Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

How to Know What God Wants for Your Life

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The file sat on my desk. Waiting.

We had poured over every square inch. Every word had been read and then re-read. Like a detective, we were searching for hidden clues. A little bit of information that to help us uncover something hidden.

Two different doctors had looked over the medical information, most of which was lacking. We plotted and charted head circumference and weight, looking for trends. We knew everything about the boy that a piece of paper could tell us.

The only thing left to do was make a decision.

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photo by Orin Zebest



I called a friend, a former pastor, someone I trusted. It was Friday and we had to make our minds up by Monday. I was only asking him to pray, but he gave me something more. He told me he knew what God wanted me to do.

“We are looking at a file.. We have the weekend to decide, and I was hoping you would pray for us so we would know God’s will for us. We want to know God’s calling on our lives. You know, is this the right child for our family.”

I had pulled out the proper lingo. Pray. God’s will. Calling. If you have ever stepped within 100 yards of a Bible study, you’ve heard the same phrases.

“I know what God wants you to do,” he responded.

“Really?” I asked. “What does he want?”

“He wants you to say yes.”


We make decisions on a daily basis. And some of these choices can have tremendous impact in our lives like buying a new house or quitting a job or choosing to marry.

But these decisions, though they seem incredibly important in the moment, have little consequence outside of themselves. They do matter today. But some day they won’t. We tend to over-inflate their importance for one reason. The outcomes affect our comfort.

I believe that God does care about the little things in our lives, because he cares for us. Like feeding the sparrows, he is in the details of our lives. But the decisions we worry may not be the ones he wants us to worry about.

Some day it won’t matter.

It won’t matter what car you drove or which church you attended. It won’t matter whether or not that friend was inconsiderate and chose to misunderstand you. It won’t matter if you went on the trip to Europe or saved your money instead. It won’t matter if you get the one job you’ve wanted for a long time or a different one.

We worry. We fret. We pray. But to what end?


There are some decisions that you can make that will matter beyond your short life, and these are the choices that truly matter.

What does God want you to do with your life?

He wants you to love him. And he wants you to love people.

This is his will for you. This is your calling. This is your purpose.

These are the two most important choices you can make.


When I asked my friend to pray my language was predictable, but my words were lies.

I was really scared to death. Afraid of what wasn’t mentioned in the file. Afraid of committing, not because I didn’t want to make a decicions, but because I knew it was something that couldn’t be undone. I wanted to know exactly who this kid was. I wanted to know how it would change my life if I said yes. I wanted to know how my story would end.

I didn’t need my friend to pray about what decision I should make. He was right, we both already knew.

I needed him to pray that I would love God and love people. Specifically that I would love this boy enough to let go of everything that was preventing me from saying yes..


I read an article recently that discussed the person God uses. How does he accomplish great things in his kingdom?

He doesn’t use the wealthy. He doesn’t use the strong. He doesn’t use the wise.

God uses the willing.

He uses those who raise their hand and volunteer to take on somebody else’s problems. He uses the person who steps out of comfort and into impossibility for the good of others. God uses the person who sees beyond the here and now, and grabs onto something bigger than this life.

God uses the person who loves him. The person who loves people. And the person who does stuff.

How do you become one of the willing? You say yes.


I could have said no. It was a choice for me to make. I could have said no before we started. I could have said no at looking at his file. I could have said no after seeing his file.

I could have come up with a million different pious reasons why God didn’t want me to do it. But I thank God I didn’t.

What was at stake wasn’t the boy that became our son. God didn’t need me to show up to give this boy a family. God didn’t need my health insurance to get him the medical care he needed more than the file indicated. God could do all of that without me.

What was really at stake was my being a part of it all.

You don’t limit God when you say no. What he chooses to accomplish does not hinge on your decision.

What you do limit is your participation in the coming of his kingdom here and now. You limit experiencing him making all things new. You limit how much of the life-giving water Jesus offered the woman at the well that you drink.

Do you know what God wants you to do?

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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14 Replies

  1. This compliments one of the reminders I read about and wrote about today. I was reading Acts 8 and the story of Philip. He was obedient and willing and God used him. Yes, it simply takes living with our eyes open and being willing.

  2. Both of those can be difficult.

  3. For me, it takes looking in the mirror (God’s words to me), paying attention to how Jesus loved, see how his disciples emulated him, and ask the Spirit to guide me.

    When I start with my own head bowed, I “see” the broken and how God wants to put mud on their eyes twice, lower them through a broken tile and ask “who touched me?”

    As I heal piece by jagged piece, God’s will is done.

    Most often His will is done in a way I can’t see, in the tiny recesses of my heart. Every time I fail, He’s there to be my sufficiency. I fail often.

    A very thought-provoking post, of which there are no right answers, only questions I need to ask myself..

  4. Such a great post. I always tend to want to plan out all the details, when God keeps me reminding me to just say yes. He’s got the rest. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Julia S. Butler

    Seeking and knowing what God wants is the only way to function in a non-functional world. His instructions are our peace and our success, both personally and for what we ‘bring to the table’ when it comes to others. Thank you for another great post.

  6. I like how you say that his will is done in the tiny recesses of your heart. I might steal that.

  7. Christian Writers

    Thank you. As an ordained minister looking for a vision, it seems that I can be pulled in a hundred directions. I need to take a deep breathe and know that God wants me to love, serve, and tell others about Him. Everything else, though important, takes a backseat.

  8. Jodi Schum

    Jeremy, Your insight about how we over inflate the importance of our decisions because “the outcome affects our comfort” resonated with me. Thank you for the reminder that God wants us to love others not to secure our comfort level.

  9. Exactly. It’s tough, but I think this is what he wants us to choose more than we would like to admit.

  10. Mike Zserdin

    I want to know the rest of the story…I confess. Mitigate risk. Thought provoking observations Jeremy, thank you. Appreciate your work, faith and hope.

  11. Thank, Chris. This is his show today.

  12. Mike Zserdin

    Chris, thank you. Well done. Challenging.

  13. It’s amazing how often God is saying yes. I think He’s more often saying yes than no. We’re just too afraid to agree with Him.

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