My previous post (Part I) was basically an inner dialogue regarding God’s plan for my life. That wrestling is common, as we all yearn for significance and some care about pleasing God. The post was a bit disheveled as my thoughts and feelings were blurry to me. Although they are yet to become clear, I want to share with you more of the process. So, if you would, tie those laces and join me for the second leg of the journey.
My husband and I moved back from Ghana in March, we had our first born in April, then we needed to decide what was next… To return to Ghana or to stay in the states? If we stayed in the states, where would we live? What would we do? Thousands of questions plagued our indecisive, overwhelmed minds. Because we believe God created us and is in charge, we like to give him some say.
From my study of God, I’ve discovered that God’s will is to love him and people. If loving God and loving people are the most important things to God and I’ve chosen to adopt them as my most important things, then his will for my life can wear different outfits and will change with the season. There’s freedom and fun here to decide.
In addition to boiling down God’s will to these two things, my husband and I sat down and wrote out our family values – our pillars, our priorities, what we want to be about. We know that life is short and tomorrow is not promised to us. We also know how easy it is to get sidetracked and distracted and live life in “reaction” mode. So, to the best we’re able to articulate it, below are the Seiberts’ top three:
(1) To have cross-cultural friendships where we share the love, hope and healing of Jesus Christ. Even though we’re no longer the last link on the “missions” chain (in that we’re not doing this IN Ghana anymore), we still want to be involved. The cool part about this is that the nations are here, near, everywhere. We don’t have to go to befriend people from around the globe.
(2) To intentionally be involved in people’s lives. This value determines what type of jobs we have, where we choose to live and what we do with our free hours because we want to commit to people and make ourselves available to them.
(3) To hitch our cart to people who live faith-filled lives. It’s all too easy to get swept away by the stream of status quo and be satisfied with cultural Christianity. We know we need to surround ourselves with praying people. People who swim upstream. People who see more than what the eye sees. We don’t care to fly solo. We want and need a team of people around us who are like-minded, who share similar values, who will enjoy meals and laughs and life with us.
When there are a number of good options on the table, having our family values in front of us has proven very helpful. When we are wide-eyed and paralyzed by options, it’s helped us keep the main thing the main thing. It’s helped us stay focused on our priorities. It’s helped point us in the right direction when multiple things pull at us.
Listing your family values is not a formula that automatically puts you on the path God wants you. If only it were that easy. The color gray is more common in this life than I’ve ever noticed before. I believe that God is kind to us in the gray as we move about and make decisions. We only have so much information. Many of us don’t have crystal balls we can peer into to see our future. Most of the time it feels as if I’m taking a stab in the dark or making my best guess.
But then we asked ourselves, what are our values? What are our priorities? What interests and excites us? I decided to stop worrying about finding that needle (God’s will) in a hay stack. That’s stressful and more than likely not going to happen. Defeat, right? I’ve told myself to stop searching so hard. Maybe there is no right or wrong. Instead of worrying about that, I’ll just enjoy God. Adore him. Love people. And while doing these things, I’ll give myself to the thing(s) I enjoy most.
This decision-making processing led us to return to Chicago and take a job with World Relief (www.worldrelief.org), befriending refugees and helping them settle and adjust to life in America. I’ve decided to stay home with our son, (so I’ll be learning how to be an urban momma :)). We feel like this decision allows us to stay true to our family values as we love God and people — imperfectly, but try we will!
Rest assured, I’m NOT speaking as an expert here on knowing God’s will and how to make a decision. My thoughts on God and his will and discovering it have evolved over the years. And they’re still evolving as I’m still in process. I’m okay with disagreeing with myself tomorrow or a year from now. But I think that God is on the move. He’s put himself out there and is always communicating. I don’t want to fear the gray anymore. I’m delighting in this large lush, green pasture with a strong wooden fence surrounding it. Here I find space and freedom within boundaries. I graze peacefully because I’m known and grace abounds and God is too sovereign for mess ups. I feel safe and I’m hopeful.