“How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You.” Ps 84:4

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"God Told Me To"

A while ago I read a blog post written by a woman who talked about how her husband is not her soul mate. (This is where the extremely organized person would have a link to said post. Sorry.) Basically her point was that she does not believe that there is just one single pathway that God has for us; that there is not just one person in this whole UNIVERSE who is expressively meant just for me, nor will it make any difference what school we go to, whether we take one job over another, nor will the entire plan be knocked off it's kilter if I decide to fill up at one certain gas station over another.

I whole-heartedly agree, although I can see why people would like to believe otherwise. As human beings we are constantly looking for that line; searching out the boundaries and checking rules to make sure that we are "OK" and on the right path for our lives. It is hard to make big decisions, and we feel a lot of pressure to make the right choice or our whole life could go in a completely different direction and we might  lose out on something important. When I was in college I think I missed an entire month of sleep, not because I necessarily wanted to be going out every night but because I was afraid I would miss something really great. (Turns out I would've been ok.)

Wouldn't life be that much easier if there was a specific plan? A step by step guide would take away all responsibility on our part to make any decisions, and that way when things go terribly wrong we can just blame God, or fate, or whatever it is that you believe in.

Not to say, though, that life is a series of completely random events - there are way too many "coincidences" for that to be true. I think God likes to throw us curve balls every now and then to keep us on our toes; to show us He really is there and cares about us as individuals. I wondered for years why I had 'weird' scaly skin on my legs and wrinkly hands until God gave my sweet son to me and made that connection between us. He sees what will happen, what we will do and think and say and choose, and gives us gifts like that so we can recognize Him, get to know Him a little better.

Just like everything else in life there is a balance, between fear of making the slightest wrong move and thinking our choices don't make any difference anyway. Decisions change our lives, but I believe that life is a lot more about what we do with the results and consequences of those choices, rather than the actions themselves. Which makes sense when you think about what Jesus was all about - He was not really a 'rules and regulations' kind of guy. Jesus makes you look at yourself honestly and say, ok this is where I've gotten myself, so now what? Where to from here? And then it can turn into beauty or stay ashes, completely our choice. I have the choices I have made and the ones I will make, and also the responsibility to live them out in a God honoring way.

Which brings me to the point I wanted to make. (I know, it's about time right?) Some people love to say, "God told me" to do one thing or another. Don't get me wrong, whatever it is that you are doing or have done is probably good with Him, but He already knew what you were going to do either way, and we have the free will to do what we deem best. Yes it sounds like a very "Christian" thing to do; tacking onto the reason (or excuse) for our actions that God told us to, or that it's His will for our lives. However when it is something that really doesn't seem like something God would be cool with I have to wonder - could this be part of what God meant by telling us not to take His Name in vain? I am fully responsible for my own choices and actions and by saying that God told me something specifically takes the responsibility off of me and onto Him, which theoretically makes us more like mindless drones than created in His image.

(Now, I know that some of you are thinking, yes but what about the examples in the bible when God specifically had people do specific things, or go in specific directions? To which I would say, those are not everyday occurrences, and not what I am referring to. Does that still happen? Maybe. Does it happen as often as Christians make it sound like? I doubt it)

So yes, God has a plan for us, "to prosper and not to harm", as we all love to quote. But that was spoken in a general way, to a group of people, not to an individual saying that if they toe the line they will never encounter hardship. Yes God has a plan for my life, but had I decided not to come to Mexico I don't think my life would have gone down the tubes, or that I would have been "off track". I think that God is pleased when He looks at the heart of that decision, rather than the actual physical relocation. I am the one making the decisions and it is not ok to say when it is convenient, "I'm sorry, that's just what God is telling me", or "that's what I feel God's will is (or is not) for my life". Because most of the time it sounds like what it is; vanity. (Or self-love, conceit, arrogance, pride, narcissism... you get the picture.)

Hmm... kind of heavy stuff for a saturday morning. Maybe next time I'll ask to go along when Alex goes on a sleepover...

** Disclaimer **

Previous thoughts and musings are subject to change and correction as I grow, learn and mature. My opinions are just that - opinions. Please realize my humanness, the fact that I am aware I could be wrong, and that these are simply ideas I'm putting out there.

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