I responded by saying, “I bristle a bit when people say that.” Feeling that I may have been rather abrupt, I explained I didn't want to assume to know the answers to God-questions like that. She paused a moment and then said, "I understand that, but sometimes we just need to feel sure about these things.” I agree with my Aunt that we all have a need for direction. Fredrick Schmidt says, “We want some indication that we are doing the right thing with our lives, and we are more comfortable having a set of ‘marching orders,' a to-do list.”
This author goes on to say, “The complexity of our lives also lends urgency to that quest. We live increasingly unreflective lives, consuming minutes, hours, and days without savoring them. We rush from encounter to encounter without asking how those experiences might modify or challenge the way in which we live. And we move reactively through the events of a day, making incremental and unrelated decisions that shape our lives without our being aware of it. Then one day we find ourselves saying, “This is not the life I intended” (xvi).
Questions of choice and God’s sovereignty tumble over each other. Os Guinness warns that there is a danger of conceit in view of one’s uniqueness, and that we should “not confuse calling with guidance.” In our culture we are saturated with choice and change and that leads to real fragmentation.
“Asking God-questions ushers us into another way of being, a new way of seeing the world. As important as the I-questions might be, it is necessary to set them aside initially. If we focus on the I-questions, our search for the will of God becomes myopic and self-centered. God becomes enslaved to our needs, our program, our concerns, and our vision. What we think we can or should be doing is fashioned with little or no awareness of what God is doing in the world” (Schmidt, 27).
I think in many of my own efforts to be sure or comfortable with what I should be doing I have often missed the point. What is God doing in the world and how can I align myself with that? Where is God working? How can I get in on it? Schmidt recommends that we trust and embrace the God-questions so we can move forward with a hope and expectation that the needs of our lives will take shape and significance from something larger; from activity that is no longer focused on us alone, but an enterprise that involves and serves others---whatever that looks like.