I’ve been pulled in a lot of different directions lately. In the past, I haven’t felt any distinct ‘calling’, so to speak, and in some ways I think this is because I’ve not been listening. I’ve been keeping myself busy, which might just be another word for ‘distracted’, for years now; perhaps I haven’t even desired a calling. When the desire to be put to use in fulfilling a greater purpose – whatever it may be – does enter the picture, there is a tendency to want to hear some thunderous voice issuing the command to a particular place or field of work or group of people (for me, at least, I know this is true). I wonder why I don’t hear that thunderous voice, and whether I am allowing myself to hear it; at the same time I am forced to marvel at how many tiny little things seem to be adding up to some direction, some guidance. If there is a ‘use’ for me, in a more specific sense, I want to know it and I want to pursue it wholeheartedly – yet, all the while, I want ‘the life of a child which is never conscious; [to] become so abandoned to God that the consciousness of being used never enters in’ (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Nov. 15th).
If ever there was a time that my motivations in such pursuits could be checked, it is now. The things that are of importance to me, that I value more than anything, are changing; my only hope is that they are changing for the right reasons. I know that the things I am pursuing, and the fundamental reasons for my concern in these areas, rest on firm foundation – that the aspect of this which is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is not what is in question, but the grey areas, which seem to be too many and not enough in between. My tendency in the past, though, has been to question myself out of pursuits and opportunities that could have been nothing less than amazing. In questioning so much, it seems I’ve been walking the line between caution and cowardice – and I feel certain this is the wrong line to be walking.
If I am sure of anything I am sure that His teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liability. I doubt whether there is anything in me that pleases Him less… The alternative to tragedy, or at least the risk of tragedy, is damnation. (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves)
I have found that I cannot reconcile the impulse to turn away from these pursuits for fear that my motives are impure – even the slightest bit polluted by interests that might be self-serving – with the belief that God is sovereign. I could be wrong about this, but it seems to me that to back out in fear of impure intentions is to impose a limit on God’s ability to redeem them and is a denial of Christ’s substitution in our areas of imperfection (i.e., all areas, period).
We are never ready for what we are about to do; we are never fully prepared, because one who is fully prepared does not allow for a change of plans and cannot understand mystery – and, after all, ‘there never was a more inconsistent Being on this earth than Our Lord, but He was never inconsistent to His Father’ (Chambers, Nov. 14th)…
By all this I am reminded once more that while pursuing these things, seeking whatever ‘calling’ there may be for me, I am to always remain grateful for and cherish the everyday and seemingly mundane:
We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from him the little things? (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together)