How to Know God's Will for Your Life After High School
In our young years, the key isn’t so much about what we do, but about who we will become.

How to Know God’s Will for Your Life After High School

by Isaac Bennett
4/10/17 Christian Living

“What are you going to do now?”

“I’m . . . not sure.”

The chilling tale of conversations around your graduation party punch bowl. Aunt Rose might as well have asked, “What did the beginning of the universe look like?”

Thoughts race through your mind: I should know what to say, right?

Of course, there’s always the default: “I’m going to take a year off.”

Translation: I have no idea . . . who invited Aunt Rose?

Breathe easy friend, you don’t have to know the will of God for your life at 18.

I once witnessed a shepherd call 1100 sheep down a mountain with his voice. It was a remarkable sight. Not one of them was lost or left behind. They all knew the voice of the shepherd and walked directly toward where he was. I learned a lot that day about shepherds and sheep. It translated into a self-revelation that has helped me navigate moments of life where so much seems at stake if I were to miss the will of God.

Apparently sheep are one of the most unintelligent animals. I’ve heard they will eat a patch of grass right over a steep cliffside. I always thought that we were referred to as sheep in the Bible because God thought we were cute. Turns out that isn’t the entire reason. The well-being of a sheep is almost entirely in the hands of the shepherd. He helps move them to well-watered areas, he defends them from the elements and predators, and he helps them stand up when their legs become so numb that they are cast down (literally, fall over and can’t get up). Yes, this is a real thing that happens to sheep.

God is a better leader than I am a follower.

Here is where young believers can get tripped up—we mix up our calling and assignment. Our calling is the internal reality of who we are to God and before God, forever. It is intrinsically linked to something called our identity. Our assignment is a short-term mission (work, school, ministry, family). Everyone has both calling and assignment. Our assignments change, our calling never changes. When we’re asking, “What is the will of God for my life?” we often mean, “What is my next assignment?”

In our young years, the key isn’t so much about what we do, but about who we will become. The Lord desires that we become rooted with our identity in Him and that does not flow out of our assignment.

In our culture we often self-identify with our assignments, “My name is Aaron and I’m an accountant.” Aaron identifies as an accountant. Why? Because society tells us that we are what we do. In reality, our assignments should flow out of the revelation of our identity. A person is more than their career and/or educational pursuits. Those assignments are temporary while their calling—identity—is eternal.

With this is mind, our assignment after high school should not be the primary focus of our time and emotional strength. Typically, there are two to three options that lay before us during these transitional times in our lives. Pick whichever one you are the most excited about.

We can stop seeking the will of God like a mysterious 8-ball that is shaken up and will hopefully give us a clear answer. What if God doesn’t really care what you choose as long as you keep the main thing the main thing?

Paul writes that “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18; emphasis added). What is the hope of that calling? What is Paul driving at in relation to that call? It’s found in the previous verse: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of [Jesus] (Ephesians 1:17).

THAT is our ultimate calling. To know and experience Christ. To see Him, savor Him, and be completely consumed with Him in delight. Our calling is tied directly to His identity.

As a leader of youth and young adults, here is what I usually ask those seeking the will of the Lord, “Has God clearly directed you to pursue a specific path?” The answer is, “No,” 99 out of 100 times. Then I ask, “What do you want to do?” Here they typically brighten and say something like, “I want to go into engineering,” or, “I’d like to pursue art or medical school.” The answer becomes simple: do that. As long as we retain the pursuit of Christ as the priority of our lives, our assignment will always remain where it is supposed to be—secondary.

Here are some questions that may be helpful to ask yourself as you discover God’s will:

    • Who am I when no one else sees?
    • Do I interpret circumstances through the lens of God’s Word, or do I interpret God’s Word through the lens of my circumstances?
    • What do I believe God feels about me in the moment I fail?
    • Do I relate to God as a Father?
    • How do I define success? Is that definition derived from biblical values?
    • Am I more concerned with my reputation than Jesus’ glory?
    • How must I live in order to stand before Christ without regrets?

One day you’ll be the Aunt Rose at the punch bowl of your nephew’s graduation party. You’ll know what to ask: Who do you plan on becoming?

If you’re wanting to grow closer to God and share Him with others, consider ministry training in the context of day and night prayer. At International House of Prayer University, we equip men and women to prophesy, preach, and lead worship from the place of intimacy with Jesus. Learn more about our classes and programs, including for Fall 2018 »

Isaac Bennett


  • Lead Pastor, Forerunner Church

Isaac and his wife, Morgan, are full-time intercessory missionaries who serve at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. They have five children. Isaac is the lead pastor at Forerunner Church and an instructor at the International House of Prayer University. The Bennetts’ heart is to see day-and-night prayer established across the earth and the next generation called into wholehearted love for Jesus.

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