1 Corinthians 10:23 says “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”
As I stand on the cusp of stepping into full on adulthood (as ever as the latest of bloomers), a plunge I’ve been considering a great deal as of late, I’ve been finding myself asking a great many questions. At the crux of the two has been a related decision I’ve been pondering, which is whether or not I want to do a DTS before I begin plugging Machine (again) in (greater) earnest/really chase after this writing thing or, since I know writing is the thing I’m meant to do, if I should just be doing that right now instead. In essence, if I see the DTS as what I would consider for me in this moment “chasing after God,” and writing is what I feel my purpose is, what is the tension between the two? How can we always be at Jesus’ feet when we also have been tasked with our own purposes, works, places?
I suspect there is a certain capacity, mind- or heartset that allows us to do both at once, or at least allows for a better balance. Whatever that answer might be however, I haven’t found it yet.
Nor have I officially come to my decision, though I think I know what I want to do.
In any case, in searching for my answers, in increasing frustrations over my lack of discipline, in increasing awe at what others around me are accomplishing at significantly younger ages through simple focus, and as ever, in trying to figure out how the heck to actually practically live life, I’ve been developing a few strategies.
So here’s what’s hard for me. I, probably like at least some if not many Christians, don’t always know what God is saying or, more commonly with me, how he’s saying it. At any given time I have story concepts, musical songs, prayer, my own feelings, thoughts, heck, I’ll even admit I sometimes have entire rehearsing conversations running (sometimes in varied repeat if I’m nervous, which is rather dumb since they pretty much never actually go according to plan) in my head all at once. So in all of that, and trying to quiet those noises to hear God, how do I know what’s really Him? I’ve had what I might call prophetic dreams before, but no more prophetic than to cause deja vu when whatever it is happens, scattered images that don’t really make sense until they smash together in life. I don’t think it’s ever been particularly helpful in steering any of my life choices at any rate, nor can I ever recall hearing much for the audible voice of God. It seems I’m led more by picture, by sentiment, subtle shifts in understanding or thought, intuition. On the other hand, for you ladies (and men) out there, let’s get real, most of us have that last one, right? So how do I know that it’s Him?
I guess I don’t always know. For now I just kinda follow and hope that I’m doing okay. It’s worked out pretty well so far, and though I’ve made tough decisions I know I couldn’t have made on my own (probably an indication it’s working), on the whole every one of those has led to amazing things.
And in the meantime
So, as any long or even short time reader of this blog knows, there’s always the meaty part of the post, where I get to what I actually wanted to talk about after my long-winded roundabout path to get there, which, if you’re a new reader and this is your first post, is almost now.
Recently I had a conversation where I talked with a friend about my next steps and a few of my last ones, and our conversation came down to the verse above. Basically, if I wanted to, I could continue to dance all the time, play video games, watch netflix, etc., etc., because I have the freedom to do that. On the other hand, as our dear friend Paul pointed out, doing those things, while not necessarily bad, is not necessarily good, either.
And that’s where I am right now. There’s an excessive amount of time I’ve wasted on primarily useless or, perhaps a better term might be neutral things: endless scrolling on social media, countless cat videos, personality quizzes. Now I’m not trying to bash any of those things in themselves, each one can in moderation certainly have it’s own use (to say nothing of dancing, video games and netflix, which I would also argue have great value in balanced amounts), but I was spending so much time on those things that they were no longer being beneficial, but instead a drain on my time. I would get so frustrated that I wasn’t getting enough work done on my books, wasn’t reading, praying, or *insert valuable use of time* enough, but then would spend hours of time glazing over on the boundless fields of the web.
But, if even Facebook couldn’t help me, I was left with the question, what could? What qualifies something as beneficial? What is the path I’m to take, and how do I know it’s God’s will?
(This is the meat part.)
Answer, like a shot out of the blue, do the things that draw you closer to God.
Now, I know that sounds kind of stupid, but for me, it was a huge moment. So often I get frustrated because I feel like I don’t know His voice or don’t know what to do next, but this is a relationship, so if I want to get to know Him better or know His voice, the obvious solution is to spend time with Him.
By gauging the things I choose to do against the question “Does this bring me closer to God?” I’m finding the places I spend my time changing, and my satisfaction with the way my time is spent growing. For example, I know that experiencing good story and learning the craft of storytelling brings me closer to God, so I find myself reading and writing more often and being more careful of what I watch (and how often). I know spending time in community brings me closer to God, so I seek deeper relationships. I see God in singing to the radio and turn up my jams.
Pretty much anyone who knows me will tell you I make things hard. I complicate simple concepts and tasks and over analyze almost everything. By taking this new approach to making decisions, I’ve actually found life easier, especially on a practical level (which I always need), and the rewards have been AWESOME. I am also hoping to translate this “is it beneficial” rule to what I eat soon and to how often I exercise, but hey, one step at a time.
Anyway, meaty part over. Bless you if you made it this far, and even for those who didn’t.
(P.S. If you have any related stories, tips or testimonies to share, please feel free to share them below!)