Conversations with God

6 03 2011

I learned early that listening for “God’s call” was an important thing for me to do. I just didn’t know what I was listening for. I didn’t know how I was supposed to listen. And, if truth were told, sometimes, I still don’t know…I’m still learning. I also heard the phrase God’s call used interchangeably with God’s will…so it made sense that God’s call is God’s will for our lives, right? I came to believe that I needed to find that one purpose God had for my life.

We live life, using words to describe our experiences along the way. So when we use the phrase God’s will or God’s call what are we really trying to describe? What experience are we trying to understand…to communicate? Over time, through listening and through my experiences, I’ve come to believe that God is not a God who plays hide and seek. God does not hide from us what God wants from us…I don’t believe God is playing a game. I believe God’s will for us…what God wants from us…is our love – for us to love God with all our heart, with all of our soul, and with all of our might. God wants a relationship with us. And if this is God’s will for us…then our call is not just one special task God has for us (that we have to find) – our call is wide open. For me God’s call is the conversations we have with God about who we are…about who God is…about the gifts given to us…about our desire for God and God’s desires for us…about how we are loved and about how we love. It becomes a matter of discovering and exploring the gifts God has given us, and then the willingness to hone these gifts and risk the use of them. It can be a scary thing when you start naming what’s on the inside out loud – things may start to move. And with the presence of this risk, too many times I have gravitated back to what seems safe…what seems solid. My grip tightens, afraid of loosing what, in reality, is of no value to me or to my journey. I want to return to being…just comfortable.

But God wants more for us…from us. God wants to dialogue – Spirit to spirit…creating a relationship of wholeness that involves listening, talking, struggling, questioning, discerning, committing, dreaming, attending to, waiting for, moving toward, co-creating with, and so much more. And in good, soul-connecting conversations there is a paying attention to God’s grace and love flowing through us. The grace – the good news – is that the Conversation is already within us…it’s happening…it’s in our imaginations…in our dreams…in our experiences…in our hopes and desires…in our relationships. The invitation for God-conversations is a daily event.

Some conversations with God, though, take place over a long period time (even though we would like a shorter talk). Some God-conversations begin with an unsettledness within. This unsettledness – this change – is an invitation to start paying attention to God’s movement more diligently…with heighten awareness of those experiences (some seemingly insignificant) that give insight, clarity, courage, and a sense of God’s assurance.

And then, like in any conversation, there are times when clarity is lacking…when there is silence…when attention wanders. There have been times when I thought my eyes were wide open, but I couldn’t see a thing. There have been times when I was without sight…waiting in the dark…all I wanted was just a little light. There have been times when I have asked, “Who are you, God?” There have been times when my concepts of God have been challenged, leaving me to wonder if it was God I was hearing or the voice of my own desires…sometimes wondering if God was there at all. I felt abandoned. There have been many times when I could not understand God – when I didn’t know what God was calling me toward. I was frustrated – “How long is this particular conversation with God going to take? Forever? Is God teasing me?”

So if call is really about staying in a relationship with God – having conversation after conversation – it is not a “one-and-done” event. Call is ongoing…it’s active and open – at least on God’s part. It’s all about orienting ourselves toward God…daily. It’s about listening and discerning… daily; about being open and aware…daily; about imagining and dreaming…daily; about asking, “Who are you, God?”…daily; about asking, “Who am I?”…daily; about trusting and exploring…daily; about mustering faith and picking up courage…daily. It’s about welcoming the darkness –although hard – when it comes. It’s about sitting with others in their darkness. It’s about “holding things lightly.” It’s about letting God love us. It’s about giving ourselves to what is most important in our daily living – conversation with God where we know the deep love of God for us and where we can return that love. God’s conversation with us has always been…it always will be – that’s the adventure in being on the Way.

 

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