I got this email the other day and loved it. This comes from Connie, and I’ve posted some of her thoughts before as she struggles through the transition of thinking religiously to thinking relationally. I like the humor and honesty in her words and journey. The subject of the email was “Amused and Annoyed.” I love what this unpacks:
I hope all is going well for you. I catch your podcast now and again and it sounds like you’re havin’ fun and experiencing God.
I had a funny thing happen the other day I thought you’d get a kick out of hearing. I’m in the middle of a mid-life crisis right now. Yeah, I’m only 33 but that is how it feels. I’m having to make a career decision and am very much torn as to which career path to choose.
I finally got away to talk with God about what He would like me to do (or so I thought). Though I knew both choices were good, one of them must be better. After my long-winded explanation, of which I know He already knew, I sat and silently waited for Him to tell me what to choose. Do you think He told me?
Our conversations always begin with Him telling me how much He loves me, to which I roll my eyes and ask Him to get on with it already. So then He tells me that I will change lives and bring His Kingdom into both situations. Anything I do, even beyond my two scenarios, will be good. He just wants to be right with me, enjoying me, while I live my life. (annoying huh?) So then He turns the question around and asks, “So Connie, what is it that you want to do with your life?”
That’s when my crisis began! What do I want to do? Me? He was supposed to tell me what to do, not hand my free-will over to me! Ha! I’ve never in my life stopped and asked what I want to do with my life. Somehow within all the church-going years I’ve adopted the concept that once I am a Christian I can no longer have any goals or life-dreams. God now owns me and whatever He wants of me I’ll do. I must detach all personal identity, be void of opinions and desires and for sure not use my brain!
I guess for years when I read Paul describes himself as a bond-slave of the Lord, I half-way believe that Paul did not want to do what he was doing, but was somehow forced because…well… you just can’t argue with God. Now I’m realizing, it’s not that Paul’s in chains (not literally obviously), but that he’s so in love with the Father, he can’t help but share in whatever situation he is in. It’s a relationship of love. God could actually care less (so to speak) what I “do” as long as He gets to be with me. ‘Cause when He’s with me and I remain in Him, we can affect change at the grocery store even! What a striking contrast to the Master and Servant role I began with, eh? Funny also how so much of me (that Pharisee is strong in there) would very, very much like Him to tell me the answer. Err, unfortunately for my good-girl, box-thinking nature, God is not about dolling out a list of demands.
So now I have to look in the mirror and figure this out. Gosh I’d much rather the non-relational, controlling method sometimes! That method, however, does not enhance relationship, which is most likely what He’s all about!
Anyway, I’m 30% annoyed and 70% amused. He’s a funny guy, that God!
Yes, there are times God has a specific will for our lives and by embracing it we die a bit to our selfish nature and find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of something we never thought we would have wanted. And some times God just indicates he can go either way here. And as far as a vocational choice, “What do you want to do with your life?” sounds like a great question.
Someone pointed out to me a year or so ago the incredible joy God must have had in letting Adam name the animals. God had created them but he wanted humanity to name them. How cool is that? God would call them whatever Adam called them. He didn’t have some secret name for each animal that Adam had to figure out over hours of prayer and agonizing. He just began to give them names and that’s what they were.
Following Jesus is not meant to be an arduous chore. Sometimes he has a specific thing for us to do and let’s us know that. At other times we get to wander in a pretty wide space with him, because he is all about the relationship and the joy of knowing you and watch you come free in his reality, not trying to squeeze you into some box that makes you miserable. And he knows that when you find freedom in the relationship, you’ll be the best reflection of him in the world no matter where you are or what you’re doing!