Sometimes I really don’t know what I ought to be doing.
My obvious priority is my family…but that doesn’t always help me with the specifics.
I am a stay at home mom, and I invest a lot in my family—but there is never a shortage of more or different that I could (and maybe should) be doing.
I am a pastor’s wife—and though my husband communicates nothing but gratitude, contentment, and praise for the home I make for him, and the good things I bring to the ministry—each day offers a fresh challenge to love him better and to serve those that God has given us with more generosity and excellence.
And when it comes to reaching out beyond my church and immediate family, there is an overwhelming amount of need nearly everywhere I look—in my extended family, among my friends, in my neighborhood, and in the abundance of valid causes and ministries around the world.
It’s hard to know where to start. I have to pick something, but that means excluding all or most of the other things.
On the other hand, if I never choose a course or goal, my desire to be more for my God and for those he so dearly loves will amount to nothing. I will stagnate, and never become who I could be.
How on earth do I decide what (or who) to pour myself into, what to focus on, where to invest, how to love and serve?
The obvious answer is to listen to God and do what he leads me to do. But what does that mean, really?
Yes, God speaks to me, and he guides me. Of this I am convinced. But I wonder if maybe we don’t use the phrase “I feel/don’t feel that God is leading me to…” so loosely that it has very little practical meaning. By what criteria do I decide that God is leading me in one direction over another?
And what if I don’t feel especially led? I don’t want to be un-spiritual and ‘get ahead of God’ (am I really that fast?) by jumping into something that he didn’t intend for me to do, right?.
That kind of thinking has its own set of troubles though.
If I don’t experience some strong, supernatural impression that I ought to support a specific missionary, befriend a particular neighbor, implement a certain parenting strategy, bless my husband in a specific way, or get involved in a particular ministry in my church…is it right to just maintain status quo while opportunities pass me by?
Trying to sort all this out can leave my mind in such a muddled mess—not wanting to camp out in my comfort zone indefinitely, but lacking the confidence to move.
Fortunately, something I read in Exodus this week reminded me that God may not always be terribly interested in micro-managing my good works.
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution. “This is the contribution which you are to raise from them…” Exodus 25:1-3
He goes on to list the materials needed for the construction of the tabernacle.
Basically, it sounds to me like God is saying, I’m going to come and live among you. I’d like you to build my house. If any of you are genuinely excited about being a part of that, please contribute what you would like from what you have. Here’s what we’ll need…
Perhaps God presents each of us with a similar opportunity every day. I want you to partner with me to build my kingdom. If you’re genuinely excited about that, look around, see the needs, and give of yourself and your resources in the ways that seem good to you.
Of course, I still need to walk closely with God, and learn to recognize his voice. He gave pretty explicit instructions for the construction and function of the tabernacle. He gifted and appointed certain individuals for certain tasks. I too need to be ready to obey him when he gives me specific direction.
God also prevented Paul from going to Asia (Acts 16). I need to expect that he may halt me or redirect me at times—even if I’m seeking to do a good thing.
But otherwise, I think the ball may kinda be in my court.
This is a bit of a double-edged sword.
It frees me to partner with God in building his kingdom in a way that is exciting and motivating to me—simply because I have the means and opportunity to do so.
However, it also does away with a few convenient excuses…