You’re not going to miss out on God’s plan.

A little over a year ago, I felt a crippling anxiety about whether God was calling me to move. For weeks, that pernicious anxiety ate away at me, making me a basket case—all in the name of following God’s will.

It was a problem. And many Christians seem to face the same problem: we worry whether God has called us take this job, or to move to this place or even to marry someone.

As I learned, the root of the problem is that “calling” is ambiguous. Callings can be general or specific. General callings fall under the umbrella of stewardship: We are called to make good decisions with what we’ve been given. Specific callings are directives. A directive from God is a call to perform some particular action.

Scripture offer examples of both kinds of callings. In the Old Testament, Abraham is given multiple directives: for instance, he is told to pack up and move—and he is told to sacrifice his son.

But in the New Testament, we read the parable of the talents (Matthew 25: 14-30). In this parable, the master’s reactions to each servant’s actions make clear that he expects them to use the money in some way rather than bury it in the ground, even though they were not given specific instructions.

So how likely is it that you will receive a direct instruction from God? Scripture offers a way to answer the question. And the answer is: not very likely. It’s easy to check this on your own. Pick any biblical figure (except Jesus—it’s cheating to use Him since He’s both God and man) and count the number of times God gives that person a directive, then compare that number to how long the person lived.

What you’ll find is that even for someone like Abraham, directives were relatively rare. So if God rarely gave directives Abraham, Moses or Mary, maybe we need to adjust our expectations for receiving directives ourselves.

So if God doesn’t give you directives, does it matter what you do?

Christian tradition uses the language of stewardship to help us here. God is the master, we are His stewards. Everything you have—even your life itself—has been given to you by God. The only way not to be a steward of something you have is to own it. And nothing you have is truly yours—everything is on loan from God—so stewardship pervades every aspect of your life.

As stewards, we are expected to do something good with what we’ve been given, and that is why what we do with our lives matters. Stewardship—of your time, talents, resources, relationships and anything else you’ve been given—is your primary calling. And if stewardship is your primary calling, and if that call pervades your entire life, you need not worry about missing God’s calling for your life. Your call is simple: Use well the abilities that God has given you. Even for those decisions that seem big and important—where to move, what job to take, who to marry—your only call is to make a good decision. That is all there is to good stewardship.

The goal isn’t to make all the perfect decisions, either. The goal of stewardship is to honor God. If that is our goal, then our focus needs to move away from what particular actions we take to what kind of person we are. For if we are people who desire to honor God, we will be good stewards, and therefore will use well the abilities that we have been given.

How do I know whether you’re using well the abilities God has given me? And how do I know whether I’ve made a good decision for those seemingly big and important decisions?

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