Recently I’m becoming aware how strong the pull is into the path of least resistance. Of doing what is most efficient. Like water running away.
It ties in with something I posted recently, of how we don’t allow ourselves margins around our lives. So we find ourselves always taking the same route to work, the shops, wherever, because that is the most direct route or the quickest route at this time of day, the route that allows us to set out as late as possible and still arrive on time.
We run on autopilot a lot of the time. We run – busy, busy, under pressure. On autopilot – not really present to the moment, distracted, looking to be distracted from the boredom of life on autopilot. A lot of the time.
At least, I do.
And the consequence is that we aren’t doing what the Father is doing. I’m not talking about doing what the Father has explicitly told us not to do – actions that only harm ourselves and others. I’m talking about the difference between just going about our day, and going about doing what we see the Father doing, today. The difference between believing in God (so what? even the demons do that), and ushering in his kingdom.
Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.” (John 5:19, 20)
What does that mean? I think it means this: that instead of running on autopilot, we try to walk with God. Walk – slow down. With God – asking to see what he is doing and doing those things.
This Lent, God is teaching me to listen to his voice. It is a discipline, and, as I engage with the discipline I am hearing God’s voice more clearly. I think I am hearing the devil’s voice more clearly, too – saying that we don’t need to submit ourselves to God like that, saying we need to take responsibility for our own actions; that it is super-spiritual immaturity to bother God with the minutiae of our lives; that He isn’t that involved anyway – He left the book in His place (the tempter misusing scripture).
And so I am disciplining myself to ask God the small questions. “Father, I have a letter to post. Should I go right now, or later on? Should I go to this post-box, or that one? Should I walk down this road, or that road?”
Why would it make any difference? Well, it makes no difference to the letter. But it makes a difference to whose path I cross on the way there and back. What is the Father doing? Whose path is he hoping to cross today? To whom would he send me? Where, and when, will they be? (At my ordination, I was charged by the bishop with “searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible.”)