When Wanting to Please God Can Paralyze You


You cannot move.

You are afraid of “missing it.”

What if this is not God’s will?

What if you are only 30% or 50% or 80% sure the thought you have floating around in your head is the Holy Spirit speaking rather than your own idea?

What if you step out and find out that after the risk and the loss and the change, it might not have been God?

Hearing God is not complicated. It really isn’t. However, anybody that cares enough about honoring Jesus has had times when major decisions were in front of you and all you had was a thought. Thoughts come from God, Satan, or you.

Now, do not misunderstand me, it is of paramount important that you seek God when it comes to decisions, especially major decisions, in your life. But what I have found after 10+ years of pastoring is that sometimes, people are crippled by something that seems rather holy. You may have such a desire to please God, to get it right, to not step out of His will, that you are too afraid to take a leap of faith. Look at what God once told Abraham: “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).

Abraham responded, “Ok God.”

Many of us would have responded, “Show me? What do you mean show me? You want me to leave everything I have ever known and all you are telling me is that once I have taken the leap, you will show me bits and pieces along the way? I don’t think so. Look at what I am giving up for you. Surely you can give me more information than that!”

This is the reason you and I are not referred to as the Father of Faith.

Too many Christians are disguising their fear behind a desire to please God. You so want to please God you no longer trust Him enough to take a leap of faith. What do I mean? Well, if you really trust Him and have really spent time seeking His heart, there comes a point when you may have to take a step without 100% certainty. Granted, there are wonderful times when God makes something 100% clear. I love these times. However, there are instances when that kind of clarity is absent. In these situations, will you and I still be willing to move with God? I suggest to you that you may be wanting 100% certainty so that no faith is required. So here is the challenge: quit waiting for God to give you mathematical certainty so that you do not have to feel as though you are taking a risk. I think faith is more about having a hunch concerning what God is asking of you and then taking a leap of faith (though some uncertainty may remain) knowing that if for some reason you do not miss it, God in all of His sovereignty can even then redeem and redirect.

After all, are you not a son? A daughter? Should not the security that His love provides be a trampoline rather than a shelter?

So seek God. Cry out to God. Let God lead you and drop hunches into your spirit and heart. But know that sometimes the true test of your faith will be whether or not you trust God enough to jump in the absence of what can be characterized as mathematical or logical certainty.

Let your desire to please God rule in your heart and life, but do NOT hide behind it. There comes a point when pleasing God is more about faithing Him even if the prayerful hunch turns out not to be Him. Do not forget, He is powerful!

One Qualifier: The bigger the decision, the more time I would spend seeking God and getting wise counsel before I took a life-changing leap. I do believe that God desires to give more and more clarity depending upon the size of the impact the decision will have upon your life and those around you. So, on one extreme is paralysis by fear (“I am so afraid of not pleasing God or taking a step that turns out not to be Him.”) and on the other extreme is a careless approach that does not take God’s guidance seriously enough. 


Published by B.J. Condrey, PhD

Dr. Condrey holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Missouri-KC, a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in Ethics & Practical Theology from the University of Edinburgh. He is ACSI certified. Dr. Condrey writes courses and teaches Psychology, Bible, and C.S. Lewis at Enlightium Academy, where he began working in 2016. He has served as a youth, young adult, and small group pastor in the local church, and currently teaches Ethics at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has a book published by Wipf & Stock (Breaking Ground) along with other publications. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing, spending time with his family, traveling, trout fishing, family hikes, and drinking coffee! He is passionate about helping young people construct a biblical worldview so that their faith involves both the mind and heart. He has been married since 2009 and has two children.

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