Have you every prayed any of the following:
- God, what is your will for my life?
- What job do you have for me?
- Where do you want me to live?
- Who do you want me to marry?
Have you ever said something like:
- I’m looking for my calling.
- I’m trying to figure out my dreams and passions.
- I want to make a difference in the world, and live for something bigger.
At first glance, those bullet points look like good things. It seems like each prayer is about God and God’s will, and the second list is about utilizing the gifts and abilities that he’s given us for other people.
But, for me, there’s a deeper motive in each of those prayers and desires – something slightly less holy and good.
If I prayed honestly, my prayers would sound more like this:
- God there is a lot of different options out there, could you figure it out for me? I would prefer a calling that is glorious – one that makes me better than other people. Here are a few ideas: celebrity, rich businessman, brilliant person, NY Times Best Selling Author, etc…
- God, what job will I find fulfilling, purposeful, and exciting? What job will give my life meaning and make me important?
- God, I want to live in a sweet place – please let your will include a beach house and a boat!
- God, I have a few ideas about a spouse – highly attractive, good at the thing Christians don’t talk about in public, and someone who will serve me! Can you find her?
Ouch! All of a sudden, my super spiritual “all about God” prayers begin to look a little more selfish. They end up being less about God, and more about living a fulfilled and meaningful life. It’s more about my happiness, than God’s will. These prayers are the antithesis of John Piper’s famous quote: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” I just want to be satisfied.
I think I’ve gone too far with the idea of “calling.” Since beginning college in 2005, I have been looking for the “thing” – the job that I am perfectly designed to complete. The calling that God preordained for me before the world was created. I guess I just want to be significant. What about you? Do you want your life to mean something?
I noticed my selfishness yesterday, when I was writing down a list of the things I want to accomplish with my life – my goals. I had a list of career goals, personal goals, influence goals, and monetary goals – all good things in one way or another. But then I realized something – I was being selfish.
In three short months, I will celebrate six years of marriage. In five months, I will have a third child. I have been blessed with and I’m responsible for a wife, two boys, and another baby on the way. And yet never, in the past six years have I made a list of the things I want them to accomplish. I have never sat down and thought through the goals I have for my wife or my kids. Instead, my list is always about me and my career.
Now before you think I am completely selfish, let me remove all doubt – I have asked my wife where she wants to live – I just haven’t had the patience to wait for her to answer. I’ve asked her what she wants to do with her life, but then I keep going – steamrolling my family with my own desire for meaning and purpose.
So yesterday I had to do something that hurt – I had to sit down with my wife and apologize to her for always seeking my own desires. I apologized for always thinking through my goals, and yet never spending time on hers.
It hurt, but for the first time I began to realize that “calling” is about so much more than me.
To be continued on Wednesday…
Do you agree? Comment below to begin the conversation…