“Figuring Out God’s Will For Your Life,” Revisited.

A reoccurring trap I find myself getting stuck in during this life stage is continuing to act with the same anxiety-ridden prayers and ways of relating to the God I was presented with from some Evangelical circles. The prayers where He needs to tell me exactly what to do, please, because I have to make a decision and it HAS to be the ONE decision He wants for me and I need to make that decision soon, now, because I can’t get it wrong! Afterall, I most certainly can’t spend another day doing something that isn’t your will, Lord!…

I think we do a disservice to both ourselves and to God when we continue praying to THAT God… the God who has prescribed a specific set of instructions for your life- and if you don’t follow them, in order, then clearly you’re not following His will and aren’t living out of His/Her “specific” will for your life.

Is that what God wants for us?
I mean, where do we draw the line?

Do we ask what “God’s will is” for our breakfast choices? Lord, show me if I should eat cereal or eggs for breakfast this morning. Help me, Lord, I need to know!

Is it “God’s will” for you to stay or to go or to move or to switch jobs or to leave the country or…

…I can hear those questions now. They roll around in my brain often (the jobs part, especially, not so much the eggs. I’m more of an oatmeal-on-the-run kind of girl).

But I’m done. To those thoughts and harried, twisted, fretful prayers, I bid you farewell.

You say we need faith like a child?
Well, then start simplifying, Child of God.

God has created each of our lives to have meaning, purpose and significance and S/He gives us gifts to show the world more and more of who She is. I just wonder if God is not so concerned with us “getting His will perfectly right;” rather, that we are finding Him along the journey in which He is walking with you. Beside you. Next to you. Embracing you. Encouraging you, present with you in this season, every season, every decision. Perhaps He’s not disappointed when we go left or when we turn right, U-turn or keep the same path, walk or run, or at our weakest moments, crawl. Yes maybe it truly is about the journey, not the destination. The process of becoming, rather than doing the “specific will.” I’m beginning to think all that He just wants you to know is that in life, there will be some goings and some comings, some dark valleys and some unsullied joy, some mess and some yes, some no-s and some grow, and that somewhere along the way, this journey, no matter how traversed, circuitous, or wild goose chase it’s been so far, he will certainly “lead you beside still waters” and refresh your soul.

And so tonight, as I catch myself praying one of those fretful prayers for the umpteenth time, I will stop. Look up. And remember that the God who has gotten us this far, can surely lead us to the next step. I will stop focusing on the destination and find solace in knowing that we will get there, someday, wherever “there” is, anyway. But what’s most important is the journey He’s taking us through, as we seek His face in the glory of the mountains and trees, seek His love in desert, and seek His heart in the times of uncertainty.

Yes, we’ve got a good Maker. And while we seek Him and take a look at where we are and how we’re doing, S/He’ll be making you, be making me.

For more thoughts on “God’s will for your life,” check out this talk by Donald Miller: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLQwxS-rcI

“If you have a donkey and it talks to you, God has a specific plan to your life. If you are a virgin and pregnant, God has a specific plan for your life… other than that, you kinda get to do what you want… You get to be really creative. The people who understand this CHANGE THE WORLD- the people who understand that me and God get to do something really cool out of the creativity of my imagination and the desire of my heart; they get their entire passion. But the people who say, “I’m so afraid that I’m not honoring God!”- they don’t do anything.”

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Oh, Because You are Called to be Free…

You, Oh Child, are called to be free…

I know you’ve seen the yelling, the pointed fingers, the uproar over fealty to chicken sandwiches and embroidered flag instead of cross and love for thy neighbor. Maybe your ears cannot listen to one more spew of theological pedantry. You might be afraid to come any closer to the light because there are shadows busy making faces at you, saying come in, but only if you change…Perhaps their asperity over this issue or that issue has got you wondering what this is even all about, anyway, and maybe it’s just some show to help small people feel big, important, as though God is patting them on the back with every Bible verse they retort.

Oh.

But you… you have been called to freedom.

Can you feel it? See it, sense it, taste it, inhale it?

Can you see beggars finding bread? Can you see the orphan being held? Can you see forgiveness and grace? Can you find that voice ushering you in, oh that voice that longs to sit with you beside still waters?

Oh Child, you’ve been called into something different. Much different. You’ve been called into freedom. Lay down the weight of others’ reactions. Lay down the teachings that constrain you, sucking joy and precious energy out of you. Lay down the opinions of others, especially those that are unsolicited. Lay down your hurt, your ammo, your doubts.

Oh because you have been freed from all of that.

That pressure of being someone else’s definition of perfect, someone else’s portrayal of what it means to be a Godly woman or man, someone else’s expectations of you, the voices that tell you to just be quiet and play nice and downplay your passions and convictions. That voice that tells you that you “shouldn’t” feel this way or that way, ask questions, or have another point of view.

Oh that your thought life would be filled with BIGGER things. Dreams. Aspirations. Social Change.

Oh because you have been freed.

You have been freed from the worrying, the straining of trying to please God, Oh Child, because you already are. You already are… Sometimes we need a good kick in the… butt. But unless God specifically reveals that to you (and he will), TRUST that you’re doing enough, being enough, are enough. On to the being, not the doing…

Stop your fretful prayers laboring over making sure that every decision is God’s will for you, lest you go out on your own and discover that God’s hand is capable of showing the way and that he will uphold you in every situation and circumstance, and even use a wrong turn for good…

Something beautiful. Something insanely simple and mellifluous will enter into those hands frought with sweaty palms, and those tired eyes, straining over verses cached in Leviticus or Isaiah that cause a lump in your throat, afraid to voice that no, no something in here is terribly, terribly wrong about inciting war and infanticide and sacrifices.

No. You haven’t been called to that.

You’ve been called by Jesus So Loving, flowing rivulets of faith, hope, and love into your heart.

This is Jesus.

Who teaches us to “learn from the birds and wildflowers.”

This is Jesus.

Who challenged social norms, speaking and teaching women during a time in which they were forbidden and discouraged from learning the Torah, coming over to a woman’s house for dinner… oh yes causing holy ruckus for sure!

This is Jesus.

Who thought it was worth his time, not his pity, to spend with the poor, the prostitutes, the pushed aside, the left behind, “all who are weary…”

This is Jesus.

Who says his life for you is unfettered, your burden easy, yoke light.

This is Jesus.

Where would you be if He was right there in His presence?

Wrapped up in a loving embrace? Finding yourself in the company of someone who wants to eat dinner with you, to remind you that you’re worth something, loved, unconditionally, that something way bigger is going on here and he longs for you to be a part of it?

He’s still gathering women together at wells, at his feet, still teaching, still discipling… Still encouraging us to go forth and set the world on fire with love, love, the whole wide world, the Kingdom come, On Earth as In Heaven, all colors bleeding into one, forever and ever and ever, amen, yes.

Do you feel it?

Oh, do you feel Him?

Oh do you sense there is so much more?

Oh do you see that we can simply move forward and love God and love people and be a part of healing others’ hurts and pains and feeding each other when we’re hungry, be it for food, for touch, for love, for companionship?

Have you found open, burgeoning springs free of foolish discourse?

Have you tasted a simple life that is abundant and disencumbered from debates and arguments? Do you notice that Jesus didn’t care what other people thought of him and he wishes the same for you?

Oh.

Do you feel the ability to cartwheel, to dance, to swing, to make merry, to pick berries from bushes, sweetness filling your mouth as you sing, splash, run, verdant grasses tickling your barefoot feet?

Oh have you found a place where the quarrels have dissipated, where your quietness, passiveness, subservience are not necessary?

Oh it’s so bright and resplendent. Oh we hold hands here. We love each other here as Children of God; we threw away the labels a long time ago, no longer flagrantly viewed by our sexual identities, our political affinities, our skin color, our bank account, our gender…

Oh swimmingly this wave of freedom is swelling, pining for you to ride atop its waves, not to be crushed down by it. It’s beautiful, really, when you can just ride it and lay on top of it, stomach facing skyward as the water bobs up and down and around you.

I know, I know that for far too long people have tried to use this wave to knock you off your feet, to tell you that there’s no room in their ocean for people like you. People have tried to use this wave to divide, to make less than, but child, waves have the amazing ability to carry you to shore for shell-picking, making sandcastles, making footprints in the sand…

I know for far too long, they’ve told you how far out you can swim, where you can and cannot use your boogie boards…oh they’ve used that wave to crush, pointed fingers spouting out this verse, then that verse, then that verse in the Old AND New Testament…

But we are in an ocean of freedom here. Come, come on in, the water’s warm, yet slightly cool that you may decide to stick your toes in first to adjust before you are overwhelmed with refreshment.

Oh yes.
Because Child,
You are called to freedom.