Singer-songwriter and writer, Carolyn Arends, tells the story of how music artist Rich Mullins would answer fans that would ask him how they could understand God’s will for their lives. According to Arends, Mullins would say, “I don’t think finding God’s plan for you has to be complicated. God’s will is that you love him with all of your heart and soul and mind, and also that you love your neighbor as yourself. Get busy with that, and then, if God wants you to do something unusual, he’ll take care of it.”
The profound simplicity and wisdom of Mullins’ reasoning is so refreshing and needed, not to mention much more biblical than most attempts by “experts” to discern God’s will. After I read this, I immediately started to apply this principle to some decisions that I needed to make for myself and for the team that I manage. I started to think about how two of my daughters are at crucial turning points in their lives and how they could use this simple truth to guide their decision making and to reject choices that may seem easier but provide little opportunity to love God and others.
Imagine putting Mullins’ Principle to use throughout your day. Tempted to join an online battle over the outrage of the day? Ask yourself, will it help me love others as myself? Your kids want you to play a game with them but you really want to watch your adult show with all of its gratuitous contempt, violence, and vulgarity? Ask yourself, which one of these choices will help me love God more? You usually end your day with complete exhaustion and overwhelm. What if you managed your night time routine to ease into sleep and make time for prayer and reflection? This is loving God with more of what you have.
In my work with college students, I see them sometimes paralyzed by this question of understanding God’s will for their lives. They think that one way is God’s way and the other way is Satan’s Way. Mullins reminds me that the Jesus way is to prioritize situations where you can love God and love others. It can be as simple as that.
For the big life changes and defining moments, God is powerful enough and persuasive enough to shift us and move us in dramatic ways if he sees fit. Mullins would often finish his advice on God’s will by saying, “If God wants you to go to Egypt, he’ll provide eleven jealous brothers and they’ll sell you into slavery.”
So, relax about your next steps and go about doing the basics of the faith. That is God’s will. The rest will be in God’s hands.