Last week I used the prompt “guide” to ponder the mysteries of the universe. I only allowed myself five minutes to write about it, but I have been thinking about it ever since.
How do we know what the next right thing is? How do we know what decision to make? When faced with big life choices, how do we know if the path we take will be the right path? When faced with the prospect of sitting and waiting for something to happen or getting up and taking action ourselves, how do we know which one to pursue? Action or inaction?
Many people, including myself, spend a lot of time and energy asking the question “what is God’s will for my life?” That question goes hand in hand with the how do I know questions listed above and presupposes that God has a specific plan individually catered to each one of us. The more I think about these questions and the idea that making the correct decision hangs in the balance, the more I wonder if I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. Or maybe I’m making this too much about me and not enough about the bigger picture.
Last weeks lectionary reading was from Roman’s 12. Asking us to be living sacrifice, to not be consumed by the world but be transformed by God in order to know the will of God. Know that we all belong to each other and that we each bring something unique and valuable to the table. To use our gifts and talents for the betterment of God’s kingdom instead of our own glory or devices.
What does that really mean? I’ve been thinking about what God’s kingdom could possibly be and believe more and more strongly that it is everything around us. It is the beauty of the earth. It is caring for this impossibly fragile and beautiful earth we have been entrusted with. It is humankind at its best. It is loving our neighbor and treating each other with love and respect even when we don’t agree. It is welcoming the stranger. It is when light beats out evil. It’s when justice prevails. It’s when those who can’t are lived up by those who can. It’s when love wins.
God’s kingdom is when love wins.
So what does that have to do with God’s will for our lives?
Everything. Everything because it is up to us to fight for that kingdom to prevail every single day. Over the course of our lives we have decisions to make and often we ask what is the best decision for me, myself and I. At least I do, anyway. Instead, we should be asking what is the best decision for God’s kingdom.
To be clear, asking the question, what is God’s will for my life and how will it further God’s kingdom is applicable no matter where you are in faith or spirituality. Whether you call God: God, Yahweh, Allah, universe, the voice deep in your heart, or Holy Spirit. God is God is God. God’s kingdom stretches further than our earthly minds can comprehend.
So, when faced with a decision big or small we should ask:
How will my actions affect those around me? Will these words bring hurt or healing? Is the attention I’m giving my family building them up or tearing them down? Is the example I’m setting for my children teach courage or fear? Do my actions come from a place of selfish desire or selfless giving? Will the result of those actions bring about peace or discord?
I don’t know about you but often times I can get bogged down in the details of decision making. Looking too hard at the minutia of each decision and how it will impact my life. Instead, I need to be thinking broader and looking at how the choices I make will impact those around me.
When I throw the pebble in the pond, how far will the ripples extend and who will they affect? Will the result be joy and inspiration or discord and anger?
I may never see a burning bush to tell me what to do or what decision to make. There will certainly be many times through out our lives when we are faced with decisions. Little daily ones and big life changing ones. But we have been given a mind for reasoning and spirit for compassion and when the path does not seem crystal clear, and when decisions weigh heavily, we have only to look to God’s kingdom to know that God’s will for our lives is bigger than the details.