You know that friend you have, the one who is constantly reinventing herself? Every six to eight months, she breathlessly announces that she’s found a new direction, a new purpose, a new passion, and everything is going to be different now.
If she’s religious, she’ll say she’s finally learned to listen to what God wants for her life, and from this day forward, she’s dedicating her life to this new thing that is absolutely where she is supposed to be and what she is supposed to be doing.
That friend is probably wrong. Whether or not she is selling something, she is probably going to fail. How do I know? Because of that word “new.”
This isn’t just true for people who are prone to fads. I knew a woman who had an intensely rich interior life. She was very generous, but tended toward being withdrawn and insightful. But with the best intentions in mind, she would frequently announce a whole new approach to life, a radical reinvention of herself. I remember one time when she thought the Lord was calling her to be less negative and to say “yes” to literally everything. Even unreasonable requests from unreasonable people. I guess she thought that she was too closed-off and focused on self, and the way to remedy this was to be radically open.
That didn’t last long, nor should it have.
This is not to say that God never wants us to do something new. He wants this constantly, in fact. It’s terrible how much he wants it, and how radically. But it’s also true that what God wants from us is the development and perfection of what we already have. Or, more properly, he wants what we already are; and if we are looking to please him, that is where we should always start.
Here’s the crazy thing: God will even use the bad things that we already are to bring about good. I guess being without limit allows you to take the broad view, even of human beings.
Image: 木偶人1962, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons