what is in store just beyond the horizon on any of them.  The paths ahead cover a range of territory, from career choices or moving across the country to possible ministry assignments or assisting family members.  Some of these paths can intersect.  Some of these paths are dead-end.  Some paths have deep valleys and steep mountains to climb.  I doubt any of them are perfectly level or smooth.  But which path is the right one?

This is where that whole “God’s Will” part comes in.  As my faith has strengthened and grown over the past couple years, I want to see His guidance in every thing I do.  Every decision I make, I want it to feel divinely inspired.  I will boldly admit that I’m not getting it right all the time, but my heart is in the right place.  But my mind is not always there.  I want things to make sense.  I want it to be logical and reasonable, and if I’m honest, easy.  So when something isn’t going the way I envisioned, maybe a choice I made is starting to look like the wrong choice, I begin to ask, “What if it’s not God’s Will?”  Have I lost everything?  Was I completely off-course?  Or, am I ever going to get there?  These are all normal, human feelings and questions.  It comes from that whole idea of God’s divine and I am NOT.  I cannot possibly know the outcome of every decision I make.

I may not have a divine understanding of the future, but what I do have my HOPE SET.  I have my hope set on God leading me and granting me wisdom in the way I should go.  My HOPE SET is also this “tool box” with seven key strategies I can use every time I reach the crossroads or get distracted by a detour in my life.  I would love to share this HOPE SET with you in our scripture section today.  I am also going to make a printable available on my Freebies page.

Today’s Scriptures  Each tool in my HOPE SET for discerning God’s Will is supported from scripture.  After all, is there really any better way for us to know what God wants us to do than to look directly at His words?  I have found this very beneficial in my own life and I hope you do as well.

HOPE SET discernment strategies
A free PDF printable is available here.

 

Today’s Recipe  Isn’t it nice that every decision we make doesn’t have to be so critical?  I know a lot of people have difficulty deciding what to make for dinner some nights, but it’s not a matter of eternal life or death, so relax!  What you eat for dinner is not nearly as important as who you eat it with or how you eat it.  It is very important at our house that we eat together as a family every night and we eat at the dining room table, device-free.  To make this happen, we don’t always eat at the same time every evening, but work around activity schedules for the family.  Serving dinner can range between 4:30 and 7:00 pm, but we would rather fluctuate the time than not have this one meal together every day.  It’s that important!  And dinner doesn’t have to be fancy either.  It can be as simple as this Sheet Pan Dinner for Roasted Potatoes, Peppers, Onions, and Sausages.  It’s frugal, pretty fast and definitely easy!

potatoes, peppers, onions, sausages
A simple and frugal supper made on one pan for the whole family to enjoy.

 

Sheet Pan Dinner for Roasted Potatoes, Peppers, Onions, and Sausages (serves 4-6)

  • 4 medium russet potatoes, washed and dried, but not peeled
  • 1-2 large red bell peppers, seeded
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 packet of Italian dressing mix (I used Good Seasons)
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 pkg (6) pre-cooked sausages (I used McCormick Grill Mates Sausages for this recipe, but other brands work well, too)

 

Set oven to 425 and line a large rimmed baking sheet pan with aluminum foil.

Cut potatoes into cubes, approximately an inch, and place on prepared pan.  Cut peppers and onion into chunks about the same size as the potatoes and add to the pan.  Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and toss to coat (you can use tongs or your hands to do this).  Add Italian seasoning and cracked pepper and stir to coat again.  Roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes (ovens vary slightly, so check at the shorter time).

Remove pan from oven and add the sausage links to the pan.  Give the pan a shake and return to oven.  Continue to cook at 425 for 8-12 minutes, or until sausages are heated through.  Serve with ketchup, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, or as is.  Bonus: fast and easy clean up!

Note: I often serve this with a side salad for a veggie bonus.

Today’s Helpful Products from Amazon  This recipe is so simple, all you need is a good sheet pan, some foil, and some tongs!

Large Rimmed Baking Sheet

Reynolds Aluminum Foil

OXO Good Grips Kitchen Tongs