There are two types of people in this world.
The first, are those who can manage to calmly react on a whim and whip their car right where it needs to be when the GPS says “TURN LEFT, IN FIVE FEET.”
And then there’s the second type: Those who prefer to have all the directions well in advance and know ahead of time that they’ll be taking Exit 71A in 3.2 miles, followed by an immediate left turn and then a right in four blocks.
Without a doubt, I fall into the second category. But not only when at the wheel of my car. In life, I’m the type of person who struggles to act without having all the necessary information. I like having directions in full, knowing exactly where I’m headed, so to speak. In high school, then in college, and even now, from time to time, I find myself wishing God would give me somewhat of a treasure map. If only He’d show me exactly what to do, step-by-step, to lead me to the X that marks the spot where I’m supposed to be.
Where am I going? What am I supposed to be doing now? What’s next?
Living from this category-two perspective, I was struck with simplicity when I received a fresh perspective on a familiar verse. I was listening to a sermon by Erwin McManus a few weeks ago, when he addressed the question we all ask ourselves at some point: What is God’s will for my life? He called me out, reminding me what I already knew to be true: I tend to overcomplicate things. He then proposed this loose guide to living out our purpose:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
While this verse is talking about our thoughts, we can predict that our thoughts will then determine our actions, since every act begins as a single thought. Erwin explained that so often we become afraid of doing the “wrong good thing.” But with this verse, we’re given a vast array of approval when it comes to thinking and doing. He encouraged us to just pick a good thing and do it! We can tend to picture God’s will being like a tightrope, like there’s only one thin strip of possibility for us to squeeze tiny steps on as we move forward. But in reality, with God, our creativity and imagination expands. We are not limited; we are limitless!
Each one of us has been gifted with a unique combination of passions, gifts, connections, and opportunities. The danger comes in waiting around for all the details on the “one good thing” we imagine God has for us, that we sit around and end up doing no good thing. Creativity and freedom are gifts from God. He doesn’t want to put us in a box. He delights in us as we seek to reflect Him in every good thing we do.
So let’s do whatever it is that God has put in our hearts to do. What are those passions, gifts, connections, and opportunities He’s given you? When we look around, we see there are a million different ways to reflect the good of who God is. So what’s your good thing today?
Is it true? honorable? just? pure? lovely? commendable? excellent? worthy of praise? So what are you waiting for? Don’t just think about it – let’s do it!