I love to rise early. This morning I settled into my chair on the deck with my cup of coffee….and a LOT of questions on my mind. Where should we move to next? What will homeschool look like this year? What about the many dreams I have….that haven’t materialized?
I don’t know about you but when I have so many things on my mind, it makes me want to go back to bed.
The prayer that I’ve prayed many times over the years, (yeah verily…I can pray it in King James,) without even thinking. Lord what is your will? Will you open a door for (fill in the blank)? Please send me a sign…a prophetic word…a Scripture…oh, for crying out loud, even a timely fortune cookie would be welcomed.
And I’m coming to the conclusion that here is his answer: What do YOU want?
Yep. You read that right. What do YOU want? Yeah…YOU! What is YOUR will? What are YOUR dreams?
Lemme explain. Much like institutionalized schooling has dumbed down the masses, I think institutionalized religion has dumbed us down in the dreaming department. We’re taught from the pulpit about this mysterious will of God. Told to pray for it, to seek it earnestly, to pursue at all cost. Of course, this “will” is never very well explained…it’s sort of a vague target out there.
(Unless of course the kid’s Sunday school needs a teacher….)
I remember years ago as a foot-loose single. I would attend the early morning prayer time with a few others at the church. One morning, I was standing at the map of the world posted on the wall browsing…dreaming…praying when the pastor, a man whom I greatly loved and looked up to, gave me a squeeze on the shoulder and pointed to Montana and said, “Focus, focus…”
The tacit message was clear. God’s will for you is here.
Did the pastor dude have malevolent intentions? Of course not. But looking back at this as a solidly middle aged woman, if I had it to do over again, I should have told him to take a flying leap.
Religion confines people. It says, “Don’t do that!” and uses the fear of missing God’s will as a powerful control mechanism. And again, I’m not throwing rocks at people…it comes with the nature of any institution.
The value of the institution and its goals supersede that of the individual.
In its extreme, it’s Jonestown. (Remember that mass suicide?)
Or in a more recognizable form: For me it involves rethinking that nebulous topic: “God’s Will” and exploring in a new way the freedom that God has granted to every human being as we were created in his image.
Failure to do so is as deadly to the soul as that Kool Aid was to the lives in Jonestown.
Wanna live in the woods like Thoreau did? Go check it out. Wanna find a spouse? Do whatever practical steps you need to take and move forward. Find a job that makes you happy? Investigate new job options. You get the idea. I think God moves when we move simply because of that freedom thing.
I’m not trying to minimize any of these things, remember I’m the one that was up at 6:00 thinking of my own issues.
But I think we need to change our mentality from “God would you open a door” to something like, “God, I’m going to move forward and trust that MANY doors ARE open and I’m going to trust you to CLOSE the ones that are of no value to me in my journey.”
It’s taking me several years to sort this out and it’s by no means a done deal. But I will say this, the sense of freedom and joy it brings far, far outweighs the discomfort of setting aside old familiar, comfortable ideas.
“…..If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours…” Thoreau