Create a Life You Love

get your copy today!

My new book is here!

How to quiet outside voices so you can finally hear your own.

The Lipstick Gospel

Does God’s Will Always Feel Like Peace?

I'm Stephanie May Wilson!

I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

hey there

The beginning of the story

get a copy

Get my new book!

Girls Night Podcast

Navigating big decisions & life transitions — one girls night at a time!

TOp categories

The Gift Shop

Matching shirts and meaningful gifts for best friends.

Books & Courses

Books, courses, workbooks, and guides to help you create a life you love.

Create A Life You Love: Comes out on April 30th!

I wish we’d stop measuring the will of God based on peace.

When faced with a big decision we ask each other: do you have peace about it? Where’s the peace? Do you feel at peace about that decision?

We think that wherever the peace goes, we should go too.

But lately I’m wondering if peace is actually the foolproof compass we imagine it to be.

If you read through the bible, most of the people in the stories had really scary assignments: Go someplace you’ve never been, fight a giant, give birth to God's child, die on a cross.

Nothing about these assignments screams peace to me—at least not peace in the way we usually think of it.

When I think of the word peace, I think of a hot shower on a cold morning, a fluffy bed at the end of a long day, or a hug from my dad.

And for some people, the will of God may feel like that.

But for me, that kind of peace has led me astray every single time.

I have felt peace about decisions that were really, truly, wrong for me. I was praying about it, I was seeking the Lord’s guidance, but I still had total peace that I should marry him… and him… and him. Red flags be damned.

If you feel peace when the Lord is leading you somewhere…good for you. Enjoy being wrinkle free for the rest of your life.

I, on the other hand, am going to have a face like a Shar Pei from all of the times I’ve been asked to do things that scare me to death.

I have yet to see the name of a man in the sky, or a gigantic road sign saying, “Hey, Stephanie May… move to Georgia and work for a missions organization.” Although it’s probably a good idea that God doesn’t work that way. If he did, I would probably think he was talking to the other Stephanie May that was considering a move to Georgia in the name of missions.

I don’t hear a voice from above, and no matter how hard I beg and plead, God rarely gives me the kind of confirmation I’m looking for.

But along with a major lack of signage when God is leading me somewhere, I also have a distinct lack of peace.

I cry like a baby in the face of life change. All of the positive possibilities fade away and all I can see are the unknowns and the shiny options I’m leaving behind.

I’ve learned to trick myself into big decisions—signing up with a down payment months in advance—committing to something I know I’ll be afraid of later. I spend the next several months crying and throwing temper tantrums, but at least it’s too late to change my mind.

But on the other side of those fear-filled decisions have come the sweetest parts of my life. That first mission trip, the chance to study abroad, quitting the conventional career, going back to it years later, have all been the most terrifying, best decisions of my life.

If we’re doing life the way that Jesus did, then peace might be the wrong thing to pray for. Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow him—to lose our lives so we can gain them.

I don’t know about you, but losing my life sounds like a terrible thing. It sounds like ditching all of my efforts at planning something good for the itty-bitty hope that God could whip up something better.

I think that’s why they call it a leap of faith, because it feels like a leap. The fear, the unknown, having no idea what’s waiting for you at the bottom, your heart feeling like it’s going to come out of your throat, and the acute knowledge that you’re screwed if God doesn’t show up…that sounds like a leap to me.

God’s people have done some crazy things through the years. They’ve conquered kingdoms, shut the mouths of lions, and died for the things they knew were good and right.

They were crazy, radical, by-the-skin-of-their-teeth and by-the-grace-of-God kind of people.

But God tells us not to be afraid. He tells us to be strong and courageous, to trust him, to have faith and not to doubt because with the kind of life we’re going to live with him, we’re going to need that advice. And it’s scary, but it is always good.

Every single time it’s been better than I ever could have asked for or imagined.

Every single time God gets to look at me and say, “Stephanie, this is why following me is ANYTHING but boring.”

I want that kind of life. I want to be living proof that God caught me every single time I found the courage to jump.

Where are you looking for peace in your life? What would it take for you to jump?

To see this article in its original location, check out Thoughts By Natalie!

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Wow Stephanie, this is so good! And I totally understand what you’re saying. I have faced choices in my life that seriously caused me stress. I think back to when I was 19 and trying to decide if I should really go to this small bible college in Missouri (which was a big deal for me considering I’d always lived in Texas. I prayed my heart out but I never heard a the big booming voice of God (like in the old Chuck Heston films) tell me, “JEREMY! MISSOURI IS WHERE YOU NEED TO GO. NOW GO!”

    Honestly, that kind of confirmation would have been pretty sweet…but that’s not what happened. I then decided to be like Elijah in the old testament…I shut my mouth and my thoughts and waited for that still small voice to tell me what to do…and you know what happened? Not a dang thing.

    So in the end I just had to make a decision and roll with it. I remember talking to one of my mentors before I moved to Missouri and telling Him how I wished God had had given me more confirmation with this choice. I was excited to go, but I was also uncomfortable not knowing if it was the right choice. My friend just looked at me and smiled and said, “Jeremy remember this, God is not concerned with your comfort, but with your character.”

    And then it hit me…I don’t need to have peace in the midst of this choice I’m making…I just need to trust that no matter what I’m not alone…and God is going to be there with me every step of the way. It’s not about feeling comfortable…it’s about how we respond when things get uncomfortable.

    Awesome post, thank you!

    • Hilton says:

      Oh my goodness you blessed me by being obedient and writing this. I like the statement God is not concerned about comfort but with our character! I just had to make a major decision I felt peace on up to it was time to follow through then the peace left!! But I went forward with it. To be honest I believe that God was testing me! To see If I would follow him direction. This blessed me!! His ways are higher and his thoughts are way higher Amen

  2. I truly felt God call me to move to Atlanta four years ago. It was as if He was sitting next to me in the car on the way home from visiting a friend there. And even though it was a huge leap of faith, I felt underlying peace throughout the whole process of quitting my solid job, selling everything I owned, saving up money, and telling everyone goodbye. I just knew I was doing the right thing.

    In a way, I think that spoiled me.

    In my relationship, it feels more like leaps of faith into the unknown with no real assurance that I am doing the right thing. It’s not that things have been bad. I have just never known what a healthy relationship looks like and I’m learning everything as I go. Same for John. And there’s really no amount of reading relationship books that really prepares you. I just go through each day surrendering to God and taking a leap of faith and reaping the good as it happens, as we make progress.

    The peace hits me most when I am anxious and cry out to God. I tell Him I don’t need Him to remove the conflict going on because I know it’s for a reason, but to help me get through it, and that’s when I get the “peace that surpassing understanding.” If we had peace all the time, we wouldn’t work towards anything. We’d just sit still. In our comfort zone. Nothing we do is wasted by God and I’ve learned that often it is fear of something that tells me I’m doing the right thing instead of peace.

  3. I’m a recent college grad and am eagerly search for that first job. So far, the rejection emails have been pouring in and I’ve started to question everything I thought I knew: am I good enough, is this the career for me, etc. While I wait for that first job, I’m doing an internship in a town that I’m less than comfortable in. There is no peace for me here. This post has help me see that being uncomfortable is okay. This uncomfortable feeling I have has made me feel weak and vulnerable, but it has allowed me to understand that it’s okay to be weak and vulnerable ( Because I feel scared and so not peaceful, I am finding strength in HIM. I never really thought about peace like this before. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Lauren Haney says:

    I get excited every time I see that you have a new post up – and you always hit dead on. Peace be with you – and grace when it’s not! 🙂

  5. Tara says:

    Stephanie!! Girl, you took the words right out of my mouth! I’ve been thinking on this for a few weeks after going through a really rough emotional time that threatened to knock me down for good. I was thinking about how many times we go by our emotions, how we’re feeling right now, than we go by our God. That’s caused me to question whether we’ve made our emotions our functional god or the God of the Bible the God of our lives (by “our”, I mean me). I definitely agree with you in saying that peace is not always where God is leading us and sometimes it’s a giant, super huge leap that causes us major anxiety, but later on teaches us to trust Him more. Love you, chicka!

  6. Hannah says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post! It came at just the right time as I am feeling called by God to take a leap of faith in a particular area in my life. These words speak life to me today. Have a lovely Independence Day!

  7. Kelly says:

    Last week I was reading Hosea, and I was struck by the fact that when God told Hosea to marry Gomer it wouldn’t have made any sense. Marrying a prostitute would’ve gone against everything Hosea knew. And yet God asked Hosea to marry her. It’s led me to realize that sometimes God asks us to do things that don’t make sense. Not only when we’re facing two decisions and he leads us to choose the one that makes less sense, but beyond that. Sometimes God presents us with situations that in no way fit into anything we were asking, hoping, planning, praying for. I need to work on listening to God in all things, even when it doesn’t make sense.

  8. misscaramichele says:

    I love this. Sometimes, I think we get really confused about what peace really means. I know I do. It’s not a feeling, not transitory, it’s something else entirely, something completely God. And when we pursue feeling comfortable about something, which is often what we mean by “peace” we are often cutting God out of the equation entirely.

    • Antoinette says:

      RIGHT OUT OF MY HEART! This is spot-on! I think what Stephanie means by “peace” here is comfort… which is how most of us humans define peace. Peace is way more than feeling “right” about a decision. It is TRUSTING God regardless of how we feel, knowing that His plans for us are ultimately for good and not for evil, that ALL things work together for good to them that love Him.

  9. Catherine says:

    Trust is not about acting in peace, it’s about acting in faith. I searched and searched for peace in regards to relationships, and I have yet to feel it. The only peace that comes in this regard is when I remember: God is in control. As long as I trust Him, I can handle whatever comes. This has nothing to do with peace about the actual decision, but rather, peace that even in making the wrong decision, God will take care of me.

    Thank you for posting this. You always write interesting, helpful posts, but this one in particular is very pertinent to my life.

  10. ebrad12 says:

    Amazing amazing post! This goes so well with the book I am reading, “follow me” by David Platt. I’ve felt India on my heart for the past couple of months. I’ve come up with silly reasons not to go but it’s so so hard to avoid it now. I’m a sophomore in college and recently my career choice has been on my mind. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do but then Jesus said, whoa there. Slow down a bit. I’m thinking about Youth ministry now rather that my PR major!! He does incredible things that I could not even ask for or imagine. How faithful!!!

  11. Vonna says:

    This is so amazing! I was actually wrestling with the notion of “feeling peace in your spirit” as God telling you that whatever-you-are-concerned-with is TRULY His will, and then after seeing some unsatisfactory websites, I stumble across yours! I love LOVE your website and the life journey that God has you on, and I understood everything you wrote about because I go through everything you have mentioned (with my own life’s special twist 🙂 ). I’m in a similar situation as you in terms of my soon-to-be one year old relationship with my lovely boyfriend, and after reading this plus some other ones, I feel strangely…alot more relaxed! “At peace” even, and that God is with me and guiding me through everything because I’m not the weird exception 🙂 I really wish that we could be real life friends! God bless! <3 <3 <3

  12. Liezl nel says:

    Am facing a huge life changing decision and reading your article helped alot, I nearly made the wrong decision because i felt no peace about leaving the city where we lived for 16 years and move to the farm, although i always had this dream in my heart to go make a living there some day. It seemed silly to leave a good job, good income, uproot everyone to follow this dream with real challenges coming along with it, and no guarenteed income..But i do believe now that to feel anxious about is perfectly normal, after all, God planted this desire in our hearts, husband and two kids all keen to go! So leaving end of June to go dairy faming! Thank you so much, so glad i saw your article!!

  13. Anna Kaye says:

    Yes thank you for addressing this. I am super indecisive so I’m ashamed to say I rarely feel peace about decisions I make. I would always feel like I wasn’t close enough to God if I didn’t feel said peace. But God works out ever situation for good. And all we have to do is just show up and trust.

  14. Kara says:

    I want to say, I was so happy to find someone who sees this the same way I do! Wisdom, history, and the bible tell us that the greatest things done on earth have been accomplished by those who dared to step (way) out of their comfort zones and take a leap of faith. We are always told to live by faith and not by sight; and let’s face it – in the flesh, that is terrifying! We are naturally creatures of comfort. It is much easier to take the path of least resistance and to feel peaceful about everything we do. But if we’re stepping out in faith, we’re going to feel some nerves! Sometimes we pray and pray and we think we’re being led down a rosy easy path to our destiny, when it’s the wrong thing all together. And sometimes, what we’re really meant to do is something we might have never considered. Look at Moses. He had every excuse in the world for God. I really doubt he felt “peace” in the way people talk about. But in the end, God had great plans for him. Sometimes it’s just about trusting that whatever happens, God will see us through. The great thing about God is that even if we make the wrong choices, as long as we keep our eyes on God, He will use our mistakes to guide us back onto the path he meant us to be on. As long as we surrender ourselves to his will, and do what he says, it all works out for our good. So there’s no need to worry! Thus, the peace of god 🙂

  15. Svet says:

    Amen, I have found too that the hardest parts of my life where his name was most glorified and he was made known in my life. I have never found this “peace” in things he asked me to do, that I tried to run away from, but instead like you said he shows himself the most, and his name is known when we go through those trials. This gives me hope that the things I choose are no longer for my benefit, but for his name! Amen! Thanks for this

  16. John says:

    A thoughtful post Steph. I have endured over thirty years of this elusive search for peace and it has cost me much. It has also cost dearly those around me. At the moment I am agonising about an issue but see your thoughts as part of a way forward. God bless.

  17. Barbara says:

    Hi. I appreciate your candor and believe you have expressed what the majority of God loving christians feel. I want to share a thought, though, if I might.
    There is human peace, and then there is a super-natural peace. That “peace that passes all understanding” is the peace that God gives to help us go forward or stand through circumstances that would not normally bring us peace. Like Stephen during his stoning for example.
    You are totally right that if we want to feel a human peace when making a decision about an unknown outcome, that will probably trip us up most of the time.
    If we want to know God`s will, the number one decision maker will be the Word of God – because His will is right there. Then, Jesus stated that “My sheep hear my voice” – – When we are trying to make a NOW decision our first step is to be sure it is a good decision according to the word of God (no lying, no cheating, in obedience to parents for children, etc.) and then we can listen to that “still, small voice” which will also give us peace or inquietude, but not on a human level. As you said, we can get mixed up in all sorts of trouble that way. It is something that is developed with time. Hebrews 5:14 shows it as a mark of the spiritually mature.
    Of course, “with the multitude of counselors, there is safety”.
    To sum it up, I would like to encourage you not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. God does speak to us through the use of His peace – just now always “our” peace. 🙂

  18. Mel says:

    It was GREAT to stumble across your blog this morning! I too, am a firm believer that often times God’s will doesn’t make sense. That’s where faith steps in! Thank you for your honest way of writing and just being REAL! I love it! It does my heart good…

  19. Deanna says:

    Wow. I needed this exact post. This is literally from the heavens. I hate feeling like everything I’m doing might be in vain and God just keeps telling me, “Deanna, jump.” When everyone is telling you to find peace, “trust me”. When everyone is telling you that he isn’t right for you “trust me” When everyone is telling you that now is not the time or the place “jump, go, trust me.” You are right where I want you despite all of the opinions. So be happy and know that I am with you in all of this change. <3 Thank you Stephanie.

  20. Angie says:

    I’m so glad I read this post. When I first saw the title I thought “this may help me” but I opened and postponed the reading for a couple of hours.

    Now I know why I needed so badly, this is God’s confirmation for me. It’s honestly way different that “the sign” I was expecting but way so good for this season.

    Thanks Stephanie for pouring your hearts to us in your writings.

  21. Katrina Gray says:

    I moved to PA in 2003. I was kind of pushed to make a decision because my parents decided they needed to be close to my son and I for support. I had no other safety net. My ex left us, I had no child support and no state support.

    I was told to look for peace on deciding where to move. I looked into Troy, NY because of the college. Not even a drop of peace so I ruled that out. Then I decided on Pittsburgh because of Carnegie University. I wanted to go there for architecture. I felt peace. I felt confident I was making the right decision.

    I moved there in August of 2003. I had a background in school construction. I had a drafting service I wanted to move there. In September of 2003, the Pittsburgh School District announced they were closing 10 of their schools. A major manufacturer moved to another state and there was this huge exodus of people while I was moving in.

    It took me 1-1/2 years to find a job. Forget the drafting service. I was lied to about the demand for such services by professionals, and I called a lot of them! When I did finally find a job with an architect, he paid me 8.25/hr 30 he’s a week. I was making almost $40,000/yr from my drafting service before I moved. I had to work at a gas station on weekends to make the gas money to get to work during the week.

    I found another job in construction doing drafting, but it only paid me $11 /hr. A single mom can’t live on that.

    So I’ve been terrified to make decisions for fear of my careful decisions backfiring on me. I was angry at God for not warning me. I couldn’t understand why He put a woman He claims to love in harms way like that.

    I struggled through my sons entire childhood. The life I wanted for us while he was growing up never happened and I was trapped in a life of survival mode that is so claustrophobic to me.

    So now I know not to look for peace.

    I wish I’d known that earlier.

  22. You Will Feel At Peace When

    […] your article helped alot, I nearly made the wrong decision because i felt no pe […]

  23. Charles Givan says:

    Hi my name is chuck from Nashville tn. After reading this I got smacked between the eyes in a descion I was making also remember god has you right where you need to be at this moment I’m in a transfer time in life no idea what’s next god didn’t bring me this far to leave me hope everyone is okay

  24. Thank you for this post! I think sometimes we equate peace with a “feeling”, when I reality peace comes from knowing God’s truth and walking in the Spirit in the midst of the unknown. Your words are a balm to the soul. Keep using your gifts for God’s glory.

  25. Gloriahna says:

    I was tearing up the whole time while reading this. So good and so honest! It’s my senior year and I’ve felt as if God wants me to do missions, but in the past and still now, I always seem to push it off. It’s so hard for me. I don’t see how I could do that. I’m not sure how I’ll get there, or how I’ll get the money. I don’t know where I’ll go. It’s terrifying, but your post brought me revelation and an odd, confusing, comfort. Thank you for that. If you could, please, say a prayer for me. This girl needs it lol!

Sign up for my newsletter and get weekly emails with stories, resources, updates (and discounts!) you won't find anywhere else. 

Get on the list,
and never miss a thing!

    Let's be friends!