May I recommend a book?
I just finished Psychotic Intertia: A Book About Calling and Confusion, written by a friend and long-time teacher on the subject, Patrick Dodson. In the book Patrick talks about how our view of God affects how we view our futures and our roles in determining those futures. He unravels how our fear, laziness and selfishness distort our view of God, turn him into a command-and-control general, while God wants to be a father and coach, coming alongside of us as we discover our identity and walk out our calling.
This book (along with Patrick’s other materials on the subject) got me really excited. Here are a few things that have been sticking with me so far.
God is a good father now. Usually when I think of God as Father, I put myself into the picture as an infant, with very little ability to think or act for myself. As I picture God’s family, all of us children are waiting for our Father to give us food and tell us what to do. While reading Psychotic Interia, it hit me that as I’ve become an adult, God is still my Father, and relates to me in my current stage of life. As Patrick points out, it’d just be weird for a grown man to call up his dad and say, “I’ve done that last thing you wanted me to do. What should I do next?” Instead, God’s letting me take greater responsibility, validating my identity and ideas, and coaching me along the lines of HOW I do what I do.
“Honestly, if we looked at the ways we think God wants to lead us and measured that against what we understand as good parenting, He’d look like a control-freak…”
Everything matters. Something I’ve been learning over the past couple years is that God doesn’t have a one-track mind (ie. saving souls). Our identity and things we’re passionate about matter. God loves the art itself, not just the message it tells. The business is a good thing, not just because of where the tithes go. Sports are God-breathed pursuits, not just as “evangelism tools.” As my wife and I have processed about our identities, the things we love to do and want to pursue, it’s been freeing to realize that God is concerned with more than a “bottom-line.”
Anointing and influence take a long time. As I mentioned in my last post, developing a craft takes a lot of hard work. I think I always used to think that when you have a gift or “anointing”, it’s an instant thing (and that Jesus is coming back any day now, so why invest 20 years in becoming great at anything). Patrick lays out a map for discovering studying to develop your skills, apprenticing in your craft, producing, then multiplying yourself. Only a 30-40 year process! This helped me get a dose of reality and encourage me to continue developing my skills at this stage in my life.
Nearly three years ago my wife’s and my view of God was forever altered. Faced the choice of getting married or not, we each looked for the final OK from God. Would this relationship work out? Would it “be blessed” if she wasn’t the “right one”? Anna had pinned God up against a wall to get an answer. Finally, she realized that he had been telling her to decide. We realized at that time that God would be with us to coach us through our marriage, but he wasn’t going to commit for us. It was our choice to make, this marriage was our responsibility.
If you’ve been paralyzed or burned out by looking for “God’s perfect will for your life”, or have dreams that you figure God would never be interested in (unless they’re put “on the altar”), then Psychotic Inertia might be a life-changing read for you.
PS, you can purchase the book here with free international shipping!