Last week I ended with a list of questions from Gordon Smith’s book, The Voice of Jesus, that feel designed for a fireside chat with a trusted friend while sipping tea. I have found that engaging in meaningful conversations with people who know me well can be very helpful as I seek to make decisions. It can also be confusing.
I recall many a client sitting in my office saying some version of “I don’t know what I want to do but my husband/mother/uncle/sister/dog thinks I should…” I empathize with the tricky balance of weighing the input of others, not wanting to disappoint people and taking ownership of my choices.
I appreciate Smith’s perspective. He notes that while what we long for is to hear the voice of Jesus directing us, “Something else needs to be emphasized. No one else will make these critical decisions for us. They might try to do so, but they cannot. Vocation is necessarily something about which we bear personal responsibility.”
Nothing drives home the message that I am responsible for living my own life more clearly than chronic pain. People can be supportive and provide encouragement. Others can empathize and help out in practical ways but ultimately I had to be the one to quieten my spirit and attempt to hear how God wanted me to live each day.
“We choose how we will respond to this set of circumstances. And no matter how limiting a set of circumstances may be, we still can ask, how am I being called to respond to this set of circumstances at this time and in this place?”
My life since those pain-days has radically changed and yet these principles are no less fitting. Each day is a fresh opportunity to ask God what He would have me do with my time. “At this point and in this place, what is it that I am being called to do?”
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst