I hear it all the time. In fact, I've said it quite a few times myself. "But what if I mess up, and God can't use me anymore? What if I make the wrong decision?" Often when faced with an important choice, we find ourselves imprisoned by the fear of messing up God's perfect plan. We seek His will. We long to follow His plan. We've prayed, read the Bible and listened for His still small voice. We think we know the right choice, but when it comes time to commit, that nagging uncertainty returns. "But if I mess this up, I'm through. I will forever live with the consequences of making the wrong choice and will never receive God's great blessings."
Let's clear up a few things about God's plan and will for our lives. In doing so, let's equate God to a GPS. When we plug a destination into the GPS, the system maps out the best route for us to take, right? But what happens when we miss a turn or encounter a detour? Does the GPS throw up its hands and say, "Well, you blew it! You got off course. You might as well turn around and go home. There's no hope for you now"? Of course not! It recalculates based on your current position and comes up with a new route to get you to your destination. If a GPS can be that full of grace and forgiveness and patience, why should we think any less of God?
Remember, God is omnipotent. He knows everything. He knows when we're going to mess up, take a wrong turn, or make the wrong choice. And because He knows this, we can trust all of our mistakes are "plugged in" to the route He's given us. It doesn't mean we're doomed to live a life of constant regret over picking College A over College B or Job A over Job C. No, when we choose poorly, God--in His great grace and mercy--redirects our path to get us back on track to His will, just as He did with Abraham and Sarah.
God promised to give the couple a son, but after years of waiting for God's promise to come true, the two decided to take matters into their own hands. Abraham had relations with Sarah's servant, Hagar, and a son was born, but he was not the promised son. God could have stopped right there and told them, "Well, you blew it! That's what happens when you think you know better." But He didn't. Even with their mistake, God worked in their lives and eventually gave them the promised son.
Keep in mind, mistakes (especially willful sin) have consequences. There will usually be a price to pay for making the wrong choice, but that price comes in many forms. Perhaps it will be in the form of a delay or a more difficult journey. But no matter how big the blunder, God can still use us because He is bigger than any of our mistakes. He can still bring about the end result He had planned all along.
Should we still seek God's will? Absolutely. We should never make a decision without bringing it before the Lord. But we must not fear to make choices because we're afraid of messing up God's plans. May I be brutally honest with you? We're not that powerful! Nope, not a single one of us is powerful enough to mess up God's plans. Not once have we made a decision that caused our Lord to scratch His head and mutter, "Oh no! She made the wrong choice. What should I do now?" He sees the beginning and the end and everything in between. He has made provision for all our errors, and He will see us to His intended destination if we'll keep walking with Him.
Are you facing a decision today? Do you feel paralyzed by the fear of messing up God's plan for your life? If so, I encourage you to seek His will, and once you feel His leading, step out in faith, trusting that He will get you where you need to be. God will never leave you stranded and alone! Trust in His grace and mercy, as well as in His ability to overcome any mistake you have made or will make in the future.