"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then, you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will." Romans 12:2
This is a pretty hefty verse and one that has literally transformed my life. Before God took me to a place where He could teach me one-on-one and only He could grow me, I wanted to do things my way. I wanted to live life my way and then ask God to save me when I messed up. Thankfully, by His grace, He has saved me from a lot of messes I have gotten myself into, but I have learned that by spending time in His Word and prayer and being a DOER of the Word, that I can save myself a lot of heartache because He will lead me where He wants me to go. I am not saying that the path He leads us on will always be easy and trial-free, but there is an overwhelming sense of joy and peace because you know He's with you, even through the hard times.
When Josh and I started praying for me to stay at home full time, we had no idea how or if everything would work out. We expected a tangible answer, a concrete sign that we would be able to stay afloat financially if I quit my job. We never got it while we were praying, but God did give us an overwhelming sense of His will. He spoke to us, provided confirmation, and gave us a sense of peace that passes all understanding. On paper, we would not make it on Josh's paycheck alone. He had to have a different job or I had to continue to work, but we could not get past the fact that He was asking us to trust Him and step out on faith. So, we did. It wasn't until after we committed to the decision that I would stay at home full time after this school year that Josh got a new job. We stepped out on faith because that's where God was leading us and He caught us and provided for us. Even with Josh's new job, we have enough to pay the bills and some groceries. No medical bills, no savings, no clothes, nothing extra. We have no idea how God will provide, but we know His will and we know His promises.
First, God had to transform our thoughts. Our minds had to be transformed, like He says in the verse above. Our natural mind says we have to have the money first before I quit my job. God says we don't. God says all we have to do is trust Him. In Luke, He promises that nothing is impossible with Him. In Isaiah, He says "for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. The answer we were looking for was "our way," not God's way. God works on faith. Hebrews describes faith as "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Josh and I were sure of what we hoped for (me staying at home) and certain of what we didn't see (the money).
A lot of people claim they don't know God's will for their lives, but they don't want to stop living according to their will. No one will ever know someone else's will unless they get to know them. Once God is able to transform our thinking, He can do great things through us. We don't have to have the answers we seek; we just have to trust Him. "Without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He earnestly rewards those who seek Him" Hebrews 11:6.
If we are trying to discern God's will for our lives, then we must allow Him to transform our mind. We must not conform any longer to the way the world lives, but be willing to live according to His Word, even though it means we're different. He has only good things to give us (Romans 8:28). He wants to bless us, but we have to have faith and trust that He will provide in His timing, not ours. He wants us to live the abundant life that only He can provide (John 10:10)!