I’ve been fretting about what to do with my life lately. I feel like most things I try turn into chores and I lose whatever passion I may have had that led me to them in the first place. This has actually happened my whole life and so now, I feel “behind” in the career department. They say that it’s much easier to turn a moving car than a parked one, but all that’s happened to me is that I’ve run out of fuel trying to figure out what my purpose (more than just my passion since I’ve got difficulties with the idea of following one’s passion) is here in life. I finally decided that this was not something to be done out of my own strength and started asking God to help me. “God, use me,” would be my fervent (read: hand-wringing, anxious) prayer each morning.
All this seemed to accomplish, though, was that, at the end of each day, I’d obsessively attempt to calculate if God used me and if so, how much. These are murky waters – where is the line between me striving out of fear and me being a vessel for the work of God? How do I know when God has used me? And what will be my indication that being so used is enough to warrant me relaxing into God’s love?
Of course, I have this all backwards. Being “used” by God is not a way God makes us lovable even if we could discern God’s grace-filled activity from our own. Nor is being “used” be God a sign of God’s love; we may be differently and unequally gifted but we are not differently and unequally loved. It is obvious that some folks possess certain gifts that others don’t and that some possess certain gifts in larger quantities than others. In the Body of Christ, the ear is endowed with the gift of processing sound, the eye that of seeing and so on, not vice versa. The eye cannot be compared to the ear in terms of how well each hears – that’s nonsense! They are differently and unequally gifted but it is because of their differences that each is necessary for the whole to function wholly.
But the reason that being “used” by God is not a sign of God’s love is because being “used by God” kind of misses the point. We are meant to take Christ into ourselves in Communion – that is, the knowledge that we are, as the ground and center of our being, beloved children of God. Thus, the relationship between human parents and children is analogous to the relationship between God the Father and believers – brothers and sisters – in and of Christ. Do we as human parents have kids to “use” them? Do we have children to compel them to serve us? Parenting the way God intended, I imagine, would not include such notions: we have children to love them. This is why parental wounds go so deep and last so long. This might also be why we – at least I – so often misunderstand God’s intentions towards us and thus plead, “God, use me,” instead of, “God, heal me,” “God, hold me,” and “God, know me.” I don’t need to ask that God love me but I do need to ask that God patch me up enough that I might feel and hold God’s love. I need to pray that one every day.