Wondering Wednesdays – guidance yesterday and today

Blackberry Oct 2010 1423

Alice is walking about in Wonderland.  Enchanted, she goes from one discovery to another. She comes upon a crossroads. She stops and wonders which path to take.  She doesn’t know what to do. Suddenly she notices a hare.  She runs to meet him and says,

“I have come to a crossroads; could you tell me which path I should take?”

The hare asks her “Where do you want to go?”

Shrugging her shoulders, Alice replies, “I don’t know!”

“Well then, young lady,” answers the hare, “You may take either path.”

(Inspired by the story Alice in Wonderland Monbourquette 2003:120)

I grew up as a young Christian not understanding that I had a choice and believing that I had to find out exactly what God wanted me to do and when I did I probably wouldn’t like it very much!  I was introduced to the four spiritual laws one of which was that God loved me and had had a wonderful plan for my life.  This somehow became the idea of a plan A and it was my job to find the plan A and if I did something silly or missed it I would then be on plan B etc!

It took me quite a while to move beyond something which made me feel a bit like a Thunderbirds puppet where someone else pulled my strings.   Now I believe, as in the story above, that there are a range of possibilities open to me and I do have the freedom to choose what to pursue.  However, within that I find it useful to have some discernment criteria as I want to have something to help me decide which path I will take!  These are some of them:

  • Is it in harmony with our understanding of the Bible?
  • Is it coherent with our values?
  • Does it build the Kingdom of God?
  • Do I have an inner peace beyond ‘if it feels good do it!’?
  • Do I sense the witness of the Holy Spirit?
  • Will it bring life?
  • Can I do this with integrity?
  • Is it in line with my personal and/or professional ethics?
  • Am I willing to be accountable over this?
  • Have I discussed this with others or brought it to my community? Why? Why not?

I have as much passion now as I did as a teenaged new Christian to follow God but it is now framed differently and is more about being loving, living out my biblically shaped values, making choices which bring life and liberty to others as well as me…rather than living with a fear that I have missed the right path or lost the plot and that God is disappointed with me.

Reference

Jean Mounbourquette How to discover your personal mission.  London:  DLT, 2003.

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4 thoughts on “Wondering Wednesdays – guidance yesterday and today

  1. Thank you so much for this, I ‘took’ it with me on my quiet hour walk and found a release I hadn’t even acknowledged I needed. Walking along a different path to my usual one, I felt a sense of relief at not needing to worry about the path. I was then able to enjoy the freedom of my walk, with time to enjoy all that God was unfolding – the robin in the tree, a woodpecker calling and a spider’s web glistening in the hedge. When I was slightly disorientated, I heard the shouts from the local school playtime, guiding me. Your blog helped me realise that, within the markers of discernment as a guide, the freedom I have in Christ is to enjoy the journey, not worry about the path! Thank you

  2. Excellent stuff – thanks.

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  3. Thank-you Sally, just the discussion I had with a friend this morning that came out of her home group, and when I came home this was tucked in my in box ready to forward on to her to use…. Perfect. Also resonated with my Christian journey too.

  4. The sense of following a certain path is something I used to believe to be biblical but that through CYM I was encouraged to reflect upon and my understanding of ‘God’s plan’ for my life changed dramatically. The verse Jeremiah 29:11 has always been important to me, but I think I totally misunderstood what God meant when it says, “I alone know the plans I have for you…” Going on to read the rest of the verse fits totally in with what you shared but maybe partly from school or culture in general we have an inbuilt sense of there has to be a right and a wrong way…not that different paths can take us to the same place.

    I remember my deep frustration (and sadness) when on placement there was a lady in her 50’s who had not worked for over 20yrs. She had some very strong Christian beliefs, one of which was that God would show her the path she was to take. 20 years on she was still waiting for him to tell her that path. I sometimes wonder where she is today. Her life taught me a powerful lesson though, a lesson that it was more about living a life honoring to God; a life of worship, than waiting to be shown the ‘right’ path to take. That said, she did also teach me to listen to God, something I know that at times I do not do nearly enough of. I think your point about “Do I have an inner peace beyond ‘if it feels good do it!’?” is a very powerful and true statement of the life that God wants us to live.

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