I grew up with the idea that I could only be happy if I found “God’s will.” People do weird things because they think they are doing God’s will. I once met a man who told me God spoke to him about starting a fishing business in the Caribbean, and it so happened that he was from Minnesota, didn’t like the cold, and loved fishing. And it sure seemed to me that he blamed God for what he was doing, when perhaps he was calling the shots himself. (And from the look in his wife’s eyes, she agreed with me.) Still, leaving aside such examples, there’s something to focusing our attentive heart on God so that we can learn of God and listen to God and discern what God created us to do in this world.
This may be the most important thing we can learn about God’s will:
God’s will …
and what you dream about in your deepest dreams
line up so well,
you can usually chase your dreams
and you will more often than not
find God’s will.
There is a reason why so many people quote Frederick Buechner’s famous line about God’s will, because it tells a deep truth. Buechner said God’s will is this: “The place where God calls you is where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger.”[i] This beautifully combines the kingdom dream of Jesus and your own personal dream—find that place and do that. Another wise thinker about finding a life that matters is Parker Palmer, who borrowed an old Quaker idea when he said that we find a life that matters when “we let our life speak.”[ii]If you keep your eye on the kingdom of God, if you keep in mind that deeply personal nature of all you do, then you can pursue that place where your deepest gladness and the world’s deepest needs meet, and in that place your life will speak. You are asked merely to discern the intersection of what God is doing—kingdom of God—and what you are asked to do in what God’s doing.
[i] F. Buechner, Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith (SanFrancisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), 405.
[ii] Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999).