There's a lot of pressure on us as Christians to discover "God's plan" for our lives and live that out. Actually, there's a lot of pressure on us as human beings to do this, although those who do not believe in God simply feel this impulse as some kind of existential dread. There's just something about our being that wants to know what we were created for, what we're supposed to do, who we're supposed to be. (And every generation has had its outpourings of 'fads' in identity trying to figure it out.)
Most of us feel like if we miss this thing, this one thing, we've missed everything. We've wasted our life. We're wasting our life. We're never going to be happy or successful or stable or any other myriad of adjectives we might place on our life that all seem to hinge on this one thing.
And if we ever do find it, we'll go off in search of it like the pearl of great price, giving up everything to pursue it...only to be devastated if it doesn't quite work out the way we're so certain we ought to.
Did we fail? Did God fail? Were we even on the right path at all? What happened that messed things up so bad when they seemed to be so certain?
What if I told you maybe there's not one thing?
We've talked about this idea before, and it's common to hear someone say that what God really wants from you is to live justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly, and as long as you're living with your heart for God every day, it doesn't matter what you're actually doing (within certain reason), but I don't think that's the answer, either. It's a good one. There's a lot of truth in it. I just don't think it satisfies what our souls are searching for.
A lot of us have had this moment, this moment that is so clear to us what God has planned for our life. We've had this moment of crystal clear understanding, it seems, and then it doesn't work out. It's hard to swallow a pill after that, then, that says, "Then just be a good, faithful person. That's all God wants for you."
But what about that dream? What about that calling? What about that thing we were so certain of?
I want to tell you: I've had this moment. I've had this moment on repeat. God has confirmed this vision for me a thousand times over the past twenty years in following Him. And I did - I went off and pursued it, trying to make it happen in my own power, just like all of us are tempted to do. And you know what? It's not where my life is right now.
That doesn't make my life a failure. It doesn't make the dream or the calling wrong. It doesn't change anything really. But it has helped me understand what's really happening with God in our lives, and it is my hope that the things I'm holding onto and holding out for might help you understand some of your life, as well.
So here it is:
I think that at any given point in our lives, there are two movements going on, two things happening. First, there's what God is doing with our life. This is the dream, the calling, the things He's working together in ways that we can't understand. And second, I think there's what we're doing with our life...for God. This is our obedience, our faithfulness, our integrity. This is what we're investing ourselves in while continuing to pursue and to believe in and to hold out hope for the dream.
And here's the kicker, here's what I'm learning: these aren't always the same thing.
Intrigued? I'll break this down some more in the next few days.