How do you know if you’re on the right path in life? If it feels wrong, is it wrong? Could God be trying to tell you something?
Question on Quora:
How do I know if I’m on the right path? I’m going to school for one thing and I keep getting set backs. I’m wondering if this is God’s way of saying you’re on the wrong path, you need to go in a different direction. How do I know?
First, what is your gut feeling? If you have no peace inside, if you’re constantly hitting brick walls and frustration, then it may indeed be God trying to steer you in another direction. I actually encountered that myself during the past couple of years, and for a nearly 49 y.o. person, I thought it took me WAAY too long to figure it out.
Second, one of the best statements I’ve heard about the voice of God is, “The voice of God is a growing conviction over time.” In other words, if, over a period of days, weeks, or months (depending on the situation), your belief in something (conviction) grows increasingly stronger, that is God communicating with you the way He wants you to go.
Those things said, in this world we will have tribulation. No doubt about it, no exceptions.
Everyone who goes after a big goal will encounter obstacles and setbacks. The difference is, a person usually has a strong conviction or passion about their goal and so is motivated to struggle through those setbacks, not give up on what they want.
If you have an obvious gut feeling that you’ve chosen the wrong path, and/or a growing conviction over time about it, I’d say it’s time to hit your knees and wrestle with God for a while. Ask Him to help sort out if you’re just experiencing the normal struggling, or if He does indeed have another better path for you.
In addition, consider tagging along with someone who is working in the career that you’re going to school for, maybe for a week or so. Ask them to tell you the pros and cons of their job. Often, a career we think will be fulfilling actually brings a lot more stress and headache than meets the layman’s eyes. What this professional reveals to you may validate your gut feeling/growing conviction, making you more sure of whether you should make a change.
My answer speaks specifically about sorting out the choices involved in a higher education. But there are a lot of different times in life when we have to make choices, and the ideas above will help whenever you need to figure out if you’re on the right path.