Saturday, January 21, 2012

Understanding God's Will

What do you do when you think you are aligned with "God's will for your life", but then realize that you might in fact be completely off? Maybe you've determined which path you should take based on your own feelings or what the people and culture around you tell you is the right way. And you just assume that that's the right path because it's the norm. It's the path that most people seem to take. It seems to be a reasonable and safe path. It's simply the path you feel you should take. Yes, it's the path that God is trying to lead you down... right?!

"God's will for my life"... I put that phrase in quotes because it's a phrase that is thrown out nonchalantly in the Christian culture, and I just don't think it's that black and white. I don't think that God has a set "will" or "path" for my life that I am supposed to robotically walk down as if it is the Yellow Brick Road leading to Paradise. But I do know that God loves me and cares about me and wants me to make "good" decisions as to how I live my life and what path I walk down.

Recently as I've been praying, I have started questioning my perspective of "God's will for my life." I talk to him about what I want/don't want, how I should feel/how I don't want to feel, what actions I should take/what I should steer clear of. And I ask for his help; for him to show me the right path. And he doesn't. Things remain unclear. I still don't know what path to take. So I just stand there. And I turn cold and irritated and lazy.

And then I realize that my expectations are way out of whack: I talk to God about my predicaments and he waves a wand to heal them. I don't think this is exactly how the whole "personal relationship" with God works. So I've come up with two different perspectives on taking steps towards the "right" path; two possible answers to my question of "God, why aren't you doing anything?!?"...

1) Help yourself. I don't mean abandon God because he's too busy to help or he simply doesn't care. I mean don't underestimate your role in your current predicament. You play a part in the solution, too. Sometimes you have to take the first steps of changing your attitude, or letting go of your selfish desires or maybe inching your way out on a limb.

2) Maybe you're stuck in your current "predicament" because that's where you're supposed to be right now. I sometimes pray for God to take away certain thoughts or feelings in me. And despite me trying to escape, sometimes they linger. Maybe I just need to have a new perspective - instead of focusing on what I want, maybe I need to be more attuned to what God has in store for me.

So instead of praying with tunnel vision, I will try to pray with a new perspective. And instead of tip-toeing down my own narrow path, I will look for the path that allows me to run with a freedom that I didn't even know existed.

Kyle Lake
These thoughts were prompted by a book I'm currently reading titled Understanding God's Will by Kyle Lake. Kyle was an amazing man who started and pastored University Baptist Church in Waco. He was a friend of my family and an amazing influence on many young people in the Waco community. Kyle passed away at the way-too-young age of 33 years old. Kyle was a deep thinker and took life seriously, yet fully "lived it up" and challenged those around him to do the same. I love the benediction he gave every Sunday and I think of it often: "Love God, embrace beauty, and live life to the fullest."

1 comment:

  1. I love everything about this post. So much of what I have been learning too. So much about letting go of expectations of who God is and how he should interact with you. So much about learning to see the forest through the trees - the big picture through the one predicament. I wish we could go drink wine and talk for hours like we used to. I miss you.