Choosing Light, Part II

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.

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11 Comments

Filed under Becoming

11 responses to “Choosing Light, Part II

  1. WHOA. DUDE.

    seriously. this is intense and glorious and beautiful and awe-inspiring and amazing.

    it’s funny you said what you did at the end about reading it back over and finding it to read so academically or theologically . . . as i was reading, i was marvelling at just how you have processed all this, enough to contain a whole list of why this settles more easily into your heart now that you’ve had time to mull this over.

    so much of this resonates with some thoughts i was just having earlier today that have yet to form themselves into a coherent post. but i found myself going, ‘yeah! i think that’s right, too. that’s the leaning-into i’m coming to perceive just around that shadowy bend of my mind, too.’ yours seems much less like a shadowy bend, though. heh heh.

    seriously, though . . . i’m thrilled for you in this, your journey toward understanding. and i’m thankful you shared this here because it also helps all of us further clarify our own understanding in our own journeys to finding God-in-us.

    ps: that thought there toward the end about pursuing God as we pursue ourselves, and vice versa, makes me think of that whole double knowledge by (i think) john calvin. it’s quoted as a foundational idea in david benner’s book, “the gift of knowing yourself.” . . . okay, yeah, here it is (just went to pull it off the shelf) . . . it is from john calvin’s institutes and reads, “there is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God.”

    i’m pretty sure you know this quote. i seem to remember it also being an important quotation on all the ISF materials that are out there . . . but it bears further meditation for all of us as we further meditate on these beautiful things you’ve shared here.

    love you, girl. throwing my arm around your shoulder as we walk together along this journey in the direction of our hearts in the pursuit of God and life.

  2. Thanks, friend. I do remember the quote…it’s just that the truth of it still eludes me sometimes 😉

    I’m tired and spacey this morning and don’t have much to say, but your words mean a lot.

  3. Linni

    While reading your post… I imagined you sitting in front of me, talking and explaining… hands in the air trying to capture exactly what you are trying to say… into a few sentences. I see your eyes light up with His light, your smile with an little of an uneasiness as you are not yet sure of what you are thinking and feeling… i imagine you getting excited about the different things you love… and then calming down thinking how God put those in your heart to use for Him… i love listening to you! 🙂

    A lady once asked Dr John F Demartini (who writes fabulous books about gratitude) but how do you know what is your soul purpose on life. He said something that stuck with me for years now…

    “when you do something and your heart starts beating faster, and you get all excited, the butterflies are flying in you… and you are all emotions in one, you are doing what you love. When you feel gratitude in your heart, you are where you belong”. xx

  4. you had me jumping up & down over here!! i structured my most recent post something like this, so i totally get how theological-sounding it might come across, but it wasn’t actually that way in process. these are things in your soul, and they’re so blaringly beautiful.

    as i was reading your post i couldn’t help but think as to how some have described the artistic process. many have described it not as “creating”, but as “discovering”. I’m reminded of that quote of Michelangelo’s: I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

    sometimes i think it’s the same for us: part of what we’re here on earth to do is to discover God’s design in us. as i walk this path for myself, i resonated deeply with so many of the points you made: it preserves God’s role. it preserves the imago Dei in me, it shows how insanely lavish God is in His love for us. the more i come to know you in this place, the more i agree. the more i see it in others, & the more i see it in myself. geesh God!! what are we supposed to do with all these gifts you’ve given us?! we need more time!!

    but you’re right … that preserves our ability to choose.

    oh sarah-girl … this post resonated with me so, so deeply. there’s so much more i could say, but we’ll get that chance to do that in person in just a day shy of 8 weeks now. i am so looking forward to that time, friend!! my beautiful, artist, writer, sailboat-racing, image-bearing friend.

    love you girl,
    kirsten :o)

  5. oh geeze. close the tag, kirsten!! close the tag.

    it’s early. :o)

  6. Christianne–you know, it wasn’t all stuffed in my head the way it came out. It was all jumbled and tentative, but when it came out it was sure and solid and positively thoughtful. I love it when my subconscious synthesizes things so I don’t have to 😉

    I do feel like some of this is still just in my head, though, like it hasn’t all migrated to my heart. Yeah, it makes sense, but can I LIVE it? That question seems to be the theme of my life, sometimes.

    I’m so glad we’re on the same journey (or similar journeys together?). Sometimes I see you and me and Kirsten and Terri and Tammy and Linni and Dean and everyone else all strolling through a meadow, each making our own path but occasionally saying, “Hey, guys, look what I found!” and showing the others.

    Linni–you know, you would make a great spiritual director, because I can see you sitting there, listening, then offering the words you wrote here. And I love the quote. I think I’d add, “When you feel the deepest peace your soul knows, you’re doing what you’re made to do. When you look up at the clock and realize time has passed without your knowing it, or when you find tears running down your cheeks and you don’t know why, you’re walking in the footprints God put in your soul.”

    Kirsten–ok, trippy-weird. I just read the Michelangelo story this AM (though it was a lion, not an angel, in the version I had). And I’m glad you weren’t yelling for the bottom half of your comment 😉 (though in a related note, one of my colleagues sends EVERY EMAIL in bold—AAARRRGGHHH!!!).

    There are totally so many gifts in this world…so many gifts in each person…so many gifts in each day, each hour, even each minute (well, some of them, anyway). I decided once that I hope we can still learn things in heaven, because that’s the only place I’ll ever have time to learn to play the violin or the cello.

    I can’t wait to share voiced, face-full, words with you, too. Maybe I should chant…8 more weeks…ommmm…8 more weeks…ommm

    Ok, I’m a nutball this morning.

  7. oh, you had me laughing out loud — and a big, hearty laugh, too! — with that “8 more weeks . . . ommmmm . . . 8 more weeks . . . ommmm” line! so funny, girlie!

    i want to chime in “me too! me too!” when it comes to that whole “not enough time in the world to do all that we want to do and explore” thing. i once told my mom that i think reading so voraciously as a kid did this to me. it’s like that opened up to me whole worlds of possible existences out there, and in reading the characters it was like i was inhabiting their bodies and experiences, too, which made coming back to my real body and experiences somehow . . . i don’t know . . . pale and bland in comparison because there was just THE ONE OF ME, as opposed to the thousands of them. it made my heart ache to realize i could never actually have all those experiences i was exposed to, and just inhabiting them in books was not quite enough. but i suppose it’s way more than not inhabiting them at all, huh?

    i love that image of all of us strolling through the meadow! perfect, girl. just perfect. totally resonates with my experience.

    what a beautiful closing you added to linni’s quote. such beautiful thoughts here in this comment thread, all.

    8 more weeks . . . ommmm . . . 8 more weeks . . . ommmm . . . ! : )

  8. “Life Shrinks or Expands in Proportion to Ones Courage” ~Anais Nin~

    I could not break up the chic club here, so I decided to quote one, a good one at that.

    Have courage and in the words of the movie Meet the Robinsons “Keep moving forward”

    Looking forward to seeing your journey unfold.

  9. Christianne–what are we at now? 7 more weeks…ommm…7 more weeks…-ish, anyway. Love you.

    Carl–hehe…yeah, it is something of a chic club around here sometimes. Huh…I hadn’t thought about life’s bigness or smallness as related to me and how I see things before. I’m moving…I’m moving 😉 Hope things are well with you.

  10. Girl, I think you’ve hit on something here! I was on the phone yesterday talking about calling and how God’s worked differently in our lives. For me, he knows I need baby steps. (Baby steps to the hallway; baby steps to the elevator…) He reveals little by little.

  11. Heather–Totally with you on the baby steps. Yeah, if God said, “Sarah, here’s what you’re supposed to do!” and BOOM it landed on me, I’d be terrified…but it’s not so bad this way. If I had it fast, I’d want it slow. Having it slow, I want it fast. *sigh* what a human being I am sometimes.

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