Wow, I've never been called Kristine before. Karen, Kathleen, Kathy, but never Kristine. It's a new one. ;)I like that joke, as a way to tell people that God doesn't live your life for you. What if God's plan is for me to do something else? How would I know? Although God is certainly capable, I don't know that He has a plan for each of the 6 billion people on the planet. How does free will play into this? Does God have a plan, but gives us the time and choice to see if that if that is the path we will take? I'm interested to hear your answers. Thank you! -Katherine
Sorry Katherine - and I thought I double-checked your name too! Well, now that I go the name right, here are some responses to your questions:
How do we know God's plan and how does free will play into it?
As with many things in life it is trial and error. We learn by stepping out and walking in faith and being open to God's correction and guidance. Learning to dream God's dreams comes by learning as much about God as possible:
Start by listening more to God's word than to all the other words around you.
Read your life through the lense of God's word as opposed to reading God's word through the lense of your life.
Spend some time in Ps 37:4-8
Where it talks about learning to delight yourself in the Lord - and He will give you the desires of your heart - That is a great secret - as you delight in the things of God and do good - your desires, your dreams become closer and closer to God's dreams -
God often speaks through His people. Hang out with people who have followed God for a long time and seen to have a good track record hearing God's voice. Join a Christian small group. Share the hopes and dreams you think God is planting in your life with a safe, wise God-follower and see what they think. This may not always work, but it is a way God uses to confirm his direction.
Attend worship - Of course you would guess a preacher would say this ☺ but it is so true. God often speaks and confirms direction in worship.
Last but not least - PRAY: Ask God to reveal His will to you! James says that we have not because we ask not. Believe it or not God is more interested in helping you find His direction than you are! He wants you to learn to hear His voice and to follow.
Remember - I think this has helped me more than anything else. If I try to follow the clear instructions of the Bible in my everyday life-Simply do as Jesus teaches - all other things seem to fall into place.
Hope this helps!