At its core, this decision is about following God's call on my life or not following God's call. The framing of this in either/or terms should not imply that I fail to see the good in each path. Nor should my framing it this way, imply that the Divine will not continue to lure me and continue to offer ways that I can heed my call regardless of my choice. We continually co-create with God. My response will influence God's next move. Together we will create the form of my journey. God does not know what I will choose. That is the nature of free will.
Enough of that theological mumbo jumbo...
One of the paths offers many things valued by our culture: financial security, routine. This path is limiting on my time and may restrict my ability to follow the Spirit as I move toward this new thing God is using me to create. The other offers the flexibility to be open, it offers the opportunity for me to trust that God will provide what I need when I need it. In other words, there is no fiscal security and no routine. There is only trust in God.
So, you can see the challenge for me. So, I did what any clergyperson should do, I asked for prayers on Facebook. I also spoke to my wife and my son seeking their insight. And I prayed myself. Truth be told a few hours after I asked for prayers on Facebook, I was getting a pretty strong message about the better choice. Still, I wasn't convinced. Sometimes I want a dramatic sign. Frankly, I don't know why God doesn't just send me an email.
A Revelatory Baptism in the Shower
As I was showering this morning, my mind wandered to scripture, or perhaps it was gently nudged to scripture by the Spirit. The scripture that came to mind was Exodus 16, the story in which the Israelites whine to Aaron and Moses that they are hungry. They whine that they should've never left Egypt and blame their leaders. Moses reminds them that they are really whining to God. God responds by providing them with manna. The manna comes with specific instructions: "each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day" (Exodus 16:4b NRSV). Those who gathered more than a day's worth found their leftover manna rotting and infested with worms.
In response to my revelation in the shower, I read my Bible, burned incense, listened to music, meditated, and prayed.
The message is clear. The path on which I am called is the riskier one. It is the one deemed foolish by American cultural standards. The path that beckons me is the one that provides enough for today but leaves me dependent again tomorrow. The path I choose to take is the one that scares me the most and is hardest to take. Yet, I know God will provide manna. Jesus will walk with me. The Spirit will dance up ahead pointing out the things I should see.
Creator God of Risk Taking,
Why do I resist you? Why do I give my culture more power than you? Why is it so hard for me to trust you? For today, help me to hear, heed, and celebrate the journey you desire for me.