When I was a kid we would sing a song:
This is the day, this is the day
That the Lord has made, That the Lord has made
I will rejoice, I will rejoice
and be glad in it, and be glad in it
Chances are if you attended most any church as a child you sung that song as well.
What I love the most about this song is its present-ness, this is the day that the Lord has made. It can be hard living in this day, this moment, right now. I find that most people prefer to time travel mentally and dwell either on the past or the future. Our nows are often swallowed by the thens.
When I graduated from college I was completely unsure of my future; what it was that God wanted me to do with my life. The culture of church often pressures young folks that are devout and have some inkling of a ministerial call into discerning 'God's will for their life.' Frankly, it's downright intimidating, especially when you are in your early 20's and your adult identity is just forming. I was literally depressed at times because I didn't know what God's will was for me.
In hindsight I see God's hand it work in my life, and most of us see God's hand in our own lives as well, but I was so worried about the future that I missed opportunities laying right at my feet to serve God in the present moment. Francis Chan remarks that God rarely gives his followers a five or a ten year plan for their life up front; rather we are to seek out God's will in the present moment, seek what it is that God is asking of us right now, an then do it.
I was convinced that if I knew God's plan that the rest would just kind of fall into place, that I wouldn't have to think or do much about it. The problem with that was that it totally removed me from the equation. Certainly God has specific desires for us; but when we ask God to lay it all out on the table what we are really saying is, 'God, I don't want to have to think about this thing, I don't want to be challenged to bring any of myself to this partnership; just tell me where to go, what to say, how to say it.' God doesn't work that way. God wants you to be engaged with him in the building of His kingdom using your unique gifts and strengths.
Knowing God's will is, more than anything, a surrendering of the the present moment, and listening for God's prompting. Jesus says as much when he says:
Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
Learn from the past, look with hope to the future, but live in the present and listen to God in the here and now.