Wednesday, June 25, 2014

can we unravel the will of God? a dumbed down guess

Theologians say stuff and think stuff that I am incapable of conceiving. I am glad they have one another to debate and I see that good can come from healthy discourse, even if and when I don't flippin get what they mean a good portion of the time. I tend to like a dumbed down explanation. 

A bunch of us less theological types wonder at times how we can possibly know how, where, when or whom to "serve" - Or - how to "be in God's will".

We lament and groan about "wanting to use our gifts - I mean REALLY USE THEMMMMM".

It is not uncommon to hear friends bemoan how difficult it is to know "where God wants them" or "what He wants them to do".  They are just waiting for the top secret intel to arrive.  When it does, off they will go to their incredibly detailed and well planned out God thing.

I am included in some and eavesdrop on others of these discussions and find that people seem to think they are going to get super explicit instructions from God about His will for them. There is a lot of time spent waiting for that clear direction to come. We pray, "Show us your will" and then we wait for the show part. The vernacular can cause me to squirm a little bit. I don't know for sure for sure what "God's will" is for me, let alone these friends that so desperately await the big reveal in their own lives. 

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Then the letter comes ...

Dear _____, child of Me, the Most High,

Go to _______ and do exactly ____and ___ and ___. Go on the ___ of next month and leave home at exactly_____O'clock.  Eat ____, pack _____, sell ____ and ____ and ____ before you go.  Oh, have $____ in reserve in a bank account for the huge unknowable emergencies that are sure to come.
Love and Direction,

No. Not really.  God hates writing letters.

Because God won't write a letter like that, we search the Bible, wring our hands,  and visit the local Christian book-seller to see what the famous people say we should do. Depending on the time, the books will give different instructions. Some years you have to "Embark on a journey of discovery" as you enjoy 40 days of purpose before you answer life's most fundamental question, "What on earth am I here for?". Other years you must kiss your family goodbye and be "Radical". Then, there are years you just have to "Live your best life now".  It gets pretty confusing to say the least.

Here is the thing.  I don't really like the Bible.  It frustrates me.  It contradicts itself and it doesn't make sense to me a lot of the time.  Those books? They also frustrate me. Being radical and living with purpose is so much pressure. That all feels driven by people pleasing to me. Purpose according to whom? All the journeys of discovery I have ever embarked upon seem to end early, and certainly long before the discovery.

Even with all my hangups and Biblical confusion, I like what Jesus said a lot and what He did while he was here makes more sense to me.  Jesus said, "love one another".  Maybe for the sake of technicality and to avoid compulsive correctors that roam the Internets looking to shame and correct and hate on the bloggers, I need to say, Love God. Love others. (Matthew 22:36-39) But for sure, love. 

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When I read and try to figure out anything about God's will, I get diarrhea. It can get super awkward. So much of it feels far too abstract and unreachable. And there I am, running to the dang toilet again. But(t) - when I read this, I felt like I was reading something pretty true - 

"Jesus sets the boundaries of God's will. If it doesn't look like Christ, then it's outside the will of God. Jesus IS the will of God for us.”  ― David D. Flowers

Okay.  Jesus. Let us think about that. 

So wait?  I just love you. And then I just love family, friends, neighbor and others that come into my life and cross my path?  That is the whole thing? I just do that, where I am?

Love one another (the way Jesus did it) sounds too easy or simple or something.  Perhaps we all want it to be more glamorous, more difficult. We are waiting for something that sounds fancier, tangible, and more prestigious ... Something we can put on a business card or a Twitter profile or something.

Global Guru of God's Will Capacity Building
Chief Fixer of All the Sinning Losers in the Greater Metropolis
Development Director of the Universe
Founding Father of Important Things God thinks are Worthy Endeavors

(all currently available)

I don't know. Maybe we all make this much more complicated than was ever intended. 

The big thing we are waiting for clear direction on, simply "love one another" with your own special unique gifting and style (which you posses at all times). Wherever. All over. Like right where you are standing.  Like now. 

Perhaps that is it.  
Like, really, just that. God's will. In a nutshell. 
"See Jesus" stamped over all the will of God questions.

The end, no further instructions. 

Tara Livesay
attempting to love others where I am now
sometimes sucking at it, other times not as much