“I have a hard time with decisions.”
That’s the first thing I typed out a few minutes ago when I started writing. Almost immediately my fingers flashed to the backspace key, and my sentence was deleted. No, I thought. That’s not right. After thinking about it for a minute, I realized it’s not making decisions I have a hard time with. Really, it’s options.
I am terrible with options. I’d like to think I’m a pretty simple guy; in my mind, options only complicate things. For example, if you’re ever out to dinner with me, just watch what happens when the waitress hands me the menu. I react like I’ve just been given a math test. Right away, I will unfold my exam and begin to scan the lists of tasty dishes and their one-line summaries, all while my brain, stomach, and taste buds form a panel of judges to decide for me what my best choice is. Sometimes I will pick my head up just so I remember to breathe.
And as ridiculous as this sounds, I think you know what I’m talking about. You might not have trouble picking between your red shirt and your blue shirt in the morning like I do, but I bet you know where I’m coming from. It’s usually not the decisions between good and bad we have a hard time with, is it? The trouble comes when we have to choose between good and good. Or good and better. Obviously, there is no “right” answer when you’re choosing your entrée at a restaurant. It’s just a matter of what you want most, what you think is best.
This issue is all the more complicated by the fact that I claim to be a Christian and I have the whole issue of God’s will to contend with. Now, don’t misunderstand me; I don’t think it really matters to God whether I get lo-mien or pork-fried rice at the Chinese buffet tonight (because really, I’m going to regret my decision either way in the morning, so why complicate things?). But what about all the important decisions I have coming up in the next year? Where should I live? Should I change jobs? How much should my wedding cost? What if I don’t choose what God wants me to choose? Does God work like that?
Lots of options. And lots of opportunities to be wrong.
And that’s the issue for me. I just don’t want to be wrong. I’m tired of following my own way, a way that is inherently self-indulgent and always leaves me worse off than before. I want my life to count. I want to do something worthwhile. I want to matter in the grand scheme of things. And I think the problem is I view life as just that: a grand problem that I’m supposed to solve. And in case you’re wondering, I stink at math.
* * * * *
Let me throw a verse out to you:
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." ~John 3:8
This verse comes from the conversation Jesus has with Nicodemus about being born again. When Nicodemus asks Jesus if being born again means literally re-entering his mother’s womb, Jesus explains to him that it is not a rebirth of the body that takes place but a birthing of the Spirit of God in our own soul. It is a joining of our heart and will and desires with the heart and will and desires of the living God. Jesus uses the wind metaphor here to illustrate how the Spirit moves in us. It is not something we can calculate or predict through the use of a formula, nor is it something we can measure and record. Heck, we can’t even see it. But we feel it. We know it’s there.
You know what this is like, don’t you? You’ve been there. You’ve been in a situation before, and you had no idea why, but you felt as though you were being pulled in a direction, almost like an internal compass was showing you the way. Maybe it pointed you in a direction that forced you to go down roads you hoped never to go down (or go down again), but nevertheless the arrow pointed true. This is what being led by the Spirit is like. It is wild. It is unpredictable. And it is unbelievable.
I have found that I am most myself when I see Dominick the way God sees Dominick, and the only way that happens is when I close the door and open the Word, or take a walk, or pull out my journal, or dialogue with the Father throughout the course of my day. I guess the specifics of how aren’t quite as important as the intention behind it; it’s getting to know the heart of God, however that may look. And time in His presence yields a surprising result: we are transformed.
So today, slow yourself down a bit, enough that you can feel the wind blow; let it guide you, scary as it may be, wherever it will. It might not help you order dinner, but it will lead you to life.