I remember this meeting with Pastor Bob distinctly. I was about 15 and I was worried about my future. I asked if Pastor Bob would meet with me and so we went out to the local McDonald’s. I asked him to tell me how I would know what God would want me to do with the rest of my life, how would I know his plan.
His answer surprised me.
He said that he didn’t think there was so much something God wanted me to do with the rest of my life but rather God was calling me to my life in service of him in the midst of everything I was already doing. For him, doing the will of God was about serving in the moment.
It was probably the best advice I’ve ever gotten because it freed me from having to have it all figured out. It freed me to live in the moment instead of trying to always look for that ‘thing’ that God wanted me to do forever and ever. It freed me to serve God in the moment, whatever that moment might be.
Time and time again, I’ve gone back to those words of advice as I’ve tried to discern what God is calling me to. But I have to admit that I still long for God to tell me what he wants me to do and then I’ll stick with it for the rest of my life.
But unfortunately, that is not how it works. The way I thought it should happen assumes that a person can figure out the mind of God (which is tantamount to thinking that you are like God) when all God really wants is for us to trust and follow…one of the hardest things for me because then I don’t have it all under control and ordered.
It’s a very messy way of being the church in the world because it means that any one of us might make mistakes figuring it out in each moment. It’s not all neat and tidy and demands a little more from me than figuring out the recipe for a perfect God approved life etched in stone and follow it to the letter.
Every moment of my life, I need to be open to what God is calling me to be.
As I meet up with other people who challenge my basic kindness; as my husband calls me into account for my hypocritical lies I tell myself, as I figure out how to live my life in the moment, I pray for the ability to trust the Spirit leading me so that even as I get it wrong, that even as I don’t have it all together, God is there, beckoning me to continue to follow as he makes all things new, even my mistakes.
It’s what Bishop Sid Haugen says when sending us out from worship ‘go out to where you live and work and be the church in the world’. Living in each moment, trusting God to lead. And that’s a whole lot different than having it all figured out.
(Picture by Moyan Brenn on Flickr)