Being a teacher, it delights me when a child asks for my permission to do something that is pleasing to me. For example, "Ms. Taylor, I'm finished with snack, can I clean the room?" Perhaps even more delightful is when a child already knows what pleases me, and just goes for it! Just last week, I sat down in my reading chair for story time, not realizing that I had forgotten my very important clipboard that goes with me everywhere. Immediately, a sweet child got up, walked over to my desk, and brought me the clipboard and a pen without me having to say a word. Now THAT is delightful! That is the sign of a child who knows me-- knows me so well, he didn't even have to ask what I needed. He knew my will, and he went for it!
I can only imagine that our Father is the same way with his children. Yes, he loves for us to consult him before making decisions. But I have to believe that His ultimate desire is for us to grow to know Him so well that we are constantly walking in His will without Him having to say a word.
I can't say that I'm at that point with Him yet. I long to have that level of obedience. I yearn to know Him so well, that I can confidently walk out His calling on my life without needing to spend countless nights in tears over what His "perfect" will for me is. But maybe walking out his good and perfect plan for my life doesn't begin with me. Maybe it begins with a pursuit of Him and an understanding of His will for all people, not just Hanna. Perhaps it is through the accomplishment of His will for all people that my life is aligned with the plan that He has for me. So instead of asking the question, "What is it that you desire for my life? What specifically would you have me do? Where would you have me serve? Who would you have me love?" I need to take a step back and remember the purpose of life.
What is the purpose of life, you ask? I think these verses put it nicely:
Ephesians 1: 5-12
He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us. For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him, according to the purpose of Him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.
Did you get all that? We serve a God Who's desire is to be glorified because of His grace. He is not interested in our begrudging obedience. He is glorified in the joyful praises of His people who have willingly submitted to Him because of his glorious grace. In order for all of heaven and earth to be united to Him, we as believers have been appointed to live for the sole purpose of praising Him and making Him famous. He is involving us in this action-packed story of redemption, not because He needs us, but because our gratefulness brings Him glory. We have been chosen to represent Him to those who do not know Him, and we should be so honored.
Let's take this back to the classroom.
It's every teacher's desire to have a room full of willingly obedient children. I get absolutely no satisfaction from having to dictate every minute of every school day and in turn cultivate a room full of begrudgingly obedient children who go CRAZY the moment I leave the room because they have not developed a true sense of joyful obedience. Contrarily, when I have cultivated the deep desire in my children to do the right thing, I can trust them with making their own decisions. Like the child I mentioned earlier who wanted to clean the classroom after snack-- Do I care if he cleans the tables or sweeps the floor? No! He's cleaning, and I'm so proud that he realizes the importance of cleanliness and desires to please his teacher! The boy that brought me my clipboard and a pen-- Do I tell him, "Well, son, I actually preferred to use the blue pen, not the black pen. Your life will not be as joyful as it would have been had you chosen the blue pen." No! His heart was in the right place and my will for a clipboard and pen was accomplished.
I'm preaching to myself here when I say that it's time to stop dissecting the calling on our lives. Why waste time trying to figure out precisely where, when, who, and how, when we have already been given the "what!" Fear is the reason for our hesitation. For me, it's the fear of not being perfectly aligned with God's will. What if God doesn't bless it? A precious friend of mine recently told me, "You shouldn't worry so much over the specifics of God's calling on your life. Sometimes you just have to go. If your heart is in the right place, God is going to bless it."Let's begin with having a good opinion of God, and stop assuming His approval of us is dependent on whether we choose to sweep the floor or clean the tables. He is happy with what accomplishes His will, whether it be the blue pen or the black.
May you be covered in His dust,