NEEDING TO KNOW THE FUTURE
I am enjoying Kevin DeYoung's book, Just Do Something. The subtitle is A Liberating Approach To Finding God's Will Or How To Make A Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc.
The subtitle is pretty self explanatory. If you've ever felt paralyzed with indecision or felt the need to constantly second guess yourself or if you can't seem to make decisions until you know exactly how it will all play out, this book is a liberating read. I've only read the first 4 chapters, but so far I am very impressed. He suggests five reasons for our obsession with knowing the future before we make decisions.
- We want to please God
- Some of us are timid
- We want perfect fulfillment
- We have too many choices
- We are Cowards
PUFFED UP ON MEDIOCRITY
I sometimes agonize over my decisions. I think this is because I selfishly want the best and most fulfilling life possible. Ironically, a life of paralyzing fear and indecision is pretty far from heaven on earth. DeYoung's assessment about my generation in particular I found very interesting.
Some of this is a generational thing. After all, my peers and I were among the first ones to experience grade inflation, where we got A's for excavation our feelings and "doing our best" at calculus. We were among the first to be programmed for self-esteem, as we learned that having a pulse made us wonderfully special...We've been stuffed full of praise for mediocrity and had our foibles diagnosed away with hyphenated jargon and pop psychology. It's no wonder we expect people to affirm us for everything, criticize us for nothing, and pay us for anything we want to do...We want it all--all we need is for God to show us the way. (p. 30)
THE WEIGHTINESS OF THE INCONSEQUENTIAL
If we are so puffed up, why isn't my generation confident in decision making? We tend to float through life without committing to anything permanent. We want to keep all our options open. The transition to adulthood and all it's responsibilities is almost despised or looked down upon by peers. Being free and young is the ultimate achievement. It reminds me of a Lululemon bag I saw that said something to the effect of "Enjoy every experience. It may be the meaning of life." This does put a lot of pressure on a person. If you make the wrong choice and miss out on certain experiences, you may miss out on the whole meaning of your life!
If we are in any way believing this lie, it is no wonder that we hesitate to be attached to one person, one job, one place or especially hesitant about having children--those cute little people that consume all our best time and energy. We miss out on a myriad of experiences if we limit ourselves in any of these ways.
I think we feel somewhat entitled to the best experiences the world has to offer. Not only this, but we also desire and expect instant gratification and fulfillment in this world. DeYoung comments on the negative consequences of our insatiable desire for earthly fulfillment:
We've assumed that we'll experience heaven on earth, and then we get disappointed when earth seems so unheavenly. We have little longing left for our reward in the next life because we've come to expect such rewarding experiences in this life. And when every experience and situation must be rewarding and put us on the road to complete fulfillment then suddenly the decisions about where we live, what house we buy, what dorm we're in, and whether we go with tile or laminate take on weighty significance. There is just too much riding on every decision I'm pretty sure most of us would be more fulfilled if we didn't fixate on fulfillment quite so much. (p.32)
TRUSTING IN THE ONE WHO HOLDS THE FUTURE
There is so much wisdom packed into this little book. One gem I've gleaned is that we don't need to know God's individual will for us before we make decisions. We can trust that God has good things in store for us, set our mind on things above and then 'just do something'. In his own words,"we can stop pleading with God to show us the future, and start living and obeying like we are confident that He holds the future." (p.42)