Sunday, 24 August 2008

Recovering from ideas of God

When I was 15 I was convinced that God wanted me to leave school after I'd done my Standard Grades (like GCSEs in England) and start doing youth work (never mind that I was still a teenager myself!). This was basically my worst nightmare. I really liked school, was very good academically, and far too timid to work with troubled young people! I obsessed over it for ages, desperatly wanting not to do this, but feeling this immense pressure to leave what I liked and do something I hated for God. I finally changed my mind about doing this when an amazing woman came up to me randomly in a youth group meeting and told me that God had good plans for me, not plans to hurt me (see Jeremiah). I'm very grateful to her for being willing to faithfully tell me this when she had no reason to believe that its what I needed to hear.

This story, and a couple of others that I don't want to tell over the internet (privacy is a wonderful thing!) are representative of the idea of God that I'm still trying to fight, and I don't think I'm alone in this. Years of reading true christians stories about how people laid down all their ambitions to do something they never would have considered themselves have left a part of me still believing that what God wants for me is do the things that i want to do least. So although I don't like talking to strangers, I think God wants me to become some crazy street evangelist, and although I'm not very good at working with teenagers, that must be what God wants me to do because I would find it hard.

And I suppose this isn't entirely a lie, because the christian way is narrow, the gospel is full of challenges and (contrary to most 'megachurch' thought), no one ever said that walking in Jesus' way was easy. But through all those challenging things the bible says (love your enemies, give up your property so you can follow God, free the oppressed, bring about justice, live holy and pure lives), there is an infusion of love and grace and joy.

So right now I'm trying to teach myself that even though I've chosen a difficult life journey, that God wants GOOD things for me, not things that will hurt me.

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