Monday, September 20, 2010
Which Way Do I Go From Here?
Trust God with everything that is within your power. Don't trust your own intellect, knowledge or wisdom above his leading. I everything you do, look for him, when you find him, point him out. He'll show you what to do next. -Paraphrased from Solomon in Proverbs chapter 3
This is my life verse. I have always wanted to be the type of follower who wanted God's wisdom on everything. NO, I am not talking about the loony tune who prays to decide what icecream flavor to eat today, but when it comes to decisions that will impact more than the next hour or two of my life, I at least want to take into consideration what God has said to others in the past, and might be saying specifically to me right now.
I do this better at some times than others. Have you ever gotten so busy that you look up and suddenly realize that you and God haven't had a real conversation in a while? This seems to be more common, in my experience, among believers who have walked with God since childhood. We've always been aware that he was there, but like your mom, or your wife, you have this vague impression that no matter how you react to them they will always be there in the same way.
Recently I have come to the conclusion that I should be much farther down the road in my walk with Christ than I feel right now. There are habits that I have intended to shed, like extra pounds, for years. Not all-consuming, life shattering habits, but things that if you heard me name them would either; make you feel better about yourself; or make you run and hide when I come calling for fear that they are contagious. Having grown up as a minister's father, even scripture becomes old hat to me. As fresh as it can be, it can be a struggle to even crack the binding once a week. It isn't like I'm not dwelling on it, cause I memorized enough of it as a child (entire chapters) that it seeps out of me into conversation.
The last few days I have been struggling with what is next for me, in my life, work wise, vocation wise. Those that know me, know that I pursued a life in theatre for fifteen years. Well, more like twenty-five, but I really only got paid for it for fifteen. In January of 2010 it became evident to me what many others had already realized, that it was no longer financially feasible for me to keep running down the road I was on, the bridge was out. This came as a huge shock. It took several months for me to even admit that it was over. This wasn't a job, it was who we, as a family, had become. IT was our vocation, our hobby and our ministry all in one, but it had also become an idol.
When we pursue anything the way God wants us to pursue him he becomes jealous. He isn't the jealous I would be if my wife decided to chase another man, which is good, because it means I, unlike the aforementioned imaginary man-whore, get to live, with all of my body parts. So, that was my dream, my (I still believe) God-given dream since I was fourteen years old, what now? (I asked this question last night on a long walk, at one in the morning, my response? Crickets! Literally, the sound of crickets!)
I feel that I know what is supposed to be next for me. It is a thing that I have felt called to since childhood and have feared that I would end up doing. But, I am not sure I am ready, nor has an opportunity even been given, it is just an impression that I have. And as I listen to the words of Solomon I wonder if this is God, or just some left over childhood fantasy.
Here is what I do know. My one regret in this situation that I find myself is that the only hesitancy I have in jumping off this cliff into the great unknown, into this calling, is that I have not kept myself ready. I have not been in the gym, (spiritually speaking) keeping up with the workout regimen required to make these kinds of life changes and I am afraid of who I have become, and his showing up at unexpected moments in my life.
Now, before you start imagining me as a pedophile, realize that I am the same guy who never tasted alcohol until he was well over thirty, never had any inappropriate relationships with another woman. (and what my wife and I do is none of your beeswax) I have never stolen anything, tried to pay my taxes, (by which I mean to the best of anyone's ability to figure out what the heck that means) taught my children right from wrong, and have tried to be kind to everyone who doesn't completely piss me off, and asked for forgiveness from those people, so...
But still, there are days when the weight of my thoughts, the things I have said and done, the burden of my own sin, the knowledge of what I would be personally capable of if not for the constraints of the love of God, knock me to my knees and I am overcome with the guilt of my own sin. The enormity of it strikes me and I rest in the knowledge that were it not for the loving, willful sacrifice of the Son of God on my behalf that I would walk into an eternity apart from the forgiveness of God and that I would deserve every second of it.
Knowing that Isaiah told God, on the occasion of his calling, that he was a man of unclean lips, that Peter on the night before Christ's execution cut off a man's ear in a violent rage and then proceeded to cuss out a number of young servant girls, that Moses was in the desert hiding out from a well deserved murder rap when he saw the burning bush, and that the first thing Noah did after leaving the ark was to get drunk and naked: makes me feel that I am in good company, it also lets me know that I had better get my crap together, because I have already told him I was willing, and IF I am truly hearing him, then he will move me in this direction whether I am completely ready, or not.
You may have heard it said before, but it is a Truth: God equips the called more often than he calls the equipped.