I'm Just Wondering…

I’ve been wrestling with a question in my own life lately…

Are opportunities always an indicator of God’s will?

I think sometimes I assume that if a “good” opportunity comes my way it must be “God opening a door for me.”

I don’t want to minimize the significance of the doors that God does open in our lives, but I think too many times we blindly assume good things are God things

and I’m wondering if they always are?

While a good opportunity may not take you down a path out of God’s will for your life, is it possible that too many good opportunities could distract you from the thing that God is asking you to pursue?  Could you possibly be chasing many good things and missing the great thing, the unique thing that God wants for you?

It’s human nature to want to define our purpose in life.  I think that’s a hole in our hearts that God purposefully left there for us to wrestle with.  I truly believe that God has a plan and purpose for each of us.  He didn’t design us uniquely just to prove that He could.  He designed us uniquely because He wants us to use those uniquenesses to play our specific part in His story.  He doesn’t need all the same characters.  He needs our differences.

So with all that in mind, is it possible that you need to quit wandering through open doors and instead get clarity on who He has designed you to be? How has He uniquely wired you and what can you contribute best to His kingdom that no one else can do?

And if you could define that, don’t you think it would make choosing the “good” things much less complicated?  You could find yourself saying “no” much more often to the myriad of good things in exchange for the few “great” things that are much more closely aligned with what you have best to give.

I’m just wondering…

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  • Sherie September 21, 2010  

    Jenni, it sounds like tough but good wrestling. I wish I had good biblical answers, but I can only answer from my experience. I have found there are many open doors, or at least doors that look open, and going through them just because they are open can be dangerous or misleading, or it can be great. There are many routes from point A to point B, and I think what is most important is the process.

    We can have a really mixed up belief that good things are from God and bad things are not. What if God wants you to go down a really hard path because that is the one thing that will change you and make you into the person or equip you to be the person that he wants? What if you are the person that can best live out something that will bring him tremendous glory? The real question is will we follow, no matter where he leads. If we are pursuing an opportunity for our glory instead of his, then we are not truly following. In my life right now these questions leave me wrestling with giving up some really good things to pursue being faithful and hopefully seeing even better things. Maybe that is part of what you are wrestling with too. Praying for you to find wisdom, direction, and peace. Not matter what, choose him!

    • jcatron September 21, 2010  

      Thanks for your encouraging words and prayers, Sherie.

      • Sherie September 21, 2010  

        Looking forward to seeing you in Chicago. Safe travels.

  • Bethany September 21, 2010  

    Thanks for posting a great question. I have struggled through this many times and have come to realize that is a very human perspective. When I start judging what to do based on good and bad, I take the big, God-sized picture away. I have had to walk many "bad" paths to allow God to make me more like Jesus. I think of three things Biblically when I wrestle with this. 1. the story of Joseph. He had many "bad" things that turn into perfect God opportunities – not just for him, but for entire nations. 2. "The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous" God can and will grant good things even when we are out of His will and He will ask us to walk hard paths to be in His will. 3. John 15. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more. I totally agree that God will cut us back to make us healthy.

    Thanks for all you challenge us with and remind us of as we walk with God!!! many blessings today!

    • jcatron September 21, 2010  

      So true, Bethany. Our perspective can be so skewed.

  • Elizabeth September 21, 2010  

    God is dealing with me about doors specifically this week and currently has my chin lifted and my eyes fixed on Him and I've handed over the keys of fear, control, and access. I'm sorting through some core life questions in this season. Our pastor is preaching through Romans and last week the verse (Romans 14:23) about "everything that does not come from faith is sin." The passage is really about doing things out of your own conscience in faith while also not using your liberty to cause others to stumble… and I've heard some very strict interpretations of this specific verse that left me more afraid and confused than deliberate. I was challenged THIS time to be deliberate. That we can busy ourselves doing many good and right things for all kinds of motives. If we haven't heard from the LORD to do it and we're not doing it out of faith, it is wrong for us. It seems hard that it actually says here it is sin, but this I do know. God is serious about our eyes being on Him and about His sheep being able to hear His voice and not the voices of so many others. We so quickly and readily turn to them and to their books and to the right things God has called OTHERS to without trusting He truly has a unique purpose for us, just like you've said, and trusting we can hear his voice clarifying that purpose and leading us on a path, the very surface of which is faith.

    • jcatron September 21, 2010  

      Thanks for sharing your processing of this issue. Great stuff to think about.

  • JasonWert September 21, 2010  

    I think this is the best post from you I've read so far. I've struggled with this quite often in my life. I'll admit I'm so desperate to find what God has me designed to that I'll jump at open doors. Things usually go well for three to six months and then it becomes clear that's not God's purpose for me. Then I get frustrated, I start searching more and the cycle repeats. I start to lose sight of what can be great because I'm hoping just to find something good because it's better than nothing.

    Thanks, Jenni. Good to know that even someone as powerfully used by God as you can struggle with this.

  • ron.edmondson September 21, 2010  

    I wrote a post once titled "Sometimes God Provides Opportunity Just to Show that He Can". Yes. He does

  • Dee September 21, 2010  

    Good Question. The hard part is when volunteers think they have talent in an area and we all are trying to “redirect” them because its just not there. So always trying to do the ministry you are conditioned for may not be the best place. I have found wherever God places me, he gives the ability in spite of my talents…lol

  • emilycarringer September 21, 2010  

    Love these thoughts. Thanks for sharing. This is exactly the journey He has me on right now. What an affirmation this was for me!

    • jcatron September 21, 2010  

      Thanks Emily! Praying for your journey too!

  • blaneyoung September 21, 2010  

    My wife and I have been thinking about this lately.

    And for us, saying and praying, "God, please show us where to go by opening doors and closing ones you don't want us to walk through" was becoming a cop-out.

    It was like, we don't know if we can listen well enough (or if you can speak clearly enough), so we will just go.

    Thanks for sharing your struggle in this area!

    • jcatron September 21, 2010  

      So true that we use "open doors" as a cop-out to really hearing what God is saying to us. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jessica September 21, 2010  

    Couldnt you have came up with this a month ago 🙂 that would have maybe helped my broken heart 🙂 JK love you GREAT POST!

  • Kevin September 22, 2010  


    This is a great post. I am struggling with some of those exact questions. We have been looking at opportunities that have opened up in front of us. As Ashlee and I were praying we decided we needed to wait and seek God a little longer. As we did that suddenly a couple of other opportunities have opened up that contradict the other opportunities. Very difficulty right now…

    I will be praying for you!

  • Linda Ojutkangas September 26, 2010  

    Good thoughts, Jen. The following:
    "So with all that in mind, is it possible that you need to quit wandering through open doors and instead get clarity on who He has designed you to be? "
    Really makes me think. I have been doing some deep thought and prayer this weekend, looking back at open doors I have walked through in my life and definitely feel as though I shouldn't have walked through some of them.
    Now the trick is to make sure I really listen and follow His plan going forward. Thank you for sharing…
    I love you!

  • willjohnston October 1, 2010  

    I realized a while ago that I needed more focus in my life. I spent a lot of time building and running a web business during the time immediately preceding and following my transition from a political job into ministry. After a while I realized that I had to give something up. I couldn't do everything I wanted to do well. If I tried to be a businessman too, my ministry would suffer. So, I made the difficult decision to stop doing something I enjoy in order to focus on my calling, so that I could give it the time, energy, and attention it deserves.