Sunday, February 14, 2016

You have called me higher

  I often think about what God wants from me in the future. 
If I think about what I want, there are two core desires.

  One is to be close to family, because I love them and I want to be active in their lives and them to be active in my family's life. 

  The other is for the Philippines. I truly love it here. It's a beautiful place, and I feel like I'm actually doing something good here. 

  The second option sounds much more... Holy. I mean, it's sacrificing comfort and time with family to help those less fortunate. But, unless it's God's will for my life, it's at least partially image driven. 

  Just because I love my family, doesn't mean God is going to call me to stay near them. Also, just because I love the Philippines and it seems logical that God would make it my mission field, doesn't mean that's the case. 

  Truthfully, I feel the pull to this country. I would love to get married and come back here to spend years living here. To raise a family here. To use the closeness to other Asian countries to do short term missions. But also truthfully, I don't know if all that is from God OR if it's my own desire. 

  Naturally, I want to feel as if I'm doing something of value, but really, it has nothing to do with what I *feel*, and instead has everything to do with what GOD'S plan is for my life. 

  It's not as if I haven't sought God about this at all, but I haven't much, and I honestly don't know if I can while I'm here. The desire to spend my life here is too strong. 

  Nothing scares me more than wasting my life. This is typical me, though. I don't need to have it planned out. I don't need to know that many steps ahead, but I'm a futuristic person, so obviously it's on my mind. 

  God is good, and I know He won't let me down. He won't leave me alone. He'll give me the steps I need, when I need them. 


1 comment:

  1. I've always had those same doubts and questions about what to do with my life, what would be most pleasing to God. One thing I've never had any doubts about, has been working with children. I've never had any doubts that any of the work I've done with children has been pleasing to God. Also, sometimes I think I feel God encouraging me to go in some direction, or confirming me in some direction I'm already going, but I'm never sure how much that's coming from Him, and how much it's from wishful thinking.

    I feel like the little drummer boy: I have nothing to give that's worthy of Him, and my best hope is to see Him smile at me when I play my drum for Him, even if I don't know how to play it very well.

    One thing that has helped me with that is the thought that maybe the more I study His scriptures, and try to understand His purposes and serve them, in accordance with His prescriptions, the better my choices will be, and the more I will want what He wants. Maybe it isn't about always making the best choices. Maybe it's about making better and better choices as time goes by. So maybe we don't need to agonize so much over which path of service to choose. Just keep practicing prayerfully whatever seems clear to us from the scriptures, and trust that our choices will improve as time goes by.

    Almost all my time on the Internet, from the very beginning, for more than ten years, was in Internet discussions, trying to be a friend to the people around me that I saw being stigmatized, marginalized and treated cruelly, the most. All that time, I felt called to that by God. Again and again I tried giving it up, and every time I thought I heard God calling me back. About a year ago, for the first time, I faced up squarely to the possibility that I was never really doing it for God, but only for my own selfish interests. That was agonizing, but cleansing too. Now I'm not sure what to think, how much it was for God and how much for me. Some of both, I'm sure.

    I have learned some ways of freeing myself from attachment to one choice or another, to be more open to whichever way God might be calling me, if indeed He is calling me in one direction or another. I'm not sure He always is. It might be more about doing my best, whichever way I go. Another thing I've learned about choices is that sometimes the choices that are the hardest ones for us to make are the ones that are the least consequential, for God's purposes for us. He doesn't really need any of us to do anything, really. The only reason He lets us help is for our own good, for each of us. Now that I think of it, that reassures me about the way I've spent my time on the Internet. How pleasing our efforts are to God is not so much what we do, but how we do it, and I see that I was always progressing in how I did what I did in Internet discussions, learning to do more good and less harm.

    A few months ago, I realized that in my preoccupation with my future, I was neglecting the good I could be learning to do here and now. Since then I've been trying to learn and practice more and better ways of spreading God's love and knowledge all around me, in everything I do, everywhere all the time. For example, I've been learning ways of filling myself with joy, praying for it to spread to the people around me. For example, I sing joyous songs to myself, and I look for beauty all around me, and in people's faces.

    My wife is very good at seeing little ways she can help people do what they're trying to do, when we're out and about, and I've been trying to learn to do that too.

    Thinking about ways to help brighten up the day for people around me, in everything I do everywhere all the time, I realized that any progress I make in my efforts to improve my personality, character and conduct, with God's purposes and prescriptions in mind, will improve the lives of people around me, everywhere, every day, all the time.


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Be blessed, but also be a blessing.