Think of yourself as an incandescent power, illuminated and perhaps forever talked to by God … .
“Feeling a bit overwhelmed?” my husband asked the other evening as he watched me contemplate my life over a cup of hot tea. “It’s those eyebrows of yours,” he kidded, “they’re all bunched together and you’re staring into space!”
I must have looked pretty funny, sitting there with my hands wrapped around a mug of steaming tea, deep in thought. It was early evening and our two kids still living at home were both gone. There was a blessed quiet and I took full advantage knowing the house would fill with energy and noise once they returned. As much as I truly enjoy kid noise, I also take pleasure in an occasional dose of quiet. In fact, my family knows if I don’t seek some daily “think time” I feel cluttered and disorganized.
For the last few weeks I’ve been telling God I want to use my time well and make lasting impressions on those whose lives touch mine. May I be bold and effective, I whispered to him the other day as I talked with a classroom of ninth-graders. Now is the time, not later!
Such practical talk is okay with God and our words need not be draped in formality. Perhaps you are wondering what task to volunteer for or job offer to accept or business opportunity in which to invest. I think taking such matters to God is perfectly acceptable and good … necessary, in fact.
We might also ask a series of other questions while we’re in the inquiring mode: Why, God, did you create me? What are the specific gifts you’ve granted to my use and how might you use them to work in this world? Of the multitude of opportunities out there and the limitless number of needs, how am I to respond? How do I set a course for my life and work effectively when there is so much that can cause me heartache and failure?
I admire those who know themselves well and easily identify how they fit into this world and what they are to do. Every time I look at a picture of my dad coaching track or a childhood art project made by my husband featuring a bird I smile: they both found their places in the world. My husband, at nearly 50, is still impassioned by anything that has feathers.
Lifelong interests can bring us deep joy and satisfaction, so why is it we often sacrifice, or worse ignore these areas of our lives?
It is during these times of questioning that I believe God dares to venture with us, yet this comes as a great surprise to many who only see God as distant and demanding. In the Bible we read that God longs to give you the deepest desires of your heart. We can be assured that this is a team effort, for God likes the interdependence that is created when we question him, requesting his direction and strength and insight. And in this era when people value quick information and willingly submit to instant gratification, no matter the cost, I believe that God longs for us to be less reactive to life and more contemplative, instead. There is certain nobility and decided growth when we anguish about the choices life offers us. When we sit quietly and wait on God to “speak” to us.
What are you trying to teach me, Lord? What plans have you already devised for my good that will reveal your love for me? These are the questions of a faith-filled individual, questions that will be asked again and again over a lifetime.
What does all this have to do with the kind of choices we’ll be faced with next week? If you’re depressed and stressed, struggling and juggling, it is always a good idea to ask those basic, foundational questions. Perhaps it is time to avoid what seems easiest or will please people most and consider, instead, what might be God’s will. To begin building a consensus deep inside that combines our skills and gifts, interests and obligations, with God’s direction energy is sure to clarify the muddy waters, bring energy, vision and deep joy to these hurried, complex lives of ours.