Growing up, my family would have times of joint prayer. Dad’s prayers always ended with the request that God’s “blueprint plan” for our lives to be fulfilled. His prayers were honest, heartfelt and sincere. Dad was a builder. To think of God’s will in terms of a building plan must have felt familiar.
The subject of God’s will gets a lot of airtime in church. We have texts like Jeremiah 29:11 that states that God ‘knows the plans He has for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ With God being all-wise, of course you would want to know his plans! What better way to guarantee success and avoid failure or pain?
Add the image of God as Strict Taskmaster and we’d want to get it right to avoid punishment.
The search for God’s will becomes especially important when making crucial life decisions such as what line of work to follow or who to spend the rest of our lives with.
If we think of God’s will as a ‘blueprint’ plan, we may believe that there is only one right answer.
God’s will as a “blueprint” doesn’t leave us with a lot of freedom. We become puppets on a string, struggling to find our way in this ongoing guessing game. It feels restrictive, and can cause us to be rebellious and resentful towards God.
How can we view God’s will in a way that is inviting, liberating and engaging?
At the beginning of our collective story, we are created in God’s image.
Think about it: Who is God in this story? Creator.
As image-bearers tof God, we are invited to continue God’s work, to create.
Creativity speaks of freedom and of expression. Our lives are truly a gift, and we are invited to engage fully with it.
Can we exchange the image of a ‘blueprint’ plan for a brush, canvas and paint?
God invites us to paint our lives freely. We experiment, we fail, we succeed, and as we do we discover our inherent talents, passions and gifts.
Take the question of choosing what to do with your life again. In the ‘canvas’-image the question isn’t what is right or wrong for your life. We are free to choose either one. We are invited to discern how we can make God’s dream for our world visible. We are invited to reflect on questions like what is the motivation behind my decision? How will this help me to become fully me? How can I act in love?
We are invited to paint with wild brushstrokes,using our freedom to weave our colour into the tapestry of God’s story.
Will you pick up the paintbrush?
(Image from Flickr under Creative Commons License)