My youngest step-daughter and I were riding in the car one day to school. She mentioned wanting to go by the store. I asked her what she needed and she went into a long story about this magnificent gadget in her classroom. This gadget was a sort of track for a marble to travel through. It would go so fast and run into different obstacles. It even did a full loop on this track.
This was the most special of all things in the classroom. If you were fast enough you would get to be the first to drop the marble down the course. Her thought was if there were more marbles to play with, then there wouldn’t be any need to be the fastest kid in the class.
I told her we would wait to ask her teacher and make sure it was ok. She was not happy with my answer. “We need these marbles. My class just doesn’t have enough,” she replied with puppy eyes.
I explained that there may only be one marble for a reason. “There is not. Teachers don’t make much money, Stephanie, let’s do something nice,” she said with her hands clenched together.
Again, I told her we should ask her teacher.
“I think God wants me to get marbles for my class,” she offered.
I laughed a little and then stopped. How often had I repeated this same behavior as an adult. I could see the justification and rationalization in me as clearly as I had seen it in this 7 year old. My heart was convicted.
I recounted various purchases, life choices, and mistakes that had started with I want, progressed to “charity”, and then went all the way to divine direction. I was guilty of the same thing. Trust me, it’s a lot less adorable when you are 30. I could convince myself of anything I WANTED to.
How many decisions had I made based solely on self will? How many of these choices had I twisted into sounding like God’s will? I believe God’s most obvious plan for me and my life is to be of service to other people.
I’m not saying that I shouldn’t treat myself or spoil the kids sometimes or even do something a little selfish. What I am saying is that it shouldn’t progress to the belief that it is God’s will.
I don’t know about you, but when I pray for discernment, I do not suddenly hear God telling me what to do. I do, however, feel His nudges and certainly get gut feelings. God usually doesn’t nudge me to buy the new dress or encourage me to eat another piece of cake. Those things are usually all me.
I received the advice to view God’s will as a process and not a program. A process approach to fulfilling God’s will has led me to have an actual relationship with God. There is a dialogue, there is meditation, there is an exchange. It takes willingness and effort.
Revelation 3:20 says: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me
If I want to know God’s will for me, I must first know God. To know God, I have to get to know Him. That requires a relationship with my God.
Sadly, my step-daughter did not receive a bag of marbles for her “class”. Not another word was mentioned about it and I believe not another thought came of the issue either. I guess she either got faster or got bored.
Someone gave me a marble after a sermon one time. He told me to keep it in my wallet to remind me to do something significant for someone else. He explained to me that I used my wallet everyday and everyday I opened it and I would have to look at that marble.
When I think of the two scenarios it all comes full circle. God’s true will for me is to serve other people. He wants me to love others. I can rationalize all sorts of self centered things and usually these things cost me. But I will have to open that wallet and that marble will be looking back at me.