In living the Life of the Spirit we give up the need for control, the selfish desires that rule our lives, the right to call the shots, and much more. We live in the present, with what we are given now to do, with God calling the plays. You could call God the Great Coach. He’ll train us up, give us the plays that we are ready for, and continually supply the direction and encouragement and correction we need.
We are on a need-to-know basis with God. Everything will be supplied, hinted at, challenged from us, supported in us, as it is needed. We live in faith and trust that God will take care of us. Period. That is the whole of our lives in God.
This is a sea change from the lives that our culture promotes. There, anxiety and stress are our companions as we try mightily to produce the kind of lives the culture points us to, whether they are right for us or not. They are certainly right for the companies that benefit from our overspending and consumption. But are they right for me? For us?
Let’s stop and think about this for a while. Accumulation, wealth, two-career families, large homes, making lots of money, taking grand vacations while staying in touch on the phone and computer. Everything seems to revolve around having enough money. “I can’t be at peace until I get the right kind of job.” “I need the latest and greatest to function well.” “I can’t wait until I can do this.” “I’ll be happy when I get where I want to be.”
Everything in the cultural paradigm is contingent on having the “right stuff,” living in the right neighborhood, taking the right vacations, postponing living until some point in the future when everything is supposed to be perfect. Everything points to having enough money, but there’s never enough. I read an article a few years back about the new millionaire entrepreneurs in Silicone Valley. After selling their start-ups for $10-20 million they felt like they had to prove themselves all over again. And for those with $100,000,000 they were looking at the billionaires. It is never enough!
The cultural paradigm counts on greed and envy, distracts from any real purpose in living and keeps us occupied for years. But does the cultural paradigm fit me? Will I be happy, feel fulfilled if I have all the money in the world? If I have worked hard for years and the dreams keep getting bigger and better, will I ever be off the hook? Will I ever be satisfied? Will I ever be able to relax, to feel free to pursue what would really satisfy me? Will I be able to get off the treadmill and do something meaningful, even if it means that I live a scaled-down life with fewer material things?
I’ve learned a few things in all my years. One: relationships matter more than things. Two: that I have too much stuff. Three: God is the one area in my life where I want much more.
If I give God my attention and devotion and care and love, then I am living in the arms of the One who would take care of me, meet all my needs and accompany me on this adventure called life. I don’t need a lot of stuff—although I can’t live with out my laptop; I travel pretty lightly these days. I do need companions on the way, close family and friends, and fellow-travelers in this Life of the Spirit. I need to write, to do spiritual direction with folks. I need to lead small groups and retreats in spiritual issues and practices. I need bits of travel. I need bird-watching time. I need to be with my family, far-flung as we are. I need to see old friends and new.
Beyond this and with this God directs my every move. And I am on a need-to-know basis with him. And I count on him to be with me while I am engrossed in doing direction or seeing family and friends. I don’t have to worry about what or why or how or when. All that is given. I can relax and live the life I’ve been given. My life has its pains and aches and joys, but mostly it is filled with adventure. That’s the best part of not knowing what’s next. I am excited to see what God comes up with next! But I am willing to wait until I have a need to know.
Questions to ponder over the week: How would I characterize my relationship with God? How aware am I of the connections between me and God? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest priority, how important is that relationship to me? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how much do I trust God in my life? Using the same scale how much do I live in anxiety?
Check out these features this week at bythewaters.net: “Recently God Healed Something In Me” on the home page and “How are we connected to God,” a short talk, on the Meditations page.