Wednesday, March 24, 2010
the big man in the sky
I watched a movie a couple months ago called “The Invention of Lying”. The movie stars funny (but awkward) man Ricky Gervais and girl-next-door-beauty Jennifer Garner (who was the star of the best show ever made, before this dufus got her pregnant and ruined the series). While the first five minutes of the movie were fairly crass (parental/high standards warning), the rest of the movie was entertaining. This movie at its outset was promoted as a comedy – and it is – but I realized as I was watching it that underneath the surface there were ideas more profound than a simple punch line. I saw more than one of these threads as the movie played out, but there is one specific moment that absolutely struck me with its poignancy. It happened right near the end of the movie (don’t worry, I won’t give away the ending); and it’s actually taken me this long to figure out how to write about it.
I can’t and won’t assume that everybody reading this believes that there is a God. However (and if you haven’t guessed it already), I definitely do. I’ve researched other options and I tell ya, nothing makes sense to me without Him; not flowers, not the complexity of the human body, not the tidal pull of the ocean. (side note: Check out Rob Bell's "Everything is Spiritual" dvd, it will blow your mind). For those who believe in God, a major train of thought is often, “what does he want? What is His will for my life?” Fair question. But like any character in any plot line, eventually: we have to make a decision.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about will: ours vs God’s, God’s will on its own, and how we know if we’re doing what “God wants” (also phrased “what is my calling?”). Sometimes (and we’ve all got stories to prove it), God says to a person “Go to this place specifically”, or “do this specific thing”. This is a very real part of active belief: at times, I may be asked to do something far beyond the reaches of my comfort zone, or I may simply be asked to do some very specific job/vocation/"calling". I can’t settle, however, on the idea that God always spells the words out for us so clearly. Couldn’t it be said that sometimes, God’s will is a little less geographically specific? What I mean is this: regardless of where we are or who is around us, could it be that His “will” for me is simply that I love Him with my life?
This “will” is unchanging and is required of me in my day to day actions and thoughts, regardless of where I am. This is my specific calling. His will for me is to honour him with my decisions, regardless of what those decisions may be. Am I honouring him? Then I am in His will. His will for me is to trust him, no matter how much of a mess I seem to be in. His will for me is most certainly to listen intently for his voice – but his will for me is also to use my will and decision making power; he gave me a brain and reasoning skills, and I am pretty sure he expects me to use them. I know his will for me is not to live in guilt for past mistakes. His will for me is not to hurt other people, deny them grace, or envy what they’ve got. I know He wants me to learn how to give; and how to receive.
So this is His will for me, and I no longer need to fret about decision A or B on His behalf. Most of these kinds of decisions (“here or there God, this or that?”) are merely distractions from the actual heart of the matter. They are not bad things; they are not to be avoided. They should be embraced, but with the knowledge that in doing so, in taking action, in walking forward, His will for me hasn’t changed one bit. Of course I still listen to His voice in my life and in my decision making. But I also need to remember that he can use me wherever I am. And He will, if only I too, am willing.