What is God’s plan for my life?
Do you ever ask yourself this question?
I rarely know what my plan is for dinner, so trying to discern a lifetime worth of decisions feels overwhelming.
Life is a constant journey of making choices, from the beautiful to the mundane to the terrifying. Where should I go to school? Should I go to more school? Do I move or stay? Leave the marriage or try to work it out? Do I want to have children? I want to have children but struggle with infertility--so what’s next? Do I care for a loved one or hire someone else? Is this the job for me? If not, how long do I stay? And how do I decide what is right? My mother has two treatment plan options for her illness--which one do we choose?
As if we aren’t under enough pressure to make the “right” choice, there’s a pervasive theology out there proclaiming that “God has a plan for your life”. God has connected all the dots, but the picture is only complete if you move number to number, in order. That’s a lot of pressure.
I heard a beautiful story recently, on a podcast, about a Presbyterian minister trying to discern whether he should stay in his current job in Texas or move to a village in Mexico. He prayed, daily, for years--should I stay God or go--and received no answer. Finally, one night, he heard the voice of God, unmistakably, unlike any voice he had heard before. God said: I don’t care.
I don’t care?!? It came as such good news. A relief. He could make either choice and be at peace with God.
I wish, so badly, that we had an app for making the right choices. Could order up vocational clarity as easily as we order dinner. But God is not an app or a puppet master or a benevolent dictator.
God is love. Our job is not to obsessively wonder which way God wants us to go. Our job is to live our lives, as best we can, attuned to love and peace, care and compassion, joy and justice. To love what God loves.
This week, could you join me in letting go of the need to make the one right choice, and instead focus on making loving choices?
Does God care what happens? Of course God cares about our lives: our flourishing, our hopes and dreams and health and desires. God is a God who is with us, in the mystery and beauty and fears of life. God is with us in hospital rooms, at dinner tables, and through hard conversations. Crying with us, laughing with us, delighting with us in all that we experience. When there are no easy answers, we can trust that God will be with us whatever we decide, wherever we go, whoever we choose. That’s a plan I can get behind.
By Kate Floyd