What is God’s will for my life? What does he want me to do? Where does he want me to go? I wish I had the answers to these questions about God’s will for our lives, and I wish I didn’t have daily stress about the future, but we all do. We all worry about tomorrow even though we have been told that God has it in His hands, and that He even provides food for the birds. Yet, this doesn’t stop us from over thinking about what God wants us to do, and what our next step should be in life.
When deciding what I wanted to do a university, I choose very quickly, not at random, but a choice with very little consideration or thought. I saw Union college at the Queens open day, liked the look of it and applied for Theology. I choose my 5 places across the UK and embellished my personal statement with an appropriate amount of C.S. Lewis quotes and bible verses. I gave my application very little thought or prayer, I would decide where I wanted to go closer to results day, it was in the back of my mind.
The idea of bible school always appealed to me. Over 9 years I attended summer programmes at a bible school in England, it was somewhere I loved deeply and always toyed with the idea in my head of going there for a year. One of my best friends had also applied there, which made me want to go even more. I remember one night before the exam period, I was doing my nightly scroll through the Instagram explore page when I picture of this bible school came up. I clicked into it to se joyful students, with beaming smiles outside the castle from my childhood and I broke down in tears. What if God wanted me to go to bible school and I didn’t know? These ideas circled my head for months on end, my parents were sick of me freaking out about September and if I would go there or not. During exam time I couldn’t help but think that I had made the wrong choice, that God maybe had a different plan that I didn’t know about. I had all sorts of thoughts about reapplying next year, how I would be able to afford bible school if I worked all summer, and I basically chatted and prayed with everyone I knew. Then results day came… and the dream never really materialised… I’d left it too late and a part of me was gutted. I chickened out of bible school and also any idea I had of going to university across the waters, I hastily accepted Queens and that was that.
Queens to me was unappealing, I wasn’t doing the course I wanted (as I had a major freak out and wanted to do geography, but they wouldn’t let me switch courses), I was also not in the accommodation I wanted. So, I started my year unoptimistic and unexpectant that I would enjoy myself. How was this where God wanted me to be? Why had He placed me here when He knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be? Of course, I made great friends and was enjoying some aspects of the university life but I always has a feeling that I wasn’t where I wanted to be and that I wasn’t happy. I visited some friends in Edinburgh which only confirmed my idea that I wanted to drop out and reapply for a course I wanted to do in Scotland, and I would’ve been able to go to bible school for the months in between, it was the prefect idea. In my head God didn’t want me at Queens, I prayed for signs that I was supposed to be here, and I didn’t immediately receive any, and so assumed I was supposed to drop out. My mind was set.
When the final drop out date came around, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t follow through. I came back after the winter holidays this year and was honestly so glad that I never left. I hadn’t appreciated the brilliant accommodation God had placed me in, the amazing and Godly friends He provided me with and how much He had actually blessed me by placing my amongst people who loved me and accepted me. I used to go back home from university every weekend but now I give every excuse to stay up with my friends. Although my course, was, and still isn’t exactly what I expected or wanted to do, I still find joy in doing it and learning in that environment and for the friendships I’ve made through it as well. I even went back recently to visit my friend on a gap year at the bible school I so wanted to go to. I had a fear about going, I thought I would immediately regret my decision of staying at Queens. Yet, when I was there I was surprisingly content with where I was and where God had placed me in my life.
So what is God’s will? And how do we know where he wants us to go? How do we stick to his plans? If I’m honest, I don’t know! Something I’ve learnt from all my indecisiveness and circling around ideas is that God can use you wherever you are, if you trust in him He will provide, He will plant opportunities to see the beauty in where He has placed you. Although I still stress about the future, I have a confidence that God will place you where He wants you and where you can best serve Him and bring others to Him. God loves us, He knows the desires of our hearts, but He also knows exactly what is best for us even when we don’t see eye to eye, or even understand His ways.
Be prayerful, read more about God and His character, and trust that God’s ways are higher than our own ways. I am in no way an expert on this, but I know that God has a perfect plan in all circumstances, and that’s enough for me to now be content, and even happy, in where He has placed me.
Written by: Amy Patterson. Resident at the Hub and first year Theology student.