When I was 20 years old I may, or may not have, received a prophetic message for my life one night in church. There was an unusual outpouring of the Spirit that particular night. My cynicism was only beginning to blossom and with desperate hope, I allowed myself to be swept up in the excitement.
In years to come, when considering this event, I wondered whether the preacher actually had had a special message for me, or whether he was simply regurgitating blanket statements and sweet nothings.
“God has a plan for your life.”
That was it. Prophesy over.
Riddled with self-doubt
Even though that was 12 years ago, today, I find myself with the same question: “What plan?”
I completed a Diploma in Music Production that year. I lacked confidence with people. I didn’t look for work in the music industry. I joined a band with a group of friends. It didn’t work out. When they asked me to leave the band, I recall sitting on the roof of my house talking to my girlfriend on the phone in tears.
The next morning I woke up early, with a sense of God’s presence around me in my pain. It may have been the day that I determined I would study Naturopathy or Acupuncture. I ended up studying Nutrition. However, I lacked confidence with people and didn’t look for work in the health industry.
All these years I have been looking for 'The Thing', 'The Answer'. That 'Time of Arrival'. The moment I get to the conclusion of the plan and live happily ever after.
In 2008, I spent time searching for this 'Thing' in a picturesque Monastery near Luxembourg with monks who brew beer. I had been cycling in Europe with 2 mates and drawing close to God in the quiet places of nature. I lay down in the monastery garden and asked, “God, what do you want me to do?”
I had dedicated the whole of the day to listen, but received an answer within minutes. It was no loud voice or vision, but there seemed to be a definite knowing of Truth at that time. God said “First, I will show you how much I love you. When you get this, we can begin to uncover who you are. These truths are more important, and when you know these truths, you will know how to live.”
No doubt there are many times I miss life’s lessons because I’m not living in the present. Rather, I’m frustratingly looking for something that’s not here yet. It seems that I often lack faith in the goodness of God, and his unconditional love for me. If I was assured in this, I wouldn’t need to know the details of my future. It would be enough to simply rest in the truth that He has a plan for my life.
Hmm…. have I been missing the point? Perhaps it’s my inherent worthiness that I am constantly doubting?
Living one’s Personal Legend
I’m drawn back once again to my favourite novel, a modern classic by Paulo Coehlo – The Alchemist. The author refers to the “Personal Legend” - a calling, non-specific but with certain knowing and faith. On the journey of discovering this calling, a boy grows up. He learns the common language of the world which is beyond words, he unearths his heart, he communes with the soul of the world and even becomes the wind!
We see Jesus too, constantly checking in with Father and his calling. As a child, he’s found at the feet of spiritual teachers. He learns the way of the world as well - learning the family trade. When he’s initiated by John the Baptist he receives a message from on high which seems to activate his mission, yet he goes into the wilderness for further training. Even at the last moment, in Gethsemane, he’s desperately checking in on the plan.
When I was young I assumed that Jesus retained the omniscience of the Father from day 1. These days, I find it a far more enriching read to consider the humanity of Jesus. If I knew every detail of the challenges that I would face in my life, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Yet without these challenges, life is only half lived. So I get out of bed each day, knowing that those annihilation-seeking emotions that would have me sleeping eternally will pass by the time the first coffee goes down.
Knowing that the challenges of life are creating resilience within me, preparing me for something great. If I’m sharp and tuned in, I notice the omens - the little signs of God’s presence. Sometimes, I’ll lose my centre all together. But I’m here today, and that’s testimony to the hand of God already at work in my life. Just for today, in the midst of your life, can you trust that God is on your side?
Daniel is a wanderer. Sometimes globally, always internally. His wandering has lead him to two questions - what are the obstacles to the flow of love and how can we transcend them? Daniel is a yoga teacher, a love healer and one who thinks too deeply. He is the one who puts the pen to the paper.
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