At the same worship service as mentioned in my previous post, I got to spend a brief moment talking with Ike Reeser. Ike is the children's minister at Northlake, and he's played a special role in my spiritual formation, well beyond my years in the children's ministry. Worship had been, as I've mentioned, refreshing and discouraging all at once. Ike enhanced the refreshment.
Ike asked me the "What's next?" question. Now, sometimes this question functions as a glorified "How are you?" - a sort of polite greeting/conversation starter. But not with Ike. I responded the way I usually do - with uncertainty - and he offered some words that were blessedly reorienting. It was something like, "We worry a lot about discerning God's will for our lives, but maybe it's better to seek God's will for the world and find a way to fit into that."
This is not a landmark statement, of course. I've heard it before, from more than one person. I've repeated it to myself and even heard myself say it to others. But isn't that the way good news is sometimes? You've heard it before, maybe all your life, but somehow repetition is not wearisome, but rather it spurs you on, reaping the fruit of seeds sown long ago. Through the gentle words of a friend, you again hear the summons of God. That is a beautiful thing.
It's as if God gently whispered in my ear, "I love you, child, but you're not at the center of my plans for the world. You can be a participant in my plans - partnership is the way I like to work! But if you want to seek my will, you're going to have to get over yourself." An invitation to stop obsessing over myself: what liberating, welcome news!
Incidentally, that leads me to think about making some "A Few Days After New Year's" Resolutions involving ascetical disciplines...