My wife took this picture of my while at Starbucks. We had the rare privilege of a Parents Night Out, thanks to our church providing child care for three hours for a minimal cost, and I was struck by the fatigue and reflectiveness I see in the photo.
Maybe you don’t see the reflectiveness. But I was grateful to God to have made it through another week of work and parenting and to have some actual time to sit, drink a Green Tea Frappachino and eat a Chocolate Croussant and thank God for sustaining me.
The wife made a run for a healthy snack at Sprouts, and while she ran into a friend, this gave me some alone time to sit and think and to spill chocolate all over my shirt and meditate on scriptures in a devotional.
The devotional I enjoyed the best emphasized how important it is to breathe. We can be so busy in all our different roles in life that we have no or little time to breathe in and out and just be aware of God’s presence in our lives.
One of the scriptures I read was from Psalm 18. It said God rescues those in whom He delights, and this was my prayer the past two days: that in the absence of my physical and mental strength, God would rescue me by helping me get through my days.
Given my fatigue, the last three weeks of a school year for a teacher (my occupation) can seem like three months, and God gave me the right attitude to respond to each potentially challenging situation to reflect His character.
I also read an article by Donald Miller, author of the memoir Blue Like Jazz. in it, he presents his thought-provoking views on whether God has a specific plan for every believer’s life that counter-argue what most Christians believe.
“I want to write an essay saying the statistical chance of God having a specific plan for your life is roughly 1 in 227. I’d base that statistic on scripture, because scripturally, for every one person God had a specific plan for, there were 226 He did not. Joseph was in, Benjamin was out and so on.”
He contends too many Christians waste time thinking and praying for God to tell them exactly what to do, waiting around to hear from God while we could instead be serving God.
After giving an example of an earthly father who tells his kids what to eat, drink, and do with their time (a Father He calls controlling and nuts), he gives this illustration to describe the fathering role of our Heavenly Father:
“If God is fathering us, He is helping us discover what is good, right, pure, and worthy to pursue. He teaches us morality and ethics, but also gives us a heart filled with desire and longing. It’s as though God sets before us a big sheet of butcher paper and hands us a box of crayons and tells us to dream.”
As a person who has been seeking God’s specific purpose for my life, I know for certain God speaks through scripture, other people and circumstances to guide us to specific plans for our life, and yet at the same time, He gives us freedom to dream and serve Him.
So, I guess I agree and disagree with Donald Miller, whose Blue Like Jazz is a book I couldn’t put down while on vacation to Canada several years ago.
I know I have been guilty of over-thinking God’s plan for my life at the expense of serving Him at times, so Miller has a good point about spending too much time waiting to hear from God.
But I have also been guilty of not thinking carefully enough about God’s plan for my life, especially regarding crossroads in my life that involve having taken the time to think how God has designed me and gifted me.
Failing to give consideration to the unique type of person God has created me has been partially responsible for wrong roads I’ve gone down, and I know in hindsight that if I’d spent more time talking and listening to God, I would have gone done His road.
So, does this mean God does have a specific plan for every believer?
I will just say that my time with God is the most precious part of my day and I will let Him guide me on how I spend my time, but I do appreciate Donald Miller’s perspective and it will become part of my next conversation with God.
And it may lead me to cut shorter my time with Him and go out and serve others.