Finding God's Life for My Will: His Presence Is the Plan

Finding God's Life for My Will: His Presence Is the Plan

by Mike Donehey


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The lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for award-winning contemporary Christian band Tenth Avenue North shows readers that by seeking God first and focusing on serving Him, we can live daily in His will.

"Perhaps God isn't giving me the plan because He wants to be the plan."

This was the aha moment for Mike Donehey after years of wrestling with his obsession to know God's specific plans for his life. He came to the realization that waiting for absolute certainty from God before making decisions may seem uberspiritual, but it can lead to a life of intense stress, paralyzing fear, and crushing regret--just the opposite of the freedom granted to those living a Christ-filled life.

"This is my I gave up begging to know God's will and began to ask His life to come and change my will."

With his signature humor and relentless hunger for God, Mike will show you that discovering the Father's purpose and plan for our lives is not the shell game that we all too often make it out to be. If you're unsure what to do next, take heart and accept the ultimate invitation: learn to see God as the plan, not simply the formula to the plan.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525652816
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/06/2019
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 13,690
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

MIKE DONEHEY is the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the Christian contemporary band Tenth Avenue North. Since 2000, he has been sharing the truth of the gospel in front of millions of people through song and speaking. Mike, his wife, Kelly, and their four daughters live in Nashville, Tennessee.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Jordan River or Red Sea?

It took me way too long to figure out that I should marry my wife, Kelly. To some, we were still married quite young. I was twenty-seven and she was twenty-six when we finally said “I do.” We dated for three and a half years, though. And looking back, I think we dated precisely three years and three months too long. She was beautiful and funny; she loved God, her friends, puppies, mountains, and the elderly. She was perfect. Yet I just couldn’t bring myself to pop the question. On paper, she was flawless, but what if she was tricking me? I was a theater major in college, so I knew a thing or two about pretending. What if we got a few days into the honeymoon and she removed the mask? What if underneath all that kindness and warmth, she was actually a tyrannical mutant? I mean, love knows no boundaries, but there were some things I couldn’t live with. Wasn’t marriage about finding a perfect person for you? I needed to be absolutely certain. I didn’t want an ounce of guesswork when it came to who I would be with for the rest of my life.

At the two-and-a-half-year mark, I sat on my bed and struggled with the song I was writing. It wasn’t really a song, I admit. It was more an argument than a composition. But that’s always been the way I write songs. I bring my questions, and my guitar brings her six strings, and I let the two of them wrestle it out. That’s exactly what I was doing one not-so-ordinary South Florida day.

I brooded on, as a typical afternoon thunderstorm raged outside my window. I was storming on the inside. I scribbled away in my journal, desperately trying to convince my heart to quit freaking out and hoping that God would give me the answer I was looking for. A simple yes or no would have sufficed, but try as I might, my heart was still in upheaval, and the Almighty wasn’t talking. “Just tell me what to do!” I screamed between verses. “I don’t need to know anything else—just give me this one answer!” It didn’t help that I had recently graduated from a private Christian college. It seemed that my friends were all receiving words from the Lord left and right, while all I got was His cold shoulder. “Thanks, Jesus,” I said, pouting. “I thought I was Your boy.” Even though I knew I loved my girlfriend, I didn’t think my love was enough of a reason to jump in. I needed a divine green light from the Maker Himself. Why couldn’t He do that? He parted the Red Sea, after all. He certainly could part my worry and grant me a little bit of peace. What was He waiting for? My conundrum continued.

I knew I had to make a choice. A few months earlier, we had actually broken up for the fifth and what felt like the final time. Yes, my wife and I broke up five times while we were dating. I’m telling you, it’s a miracle we made it. There was a myriad of reasons for our other breakups, but this time the reason was simple. I couldn’t commit. The day before I was supposed to get on a plane and ask her father for her hand in marriage, I backed out. Ouch. In my weak defense, I didn’t technically back out. I simply told my soon-to-be fiancée that I was scared to death. Shockingly, she didn’t like that. I guess a woman doesn’t like to hear that her man is unsure the day before he’s asking for her hand in marriage. Imagine that. The next day she justifiably got on the plane to Michigan without me, and I, also justifiably, stayed home in my fog of indecision.

Somehow I talked her into dating me again but soon found myself right back where I had started. I was still scrounging for peace to make the move into matrimony. Why couldn’t I get it together? I beat my head against the top of my guitar. Was this some sort of artist’s unconscious self-sabotage? Was I in love with my doubt more than my faith? Was I making things harder than they needed to be for creativity’s sake? Some old David Wilcox lyrics played in my head: “I was mourning the loss of the choices I’d lose.” Exactly. Choosing her meant not choosing anyone else. I was terrified. Saying yes to this girl meant saying no to every other girl down the road. What if my future soul mate was about to descend on a white horse from heaven, but I jumped the gun?

I threw my guitar down and put my running shoes on. Disgusted, I heaved myself out the front door and ran headlong into the storm. The thunder and lightning outside perfectly reflected the tempest raging inside me. I started running in spite of the pouring rain. I’ve found that sometimes when you’re stuck in a spiritual standoff, the best thing to do is to stop waiting for permission and start moving.

So I did.

I didn’t even care that I was getting soaked. I didn’t think twice about the mixture of tears, rain, and snot streaming down my face. I just kept going. I was still living in West Palm Beach at the time—which, by the way, is one of the greatest places to go for a run—and before I knew it I had covered a couple of miles. Three miles passed, then four. Apparently, panic is a fantastic performance enhancer. I traversed back alleys and a few neighborhoods until I began my ascent of the intercoastal bridge. I was charging up and over the precipice like an angry, bellowing rhinoceros when the rain suddenly stopped. The clouds parted. Sunrays streamed through holes in the clouds and danced down across the water. I slowed my gait to a jog, then a walk. Soon I came to a dead stop at the top of the bridge. My friend Caleb used to say of this oceanic occurrence, “The fish are getting out their sparklers.” And they seemed to be. Standing there, soaked from head to toe, I caught my breath and stared out at nature’s party unfolding before me.

Then God spoke.

And He completely avoided my question.

I’ll never leave you nor forsake you, He whispered to my heart.

“What?” I stammered, sweaty and out of breath.

I’ll never leave you nor forsake you, He repeated.

“Cool,” I shot back to the heavens. “But that’s not what I asked!”

I work all things together for good for those who love Me and have been called according to My purpose. He was insistent.

“Thanks God,” I responded with a snort. “Now You’re just messing with me, aren’t You?”

It went on like this for some time. Me standing exhausted on a bridge, annoyingly arguing with the sky, and God flooding my mind with promise after promise. It’s honestly a bit embarrassing to admit. I still don’t know why it took me so long to see what God was doing, but slowly, steadily, surely, as He refused to give me the answer I was looking for, something I hadn’t ever considered became quite clear. Perhaps, I thought, God isn’t giving me the plan because He wants to be the plan.

Awkward silence.

Jumping into the Jordan

I married the girl in the end. Ten years in and four daughters later, I couldn’t be happier about it. If you’ve met my wife, then you know I outkicked the coverage. And no, God never told me to marry her. At least, not in the way I thought He would. He never told me no, so I started walking toward yes. I stopped asking for an answer and moved based on what I knew was true. I guess you could say I stopped waiting for Him to part the Red Sea and decided to jump into the Jordan River. My friend Bob calls it “going Grand Canyon.” It’s his way of approaching life as if he’s skydiving. Some big decisions look terrifying until you realize God’s grace is strapped to your back like a parachute. I call it jumping into the Jordan because I had to let the currents of God’s faithfulness wash away my fear that He wouldn’t come through.

In case you’re not familiar with the story, in the book of Exodus, we’re told that God parted the Red Sea before the fleeing Israelites made it to the water’s edge. Pharaoh’s army thundered ominously behind, but God’s chosen people walked across the sea’s expanse on dry land. There wasn’t even a drop on them. In the book of Joshua, God also miraculously parted the Jordan River for the people, but that time it was different. In this story, God didn’t make it quite so easy for His people. This time, some of them were going to have to get their feet wet. The priests carrying the ark of the covenant had to march straight into the unknown waters like Indiana Jones had to leap from the lion’s head. Once they felt the cold reality of the river’s current hit their sandaled feet, that’s when God moved the waters. Marrying Kelly was my jumping-into-the-Jordan moment. I never heard a no from God, so I just kept taking the next step. Before I knew it, the river had receded and I was dancing in the Promised Land. It was scary, uncomfortable, and euphoric. But it’s what God had to demand of me to expose my fears.

Why does God do this? Why does He let me stand and watch some decisions part before me like the Red Sea but then other times force me to follow Him into the Jordan’s unknowns? I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that once I stopped asking God what I was supposed to do with my life and simply started asking how and why I was supposed to live my life, the seas of doubt began to part. In other words, I went with what I knew instead of letting what I didn’t know paralyze me. This is essential. It’s what marks our lives with faith. Instead of sitting stagnant at the water’s edge, waiting for the miracle, we get up. We start working with what we do know.

The next time you’re standing terrified on the shores of indecision, ask yourself what you know you should be doing. It could be as simple as giving thanks. It could be as demanding as selling off some possessions and giving the proceeds to the poor. It could be as impossible as forgiving someone before they even apologize. I don’t know where you need to start, but I suggest starting with what you know. It’s amazing the domino effect small acts of love can put into motion.

When it came to marrying my wife, I realized I needed to stop worrying if Kelly was the one and start worrying about how I would treat her if she were. I quickly surmised that dragging her along while I weighed all my other options was hardly the most loving thing I could do. Running across the bridge that day, I came to the hard realization that I would have to take the first steps of faithfulness toward her if I wanted to find out if she’d be faithful to me. Choosing her was not only something I had to do that day; it’s something I’ve had to commit to doing every day since. I desperately wish more couples understood this. Love is action. It’s a perpetual yes. After all, I know a lot of guys who begged God for an answer about who they should marry, and then it seems they stopped asking Him how they should love that girl every day since they received the answer they were looking for.

So what kind of moment are you in? If you’re reading this book, there’s a good chance you’re currently swimming in some kind of indecision. Should you wait for the Red Sea to part or jump into the Jordan? Which is it gonna be? Sadly, I won’t play God for you. I’m quite sure only the Holy Spirit can tell you what to do in the end. But consider this: God loves it when we move in faith. He loves when we don’t have all the answers but we act as though we trust that He does. So whether you’re waiting or wading forward, take heart. He has more plans for you than you have for yourself. And even better, He’s the only one who tells the waters which way to run.

Table of Contents

If This Book Were to Have an Introduction, This Would Be It 1

1 Jordan River or Red Sea? 5

2 42 Trips to the Principal's Office 13

3 When Dreams Die 21

4 Dreams Change (and That's Okay) 31

5 Capitalistic Christianity 49

6 The Ministry of Interruption 65

7 The Leader Label Lie 77

8 The Naked Marine 95

9 God Doesn't Need You 113

10 I Stopped Asking God to Use Me 123

11 Wasting Time on God 133

12 Always Available Joy 149

13 Living the Perpetual Yes 163

14 Drink the Cup 179

15 Embrace the Cracks 187

16 Bad Golf Is Good for Your Heart 203

17 I Still Don't Know What I'm Doing (Maybe I'm Not Supposed To) 215

Notes 226

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Finding God's Life for My Will: His Presence Is the Plan 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Kelsie Angeletti 3 months ago
Full disclosure. I received an advanced reader copy from WaterBrook and Multnomah. On to the reason you're reading this. An already accomplished singer and songwriter with his band Tenth Avenue North, Michael Donehey's inaugural book Finding God's Life For My Will takes the reader on a journey through his growth in God moving from, as he states, "blackmailing God into giving me His secret plan and instead start letting God change my secret plans." Donehey's writing style and presentation of growing to want God more than anything, invites the reader in, is as if they are engaging in a conversation with a caring friend over coffee. The reader will be encouraged to ask: "Do I want answers, so I use God, or is it God Himself I want?" God is always concerned about the intentions and heart of a person, and Donehey delves into several areas through each chapter of the book, highlighting the different ways this manifest. To have growth, it requires a challenge. Donehey poses challenges for people to deliberate and chew on as he lays out the numerous areas in his life He underwent spiritual surgery, applying the core concept of desiring God's presence more than anything. A favorite application of this is found in chapter six titled "Ministry of Interruptions." If we can't see the person in front of us, then everything else is void. When we begin to see people for their value apart from us and realize they are here first for God and to be loved, it changes a person and we get a better picture of God and His interactions with us. We can't do or give anything to God that is not already His, but He gladly wants us. Donehey said: "What if I could enter a social setting ready to give worth rather than trying to garner it?" What a way to approach another. Even though this book can be geared toward people who want to know God's will for their life, there is a plethora of content that will have the reader examining their motivations and intentions, which more importantly leads to looking at the heart and ultimately taking a look at the current relationship with God. Author Donehey accurately says God wants to have our trust and change our hearts to look more like Him rather than give us all the answers. It is a life-long pursuit. Join Donehey and many others as you grow in your relationship with God and trade wanting to know the answers, to wanting to know God more intimately. At the end of the day, I would much rather have God and know He loves me and is for me than to have all the answers.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I received a prerelease copy of Mike Donehey's book from Waterbrook and Multnomah, both an honor and a pleasure I have not experienced previously. The reading topics that attract me lean heavily toward non-fiction, and the more real the better. This purposeful, wondering, God-dependent, faith-inspired sharing of a life story lies inside the lines of this category, and will touch not only your heart and mind, but release things in your spirit you may never have previously considered, or never even realized could be true in your life. I have known of Mike Donehey as a songwriter, singer, performer, and writer of Instagram and devotional pieces for as long as his band has recorded albums, but more importantly, I think of him as a dedicated, driven, and devout follower of Jesus. Please know that you should plan to receive a gift during this reading experience. Probably more than one gift, actually, but this will depend entirely on what you bring with you and how willing you are to open your own heart, mind, and spirit to receive what he has to offer ... what God has to offer through the words and phrases you will read. As you begin to explore the pages of this book, you might not catch on at first. I didn't, and I have read autobiographies, memoirs, diaries, and even Christian self-help books with the same basic premise: introduce the reader to the writer, and then buckle up. Usually. Fortunately for you, Mr. Donehey's Chapter One will build your interest, because the man *has* to have more coming after you've gone on a first run with him. Buckle up, it's coming. The only thing missing between the book covers is a pair of concert tickets tucked into the last chapter. If only. I really do believe readers will want to experience the light and energy of a 21st Century Bible teacher/writer/singer who can support his beliefs not only biblically, but with his fervor for a life like Christ's. I can "hear" Mike talk throughout the chapters in his "young man with an old faith" voice, and I know that the next time I hear him speak or read his words, I will find truth based on the timeless will of God, as well as a selection of challenges I may accept as I pursue my own faith path on this earth. Mike Donehey shares his pursuits in life, from some near-miss disasters to efforts at self-centered attention-getting that made him the life of parties and a thinker of never-say-die thoughts. Mike's ideas about "religious" expression versus divine relationship topped with the immature brand of "Christian charisma" in his young adult life feels very real to me, for I went through my own motions of social acceptance and cringe-worthy failure that didn't show itself except in hindsight. Embarrassing misunderstandings follow Mike as he jumps from myriad points of a faith journey hallmarked by falling on his face out loud. He is all of us, at least some of the time, if not all of the time. That's how we roll, as well as how we learn. Mike explores with conviction and very mature understanding the nuances of Jesus' actions and their real, vivid contrast to the bland modern-day descriptions of our Redeemer. Whom will we serve? How, what, when, where, and why will we serve? In seeking to serve wholly, without reservation, Mike shows some very candid, very relatable examples of how human kindness limits itself by each person's willingness to accept inconvenience, discomfort, or disruption of the ideal pre-packaged serving experience. Life doesn't come
Anonymous 3 months ago
Finding God's Life for My Will I have been to many Tenth Avenue North concerts and I am always impressed by the heartfelt life stories with some eye opening biblical teaching thrown in as a much needed bonus. It is always a fun evening spent with my friends, full of singing and the feeling of giving up control and just surrendering to God's love. So when I heard Mike, the singer/songwriter, of the band had a book coming out I immediately pre-ordered it. While I am still waiting for it, I was excited to find out I had won an advanced digital copy so I was able to read it early! Mike told some of the stories he has shared at their concerts, but with more detail. Plus he added in many more of his life stories. He did a little name dropping, although I am sure he could do a whole lot more (maybe in his next book). Mike has a way of flipping your thought process, as he did with the title, so you look at bible passages a little deeper and with new eyes. I found the book to keep my interest. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it is like he knows my heart needs to hear what's true. Overall it was a good read and I am already thinking about buying a few more as gifts. Can't wait for the other band members to write their own books!
CourtneyRose98 3 months ago
I knew from the introduction that this book needed and deserved my full attention. I have been a fan of Mike's writing for many years (whether that be songs, devotionals or just social media/blog posts), but this book was something else. Every chapter is filled with wisdom and thought provoking anecdotes. This book has been such a blessing in my life and I believe that everyone should read it! I received an Advanced Reader's Copy from WaterBrook and Multnomah.
Sarah Y 3 months ago
A must-read and a must-own!!! Tenth Avenue North was my first concert. They were on their The Light Meets The Dark tour. So, yeah, they've been an influence in my life for a long time. Their latest album, Followers, one of their songs incorporated my confirmation verse. They are a special band that has really played a role in my life. I saw them again in concert when they were at Winter Jam 2017. I say all that backstory to say, I was so excited to have the opportunity to read a book by Mike Donehey and it did not disappoint. I got an ecopy and I highlighted the heck out of that book. Thing after thing had me thinking, "YES! That's me!". I could really relate to what he talked about with wanting to know the future and overthinking things. I loved the tone of the book. It was very conversational and you felt like you got to know Donehey. He's a good storyteller. He doesn't make the points difficult but he doesn't spare any punches either. He shares the lessons he's learned from mistakes made and life lived. It's really cool to see how God has worked in his life and is working in his life. Michael's point is all about surrender and really desiring God above all else. If we are seeking Him, we rest in His presence and can relax about "the plan". I definitely want to own this book when it comes out. Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy. All opinions are my own. A favorable review was not required.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Great perspective on life as a Christian , both how it should be and what it often is. Donehey recounts this philosophy by meandering through honest and touching moments in his life. I loved this book. I did receive an advanced digital copy of the book for free, in response for my honest feedback.
ShayDanielle 3 months ago
This book was such an inspiration. Reading it opened my eyes to a lot of things and I'm happy God chose to Mike to be the person who was unafraid to write an honest account of what our Christian walk should look like. I loved every word of this book and would absolutely recommend it to anyone. The words are genuine and bold and the feel is personal and truthful. Its such an amazing book to read!
Jdp15 3 months ago
**I received an advanced reader copy from Waterbrook and Multnomah** I finished reading "Finding God's Life for my Will: His Presence is the Plan" by Mike Donehey and it was really good!! 5⭐! This book is well done. It will make you think, have you laughing, and it will also challenge you. I love this quote from the book: "God loves it when we move in faith. He loves when we don't have all the answers but we act as though we trust that He does." @waterbrookmultnomah #partner #FindingGodsLifeForMyWill #MikeDonehey #GreatBook
Anonymous 3 months ago
I received an advanced reader copy of this book from WaterBrook and Multnomah. I've long been a fan of Mike's band, Tenth Avenue North, in part because their lyrics just speak to me. They also put out devotionals that accompany many of their albums, which Mike has a large part in writing. I was super excited when I heard that Mike would be releasing a WHOLE book! I tore into the book as soon as it showed up in my mailbox and barely put it down before I finished it. I was NOT disappointed! Mike has a way of communicating that just hits the nail on the head; a way of sharing deep concepts in an easy to understand manner. This book tackled some hard concepts in ways that totally made sense. I really loved his authenticity and honesty throughout the book. I'm sure he has more stories and wisdom to share and I can't wait for him to write more books! :)
Anonymous 3 months ago
Mike does a excellent job of using his personal stories to illustrate spiritual truths. This book is lighthearted and fun while at the same time offering spiritual depth. I highly recommend this book!
Rascal02 3 months ago
I recieved an advanced copy of this book from Waterbrook and Multnomah. I've always enjoyed the music of Tenth Avenue North and the messages in their songs, so I was really excited when their lead singer decided to write a book. I didn't realize how much I needed to hear what he had to say! It's added to some of my incomplete thoughts, given me new ideas, and shifted the way I think about old things. All through fun, raw personal stories. I'll be reading it again!
AlexandriaKM 3 months ago
What a wonderful book! I feel like I just had breakfast with Jesus, and He just gave me the best wake-up call I've ever had through Mike's insightful and humorous stories. I received an advanced reader copy from WaterBrook and Multnomah.
Anonymous 3 months ago
So often I hear these great Christian songs and wonder "how do they come up with these lyrics?" After reading Mike's book, I was able to see how their lives and experiences play such a huge role in it. God has shaped Mike's life in such a way that he is now able to share what God has revealed to him in a humble, and sometimes humorous, way. There are so many nuggets (and boulders) of wisdom within the pages of this book. I highlighted so many of them during my first read and I am certain I will find many more as I reread the book. During this season of my life, God has intertwined similar things that Mike has faced. May I be as bold as Mike to share them with others and recognize that God is fulfilling His plan for My Life.
luvnjesus 3 months ago
The lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for award-winning contemporary Christian band Tenth Avenue North shows readers that by seeking God first and focusing on serving Him, we can live daily in His will. "Perhaps God isn't giving me the plan because He wants to be the plan." What an awe-inspiring, challenging, life changing book Michael has written. The theme throughout the book is surrendering your will to God to allow Him to live His plans and purposes through you. Micah 6:8. He wants you to walk with Him. He wants you to be humble. He wants you to carry yourself fairly and justly. He wants you to love mercy. With all the humility you can muster, repeat John’s simple soul-saving words, “I am the disciple Jesus loves.” I highly recommend the book. I received an advance reader’s copy from the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I've been a TAN fan for about 9 years. I've been to 20 concerts and one of the absolute best parts of the concert was hearing Mike speak. He's got one of the biggest truest hearts out there. His book is great, he shares things in such a simple profound way that helps you connect to the book. You can connect as a person, a christioan, a freind, a relative. I'd share this book with any and everybody. Hes so real. This book is Mike. I know people sometimes wonder if they are this way in real life. Well my friends Mike (and everyone else in the band for that matter) truely is the way they act. Caring kind souls who just want to love the world like Christ and leave it better beacaue of it.
CELassiter 3 months ago
Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader copy from WaterBrook and Multnomah. As a longtime fan of Tenth Avenue North, I've been excitedly anticipating the day when Mike Donehey released a book. Mike has a true gift for explaining the Gospel and matters of faith through captivating stories, heartfelt lessons, and hard-fought insight gained from years of authentic ministry. For almost a decade now, Mike's words have had a tremendous impact on my life and have consistently led me closer to the Father through a perspective unique to the way Donehey relates the Gospel this book is a continuation of that. In Finding God's Life For My Will, Donehey explores the generations-old question - "how do I find God's will for my life?" - in a way that makes you dig deeper into your own beliefs and asks you to rediscover the purpose you were made for. Housing many of the stories and teachable moments fans have heard Donehey share on the road at live shows over the years, this book will inspire and encourage you page after page with times that Donehey saw God show up and speak truths that have eternally changed him. If you've ever found yourself uplifted by Donehey's words and teaching, this book is one you'll want to read. Beyond that, if you've ever wrestled with the question of what God's will for your life is, Finding God's Life For My Will is a must-read. As Donehey takes readers on a journey of discovering the promise of God for the life of every believer, there's no doubt that you'll close the book a different person than when you opened it.