If someone were to ask me to find the sun, I would immediately look to the sky. But this puddle reminds me that the sun can also be found in unexpected places, such as in the puddle’s reflection. When we are searching for something, how often do we only look in the usual, expected places? The same idea may apply when we are seeking answers or guidance. How often do we only choose from the most obvious or logical options while ignoring a subtler but perhaps better choice?
Earlier this week Jim and I were discussing our discernment and God’s call on our lives. I remembered a few years ago when we were visiting our daughter Jennie and her family in Teays Valley, WV. As we drove around the area, both Jim and I verbally agreed that “it was a nice place, but we wouldn’t want to live here.”
We moved to the Teays Valley area just over a year later!
We were amused to notice that several times our calls seemed to extend directly from our words, “I would never…” or “I wouldn’t want to…” such as our move to West Virginia. We laughed as we recalled those instances in our lives when we ended up doing what we least expected- especially after declaring that we would NOT want to do that very thing!
Certainly I do not have all the answers about discerning God’s will or call in our lives. Sometimes I believe that God has a specific plan in mind for each of us, and if we remain open to the Spirit- listening and watching for God’s movement- God will guide us to the right places. Other times I believe that God’s will for all of us is simply to love and serve God and our neighbor, and we can do that in any number of ways.
But maybe there are those times when the God who calls us is the God who changes our direction and invites us to discover new, subtle, surprising and unexpected places- those possibilities we think we’d rather not explore. I wonder how often I have ignored a call from God; never entertaining the idea because “I would never…” What have I missed because I was unwilling to think or dream in new ways?
What if in this moment one of our “nevers” is actually an invitation from God? How would our lives change if we stopped claiming our “nevers” and began asking God, “What possibilities do YOU have in mind?” Just for today, let’s name one “I would never…” and place that as an offering before God. Let’s give God the freedom to choose what we are to do. Allowing God to lead us into our ‘wrong’ places, we will discover that they are actually our best possibilities, for they become the perfect settings for God to keep perfecting us.