Editor's note: This article originally appeared on Christian Personal Finance. Used with permission.

The morning of March 8, 2004 I received an email from a close friend who told me he had a “word from God” for me. Knowing the kind of life my friend lives, I gladly received it as from God. He said, “God is going to use you in ways that are very different than you have envisioned. Be aware, attentive, and ready.”

Immediately, my mind started racing, trying to figure it all out. It seems as though answers to life’s questions never come as quickly as we would like. However, since 2004 God has given me several opportunities to do things in my job, career, and various ministries that I never pictured myself doing. It was necessary that I walk through these open doors in order to stay in God’s will.

For me, one of these opportunities is helping others financially through writings such as this one. The word my friend gave me has motivated and guided me over the last 5 years, and I’m going to show you how this same word will guide you and keep you in God’s will. If you have goals and dreams as I do, it’s very important that you know how to first recognize them as God’s will for your life and then how to make them become reality.

“Be Aware, Attentive, and Ready”

Be:

The word “be” in this context implies that you are doing something. What comes after the “be” is my part, not God’s part. To get a higher paying job or to launch a new business will require action. It won’t just happen by itself. Proverbs 21:5 – “The plans of the diligent lead to profit…” So, what do you need to “be” doing?

Aware:

Be aware of purpose and opportunity in every situation, particularly opportunities to meet the needs of others. While waiting for your answer, be an answer for someone else. Working that low paying job may seem pointless, but God has a plan and purpose for having you there at this time. You may be the only person that can reach that co-worker for Jesus. Dealing with that “jerk” supervisor or employee is growing your character and is valuable experience for when you become your own boss and have employees of your own. The opportunity you’ve been praying for may be right under your nose, but you have to get your mind off of yourself in order to recognize it. Be open to the impossible. Don’t limit yourself or Him. You have abilities to do things, meet needs, and earn money you never thought possible. Dreams don’t have to stay dreams. Be aware.

Attentive:

Be attentive to God’s voice. It’s one thing to recognize an open door, but it’s an entirely different thing to actually walk through it. God may be speaking to you right now about a dream or opportunity. You might think it’s impossible because the door just isn’t open. Many times, it’s not that the door isn’t open; it’s that the devil has hung a curtain of “fear” over the opening. However, the same God who gave you the dream and the awareness of the door to begin with will also give you wisdom, knowledge, and courage to walk through it. But, you must be attentive to his voice. You have to do things in His timing and in His way. Ecclesiastes 3:1 – “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Very rarely does God birth something in you and it be manifested immediately (Just ask ladies who have gone through pregnancy.) It takes time. If you get ahead of God, you’ll find that you went through the wrong door. If you don’t have 100% peace that taking that new job is God’s will, don’t do it, no matter how bad you want to get out of where you are at or how big the paycheck will be.