I spent a long time seeking God’s will for my life. Because I’d misread Romans 12:2, as I mentioned in my previous post, I thought it was my task to discover my way to God’s path for my individual life. I’m thinking about that differently today.
The perfect path
In my imagination, God’s plan for my life existed out there somewhere in the heavenly realm, in some part of life that is mysterious and not fully revealed to me. My job was to find it. It was the most consequential scavenger hunt of my life, but I felt very lost.
God had started me off well by assigning me parents who took my brother and me to church. Then, almost immediately, we start deviating from God’s good and perfect plan.
A pastor friend sometimes describes the “terrible twos” as evidence of original sin. He means it as a joke, but for some of us that sinks in. We live with this idea (which is more Plato than Bible) that there is an ideal form of us into which we are supposed to live. Our flawed selves wandering the earth, aren’t to be trusted.
So we spend our lives trying to find ourselves, our ideal form, who we “really” are. We want to know who we should be and what we should do.
For me, a process of self-discovery was thrust upon us in middle school. Guidance counselors asked if I would be on the college prep or vocational school track. The school administered tests intended to inform a 13- or 14-year-old what careers I should consider based on my interests and aptitudes.
In high school, things got more intense. Should I choose the class in which I will get the good grade or the one that will challenge me? Which college is right for me? As if there is one (or maybe two) that is right, and all others are wrong.
Then in college, there were decisions about majors (I had to be reminded to declare one), a career path, dating, and so much more.
What will you do with your one and precious life?
For me, and others I know, that question included implications about whether we would follow God’s plan for our lives or our own—as if those are diametrically opposed options.
So we begin a quest, a scavenger hunt, a search to find God’s path for our lives. The one I am supposed to be following.
As I look back today, I’m convinced that the ideal path doesn’t exist out there somewhere. Instead, while I was looking to find my way in the world, I was actually making my way in the world by developing my God-given gift, abilities, passions and desires.
Because, as we’ve heard many times before, you make the path by walking.