What Am I Supposed to Do With My Life?
Liberty University’s founder, Dr. Jerry Falwell, recruited Johnnie when he was an 18-year-old freshman, kept his age a secret, and assigned him to speak at a weekly church service attended by 150 students. “I was thrown into the deep and without the knowledge or experience necessary for the responsibility I was given, but our university’s founder believed in on-the-job training and believed young leaders could do just that – lead. Johnnie is sure glad Dr. Falwell believed in him. His age didn’t hold him back very long. He completed his undergraduate education in two years, and went on to complete a master’s degree at the Liberty Theological Seminary and Graduate School. In 2003, he became the Campus Pastor and Senior Vice President of Communications at Liberty where Johnnie helped run day to day operations and spoke to over 10,000 students on campus each week. He also traveled across the globe teaching world religions on the ground in Israel and India. His humanitarian efforts have taken him to more than two dozen nations where he has worked with genocide victims in Bosnia and Rwanda, visited the world’s largest refugee camp on the border between Kenya and Somalia, and established a sustainable project in economically down trodden Zimbabwe. In July, after more than twelve years in higher education, Johnnie made a career change. He left his position at Liberty to accept a position as the Chief of Staff for Hollywood’s top grossing producer, Mark Burnett.
DISCOVERING GOD’S WILL
“The will of God is more about who you are then it is about where you are or what you do in your life. If you work on who you are, then much of the where you are and what you’re doing will take care of themselves,” shares Johnnie. For example, an athlete trains himself to run the race with a daily rigorous training regimen. He does not wait until the day of the race to train. The believer must do the same. Prayer, reading Scripture, and fasting can help you more clearly understand God’s character and make you receptive to the plans He has for your life. The more decisions you make in life, the more you prepare yourself to make bigger decisions when you come to life’s crossroads. In Proverbs 3:6 Solomon says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (NKJV). Johnnie says Solomon was essentially saying, “Just work on becoming the person God wants you to be, and God will take care of guiding you.” Your spiritual disciplines make you, and then you make decisions.
Many people get restless as they wait for God to show them what they are supposed to do with their life. They pray and wait for an answer. When the answers do not come they begin asking God for a sign. Johnnie says this kind of “spiritual waiting” isn’t helpful; it’s actually harmful. He says stop wasting your time waiting…there is always a logical direction to follow, a next nearest step to take, and often the will of God is more about following that next nearest step than it is about waiting for God to send a sign. God wants you to take advantage of the opportunities in your life as opposed to waiting for the next new thing. “Paul didn’t wait until God showed him where to go; he just went until God stopped him, and that’s the missing key to so many people’s understanding of God’s will. God’s will is more about going till he stops you than waiting until he starts you,” shares Johnnie.
WISE DECISION MAKING
When Johnnie worked in higher education he met many students who were anxiously searching for God’s will for their life. The students felt an enormous amount of pressure not to “miss God’s will.” Growing up in church, Johnnie remembers hearing how God had a prearranged plan for his life and how he must follow it in order to be a good Christian. “I had to be very careful in every decision I made, because if I made one deviation from the plan, my life would spiral wildly out of control,” shares Johnnie. Many Christians can relate…they struggle with the same fear - not getting God’s will right for their life. So, how do you move forward with making a decision? Johnnie offers the following principles to help assist you in making wise decisions:
- Where God commands, we must obey. Obeying God’s commands is foundational to our faith.
- Where there is no command, God gives us freedom (and responsibility) to choose. It is important to be in a right relationship with God so that our decisions seek to glorify Him.
- Where there is no command, God gives us wisdom to choose. Consult God’s guidebook – the Bible – and pray for the wisdom to make good decisions.
- When we have chosen what is moral and wise, we must trust the sovereign God to work all the details together for good. “His will takes into account all of our individual decisions, and it is not derailed by the exercise of our personal freedom,” shares Johnnie.