it matters

At some point I should really dig in and argue this from the Word, but for today I am simply going to state to an indifferent world that will probably never read this: "It matters!!!"

I had a really major decision to make at the end of last year (doesn't that make it sound so far away? yah, it was like a month ago...) :) So I did what you do when you have a major decision to make. I prayed. I fasted. I waited on the Lord. I sought wise counsel. (I may have gone overboard with that bit, but I appreciated the international response.) :) And it all lined up, and I learned a lot about who God is and who He's called me to be and what He's called me to do with my life - and came away from the whole process with a lot of really good questions to think over, a little more wisdom, and a solid direction in which to head off. All in all it was a terrific, though emotional experience. It was a major decision - we're talking life-altering, changing the trajectory of the object in motion (which means it's going to hit a different target) - and it was a decision that affected a lot of people. It wasn't like making a decision about what you have for lunch - tho anyone who's had food poisoning will tell you those decisions matter too! :) This mattered....

And someone told me it didn't. Man, has that been bugging me. I don't know why. I wish I could have just written it off as bad advice, but I haven't. So maybe just venting about it will help? :) The thing is, I know that there are times and moments in our lives when it really doesn't matter what we choose, and that some of those decisions are life-altering. Years ago that feel like yesterday, I quit my job and moved to Colorado to be an assistant chaplain at a camp in the mountains. I won't go into detail about what made it not the greatest experience in the world, but I will say that it was hard. It was really hard. And I was miserable, and I didn't know what to do. So I sought counsel, and across the board, the advice was: "God can use you and teach you a lot if you choose to stay. It will be hard, but it will be good. But if you choose to come home, no one will think you're a failure. Just choose." And as I prayed and hiked, the sense really was, "Hap, this is your decision. You tell Me what you want to do." So I went home. In some ways I regret it some days - but really, I don't. I'd like to go back now that I'm older and have that job again for a summer. Maybe someday. :) I feel a lot more... equipped ... to do that job now. Yay, there's something happy about getting old... :)

But this time - this decision - it wasn't like that. There was a very definite right and wrong path and I almost took the wrong one, the safe one, the one that would have been just okay, but that would not have led to everything God wants to lead me to - except that God sent the proverbial neon signs to say, "No. This is the way. Walk in it." And it mattered. It mattered to me, it mattered to a lot of people, and it mattered to my destiny. I can't tell you why I know that to be true. I just do.

"It doesn't matter. Do what you want, and God will bless it." What??? Even in the moments when that might be true, I'm not sure it's the kind of philosophy on which I want to build my life or by which I want to make decisions. It's a shaky foundation that if you take it to its logical conclusions gives you the right to be master and commander of your own fate and to do whatever you feel like doing whenever you feel like doing it....yikes.

No. It matters. Even on those occasions when God says, "choose" - it still matters.

7 comments:

Heather said...

I'm so glad for you, Happy. Not only have you made a decision you're excited about, you've learnt something in the process. I love that! Keep us updated on how it goes.

Mike said...

Great Choice Hap!! I am glad you chose the way of God. It's like this. When I tell someone "it doesn't matter", the truth is that it doesn't matter to me.

What you said is the first thing I thought. No matter what choice you make, God will bless it? I don't think so. Especially if you feel him leading you a direction.

Hope your choice is fruitful and blessed!

faintnot said...

I am so glad you chose God over the voices of others...It will be exciting to see what is birthed out of all this...
Linda

The Rev. Wayne Paul Barrett said...

Hi Sister,

Long time no talk. I am happy for you that God seems to be really allowing some dreams you've had for a long time to become reality.

I also want to affirm that yes, it matters. It matters whether we listen to God or not. Not all choices are equal, and God has a preference and offers guidance if we will be but look to the Scriptures and listen for His response in prayer. Even in the small things, like what to eat (Do you not think God would want you to eat what will NOT give you heart disease, make you overweight, etc.? Do I think God cares about how much fast food I eat, and all the excuses about being too busy, and it being convenient when I'm rushing around "serving" Him? Of course I do; I am His child)

In the midst of what I am currently going through, I know without a doubt that there is a right path and a wrong path. I sometimes hate the fact that the way forward sometimes seems so foggy, but I trust God to lift the fog with His light in His timing. It just takes discipline to listen and to watch and to bring it all back to the Father for His take on things. Not that I always get it right, but that I realize that my life is not my own, and that God really does has a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, and that may not mean anything that I can see or imagine in only my human understanding. I choose to try to go forward in God's way because I refuse to be destructive to myself or others simply because I refused to listen for a response or refused to obey what I've been told. (How many problems would I avoid if only I could always, as the old hymn goes, "trust and obey"?) With my limited human understanding and perspective I desperately need God to be working in my heart and the hearts of everyone else I interact with; God needs to do things behind the scenes and make things happen. I have been amazed yet again recently at how God can cause things to happen for good, even, and especially, those things that others meant for harm.

It Matters. And if I have ever given you the impression otherwise, may God and you forgive me.

BTW, I am trying to be more faithful to my blogging. Check out http://waynepaulbarrett.blogspot.com/

Happy said...

and to think i almost didn't post this... yay, conversation. :) lol...

Heather, faintnot - thank you so much for your prayers and wise thoughts over the past few weeks. i am so grateful for the friendships we've been forging this year. you are both such incredible blessings from the Lord in my life!

Mike - you're so right. when i tell someone "it doesn't matter", it really doesn't matter to me, either. I hope I don't say it to people about important things! (and if i have, i'm now extremely sorry...)! thanks for the encouragement. :) I have felt God's leading, and I'm excited to see what comes as I follow. I'm definitely taking Rachel's words about Caleb to heart. God's given me a mountain to claim, and I'm going after it! :) This is going to be fun. :)

Wayne - hi! So glad to hear from you. No, not once, do I ever recall you encouraging me to think that something didn't matter. Even in the silly things that really didn't, you were always there to listen. unless Rush was on the radio. then it was just a lost cause, and I knew better than to expect you to listen to anything i said...

Praying for you, for wisdom and guidance, justice where it's needed, and for the strength of heart and character to exercise Christ-like compassion and mercy even in those moments when you wish you could throw your degree out the window and swear up a bloody storm in a fit of sudden heathenism. May 2008 be a blessed year, full of every break-through you need, and at least 10 - no 12 (one for each month)- amazing surprises. (Start a list somewhere you will see it every day, so you will remember the happy things on days that are less so.) love you, brother. hang in there. better days are coming...

Wait on the Lord. Be strong, and take heart, and wait on the Lord. - Psalm 27:14

Rob said...

Yeah, it matters alright--good for you to step up and do it.

And fwiw, that chaplain at Snow Mountain is long gone (and so's his successor, actually; I don't think you could get that job back, but you might have a shot at his . . . :) )

Happy said...

thanks, Rob. You believed I could do this long before I'd even think about someday admitting that it was even a slight possibility that God maybe might someday sort of possibly call me to something kind of like this....

Thank you.

and no, I don't think I want *his* job. :) i like having superiors. in the great words of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and that other chick that I can never remember her name... in White Christmas' "Gee, I Wish I Was Back In The Army" - "there's always someone higher up where you can pass the buck." No, I'll take assistant chaplain any day. :) And the privilege of getting weird songs stuck in your head.

Mississippi Squirrel Revival's up on YouTube now, did Sara tell you? :)