February 2017 – Knowing God’s Plan
Called: How do I know what God’s asking me to do?
If you have a heart to please God, it’s probably a question you’ve asked. After all, as followers of Jesus Christ, we want to do what He’s asking us to do. Yes, there are the general assignments we discover in Scripture (how to treat people, live rightly, etc.) but what is our personal assignment and can we really know it?
In the next paragraphs, Heather shares how God spoke to her about serving in Spain…
“In my Senior year of high school, I was praying while attending Winter Retreat with my youth group and God clearly called me into the ministry. So, I went to North Central University where I met Mark. Before he asked me to marry him, he asked if I would go to the mission field with him, to which I responded, ‘I’ll go anywhere with you!’
Once we were married, we entered the ministry and served in three churches in the midwest over 20+ years. Over these years, we knew that we would end up on the mission field, yet, wherever God placed us, we chose to be all in, right there. Honestly, I was just biding my time!!! While I knew that the mission field was inevitable and that it was something God called us too, initially, it wasn’t what I wanted to do.
Don’t get me wrong, I would have gone, but I am thankful for His perfect timing. You see, God had a lot of work to do. We had much to learn and prepare for in THIS calling. I have kept this calling in my heart since the day I answered Mark’s question. I have prayed earnestly and sought God for His perfect timing and grace.
One night in 1999, I had a dream that I was on the mission field, with my sweet youth pastor’s wife, Shelley. I kind of freaked out, because she’s not serving in an easy place! But, God assured me, “You’re not going there, but where you are going will feel familiar to you.” About two years later during the last night of a missions convention at our home church, our lead pastor asked me to have some people grab the flags from the various countries that we had placed in the room for the missions convention and wave them. Each flag was taken by someone and then I grabbed the last one. As we sang, I looked around at all the flags and thought, ‘I wonder where we’ll be someday?’ and the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, ‘Look at your flag.’ All the flags were labeled on the handle and when I looked down and saw, ‘Spain’ my heart leapt and I thought, ‘I can do Spain!’
Well, we kept on doing what God called us to do, we were youth pastors, and I LOVED every minute of it! I felt the nudge to go back to school and finish my degree in education, I did. Mark knew it was time for us to transition out of youth ministry and we stepped into the Missions/Christian Education position at our church; that’s when I started to feel different, almost uncomfortable. I understood that God was beginning to shake my world and was sweetly changing my heart to match the calling that He was leading us to. So, in our youngest daughter’s junior year of high school, we began the process of applying to be missionaries. Mark and I had been asked by several of our missionary friends to consider “their” region of the world and they would have all been wonderful, but none of those places seemed to be where God was calling us…and then I remembered the flag.
Mark and I talked about how Spain really seemed to fit everything that God was speaking to both of us about. We prayed, contacted some missionaries in Spain, prayed some more…and then decided to take a trip there. We were going to see what Spain was like, to show our daughters the country, and pray about moving there. I definitely felt comfortable there! We went grocery shopping (successfully, I might add), made dinner, and were able to drive through the country without too much difficulty (don’t ask about Valencia). I thought, ‘I can do this!’ BUT, I like to ask God for a little more concrete evidence than the average person. So, while we were driving around, I was seeing all of these lasts names of people that we know, because we have a lot of Hispanic friends. Obviously, we would be seeing Spanish last names every where…but I got a little snarky with God, and was like, ‘Hey, I want to see our last name in print. If you want us in Spain then put my last name in print.’ We went to lunch one Sunday afternoon and I reached for the ketchup packet. When I looked at it, it took my breath away; it was “Lau” ketchup. This will not mean much to you, unless you’ve know me for at least 25 years, but Lau is my maiden name. God made it that clear to me. There is no doubt about it, that God has called me to Spain, by name!”
God speaks to each of us in different ways. He’s a personal God. Here are a few take aways to discovering God’s plan for you:
1. What/who do you love? Look at what and who God’s already placed in your heart. Psalm 37:4 tells us, if we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desire of our hearts. If you love Him fully, He’ll lead you faithfully.
2. Approach God in prayer with a humble, willing heart and ask Him for specific confirmations. If you’ve already felt impressed to do something, get after it. Often, we find ourselves waiting for God when He is waiting for us.
3. What are your leaders saying? Ask the trusted, mature leaders that know you for feedback on what you are sensing, God will use them to confirm your call and help you take the next steps.
You can know God’s specific plan for your life.