As a young Christian I constantly felt under pressure to discover what ‘the will of God’ was for my life. This is not so different from what people call ‘finding your passion’: it’s learning about who you are and what you most want to get out of life. But when it’s framed as the will of God, you really don’t want to fuck it up.
Creating life goals is the work of years, and for me this wasn’t the problem. It was the tiny things that got me stressed out. Did I just hear God telling me to give money to that beggar? Or to go and speak to that stranger about Jesus?
Christians know themselves as the children of God. While this metaphor has its uses, when it is pushed too strongly—and it usually is—the overwhelming freedom of the human condition is sacrificed for something less. The freedom we then know is that of a child who cannot leave his mother. It feels safe, but it’s not real freedom. We prefer this, however, because we never have to become adults, which would mean deciding for ourselves.
We were made for more than infantile clinging to what we think the will of God might be. Fear was not meant to be a permanent feature of our lives.
It is not enough to choose from a set of pre-packaged Christian options. It is not enough to hear the voice of God and trot along, the ever-faithful servant. Freedom requires that saying ‘no’ to God, or to any power that claims authority over us, be a possibility that is so real it is a razor’s edge. When we hear a compelling call to do something that we know is not true to who we are, and can say ‘no’, only then can we call ourselves adults.