Are You Sure God Has a Plan for My Life? - Finds.Life.Church

Are You Sure God Has a Plan for My Life?

by Sam Larrabee

Have you ever said something like “I wish I knew God’s plan for my life”? You’re not alone. 

When I first started following Jesus, countless people told me that God had a great and wonderful plan for my life. But if He had such a great plan, why did I consistently feel stuck, purposeless, and confused about the future?

So I began to wonder, does God actually have a plan for me? If He has a plan, how do I figure it out? Let’s explore what a couple of Bible verses have to say about God’s plans—and wrestle with some of the anxiety, uncertainty, and frustration that can come along with trying to figure out our purpose.

Together we’ll discover that, yes, God does have a plan for our lives—and yes, He even shows us how to find out what it is.

What Does the Bible Say About God’s Plan for Our Lives?

Let’s start with what is probably the most famous verse about God’s plans:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Sounds really encouraging, right? It gets even more interesting when you look into the context of the verse: To whom was it written, and in what circumstances? In other words, who’s the “you” in the passage? 

Reading the rest of the chapter reveals that it’s spoken not to an individual, but to a whole people group: the exiles from Judea in the 6th century B.C. They had been ripped from their homes and taken as prisoners to a faraway country. These words from God were an encouragement for them—a reminder that good things were in store for His people and that He wouldn’t abandon them, even in exile.

What Is Jeremiah 29:11 Saying?

Through Jeremiah, God was reassuring His people that although things looked bad at the time, His plan would prevail—and one day, their descendants would experience a better future.

This verse gives hope, but it doesn’t really move us very far in understanding God’s plan for each of our individual lives. Why? Because this verse shares words from God to a people group in the past, in a specific place and time gone by. The context is important. If we ignore the context and try to apply these words directly to our lives, we might set ourselves up for disappointment.

Disappointed With Lack of Direction From God?

Consider the original audience of this verse. Most would have spent their whole lives in exile, never experiencing the “plans to prosper.” Instead, they died without seeing it fulfilled, still trusting God to keep His promise for the next generation.

I used to read this verse as if it were personally written to me. I’d feel happy and hopeful whenever I read it, confident that God would show me His great and wonderful plans for my life. Then, I’d feel disappointed when I asked Him for clear direction and got no response, or I tried something I expected God to bless, only to have it end in failure.

But this verse isn’t talking to individuals, and it’s not a promise of an easy life free from poor choices. This is an encouragement to a people group who would spend decades in exile that God’s wonderful plan is bigger than one painful generation. It was good news for them and it’s still good news for us today.

Reading this verse in context helped me see that I was focused on my plan when I should have been focused on God’s plan. 

My Plan vs. God’s Plan

When I was asking God, “What’s Your plan for my life?” I wanted the specifics. Which school do I need to go to? Who should I marry? And where should I work? I thought God would tell me exactly what to do, allowing me to make all the right decisions without having to think much about it. But that didn’t work out for me.

To be clear, God can and does give specific direction at times—but not always. As a result of my misguided assumption that all the answers would fall from the sky, I began feeling anxious, asking questions like “Am I not praying hard enough?” or “I have two good options; will my life be ruined if I make the wrong choice?”

Then I learned some of the context surrounding Jeremiah 29:11, and it helped me recognize a few key truths. These ideas led me to a better understanding of God’s plan for my life:

1. God isn’t holding out on us.

Why did I feel so anxious? Because I thought God’s plan for my life was a set of instructions I had to follow perfectly in order to live my “best life.” One deviation would ruin the whole thing. And I thought God would keep this plan a secret until I prayed enough or did enough to please Him. It sounds so toxic when I say it like that—because it was. For me, trying to discover God’s plan wasn’t a life-giving journey at the time. Instead, it was a needlessly anxiety-inducing spiral.

So let’s take a step back and remember that God is kind. He has given us so many good things to enjoy in life. And yes, making wise, God-honoring decisions is an essential part of experiencing the good things He offers. But God doesn’t have a secret list of decisions you have to make or else.

God gave us the ability to make decisions.

Remember, this same God gave us wisdom, opportunities for trusted relationships, and free will—the ability to make decisions. He wants us to pray, ask for advice, and make choices.

So if you have a choice between two God-honoring choices, pray. If God doesn’t provide clear direction, it’s not a sign that He’s mad at you. Instead, He’s inviting you to exercise your God-given wisdom and to rely on trusted friends for advice. 

Asking questions like “What is God’s plan for my life?” is good, but obsessing over it isn’t healthy. Why? Because God isn’t trying to hide His plan for our lives. He calls us to pray for guidance, think, research, get good counsel, and then step out and take risks.

2. God’s plan is for all of us.

God has a plan for your life. What is it? To be a part of His plan for restoring the world.

Remember the “you” in Jeremiah 29:11? It’s talking about God’s plan for a group of people, not a single individual. Why does this matter? Because our purpose is to be a part of God’s plan, which is bigger than any of us.

What is God’s plan for the world? In the beginning God created a perfect world, but people put their own desires over God’s good plan. Did God give up on us after that? No, He started a new plan to restore the world.

Our purpose—and God’s plan for our lives—is to be a part of His plan of saving the world. How? By making small, daily decisions that make the world better. Consider how Jesus called us to live. He didn’t tell people to obsess over their jobs or who they marry. Instead, He called us to forgive others, look for opportunities to serve, and live with radical generosity. When we do these things, we’re following God’s plan for our lives.

We should continue to pray for guidance and direction for our individual faith journey, but we always know our ultimate calling is to become more like Jesus

3. We can trust God, even when we feel directionless.

Imagine how the original readers of Jeremiah 29:11 might have felt. They had lost a war, their nation was destroyed, and many of their friends and family had lost their lives. They were forced to march hundreds of miles to their new home in captivity. But then they heard that God had a plan for their future beyond tragedy. A plan for them to prosper.

This verse is a promise that God’s plan is bigger than us. Even when life feels dark, confusing, and dangerous, God’s plan won’t fail.

So when we ask questions like “Does God have a plan?” we can trust that He’s working all the time, every day, to make the world more like heaven. We may not always see it, but it’s always happening.

In those moments, we can always pray, asking God for greater awareness of His presence and trustworthiness. And we can continue to participate in God’s plan for our lives, learning to live and love in a way that reflects Jesus.

God’s plan isn’t always comfortable.

When I used to ask “Does God have a plan for my life?” what I often meant was “How can I make choices that lead to the most comfortable, happy life?” But there’s a problem with this way of thinking: It’s not how the Bible talks about God’s plan for us.

Those people going into exile were right in the middle of God’s plan. So was Jesus as He was hated, abused, and killed on the cross. The early followers of Jesus made daily decisions to honor God, and they too faced criticism and violence. For all of them, God’s plan included a lot of uncomfortable situations. So why should we expect it to be any different for us?

Following Jesus leads to the most meaningful life we could ever hope to live, but He never promised it would be easy. It’s actually the opposite! As He explained to His disciples,

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

For more context, you can read the whole chapter, but in short, even when we’re following God’s plan, we’ll run into problems and need His peace—and Jesus is with us through it all, still very much in charge.

So, What Is God’s Plan for My Life?

God isn’t trying to hide His purpose for you. His plan for your life is to be a part of His plan for saving the world. We do this by living like Jesus: We forgive, serve, give, and show kindness to others. Of course it matters where you live, who you marry, and what job you take, but you can be a part of God’s plan for the world no matter where you are.

Does He Have a Specific Plan for Me?

Should we pray about major choices like which job to choose, who to marry, or where to live? Of course. If something matters to you, it matters to God. But God’s plan for your life is about so much more than just those decisions.

So let’s expand how we think about God’s plan for our lives. Instead of focusing on only a few major choices, let’s set our minds on the daily choices that can make the world more like heaven each day.

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