I’ve been mulling on the things I said and the things some of you said in response to my post that asked, “How do we choose light?” You guys offered me so much there that I think it’s still settling into my soul. That’s how I think about these things…it’s like the new ideas need a chance to bonk around in my soul to see if they find a place, or disrupt things that are already there, or add clarity, or something totally different. For those who’ve watched The Price is Right enough times, it’s like Soul Plinko.
One of the conclusions I’ve come to (at least for now) is the idea that God’s calling is probably something different than I’ve ever thought before. I don’t just mean that his calling on my life is different, but that calling itself is a different sort of thing.
I’ve always waited for the herald, or the voice from the sky, or the flippity-flup of my heart that would indicate that I’ve found IT, the thing that God is sitting up there waiting for me to figure out that I’m supposed to do (or, more realistically, one of the things). I’ve wanted something outside myself to let me know that I’m in the right place, whether that’s another person, God himself, or my own body that makes the confirmation (note: the relationship this indicates I’ve had/I have with my body could be a whole ‘nother post).
So here’s the idea I’ve been looking at in wonderment and awe: What if God built his calling for me into…well…ME? What if it’s…not quite hard-wired, but something like that…into the structure of my personality and my heart and even my body?
I think this is what some of you were getting at before, but I’ve had to find words and ideas for it that I could understand and that assuage my fears of “going off the deep end.”
I like this idea for several reasons:
1) It preserves God’s role. If any of what I do is ever only about me, I think I’m lost. If it’s about being me for the sake of being me, I see myself wandering forever in the oblivion of my soul. It’s not a pretty picture.
2) It preserves God’s image in me. The imago dei is there, it comes out in particular ways through me, and it doesn’t come out in those ways in everyone.
3) It allows for the influences of sin. I know that God’s image in me is battered and twisted and oozing in places. I know that it doesn’t get reflected the way he intended because I’ve sinned and been sinned against. I know that the pain is as real as the joy. If God built his calling for me in to me, as parts of his image that I’m to show the world, then some of those parts are injured and influenced by sin. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t go forward in them, but that I should look for healing along the way.
4) It deals well with my experience. I’ve experienced the desire to write like a calling from within, like there’s a voice ahead of me, just over the next mountain, down in the green valley by the river, calling to me to write and I keep chasing after it but I don’t ever catch up.
5) It allows for multiple callings. It makes sense that God would call me (and each of us) to be or do to more than one thing, to be about more than one thing. I’ve always felt like there are so many directions that I feel called to, and the push to choose one has been painful.
6) It allows for both human choice and the influence of circumstance. There are SO MANY things I’d love to learn to do, to pursue and follow after. I can’t do all of them, but I think they would all reveal more about God. So I choose to do the ones that come before in particular ways and that are achievalbe given my lifestyle, free time, and financial means. In another life, I might have been a cellist or a sailboat-racer, but I haven’t made the choice or had the opportunity to learn those things and so I don’t reflect God in those ways.
7) It shows God as a lavish, loving Father. We each have so many things we could pursue. We’re more drawn to some than to others, but there’s still more to pursue than we possibly could. And from these things that we know we could love, God lets us choose. I think there are particular things he puts on particular hearts where it would be wrong to choose something else, but this doesn’t seem to happen very often. There are so many good gifts that we have to choose among them for the ones we love the most.
8) It accounts for people who never get a chance to pursue anything. Getting to pursue our hearts and our gifts is something that, at least in part, comes out of luxury. I don’t have to work 12-hour days to put food on the table, so I have time to write and paint and hear peoples’ God-stories. If I did have to work 12-hour days, I would come in at night, grab a bite to eat, kiss Dave, and go to bed. That wouldn’t mean that the things I love weren’t in my heart, but that sin kept them from flourishing. I still would have the image of God in me, with all those callings, but I wouldn’t get to pursue them the same way I can now. I would pursue them in smaller ways. That’s a hard life, but it comforts me to think that the inside is still the same even though it looks different on the outside.
9) It allows me to pursue myself and makes that into a way to pursue God. As long as I pursue me and the things in my own heart with God and his glory in mind, self-pursuit is a good thing. As I pursue me, I pursue God. As I get to know myself, I get to know him.
Functionally, I’m not sure how much this idea really helps me. I still have to choose what I want to do and when and how and where I want to do it. But I feel a lot more free emotionally and spiritually to shake out the box of my soul and see what’s inside that I don’t even know about yet.
Note: You know, I read this back through and it sounds so…academic, or theological. And I don’t write it that way. Truly, these things are on my heart and in my soul.