the roads not taken

I suppose every big decision stirs up thoughts about the alternative paths that will have to be given up. Having kids brings up those concerns for most people, I expect. Heather and I talked about this a little last night before falling asleep (before I fell asleep, that is, as I can never last for long once hitting the mattress).

The lure of the many roads not taken is mostly illusion, though, I think. We can dream anything, but the actual possibilities available to us are limited by lots of things. That goes against the cultural mantra that we can be anything we want to be. But most of us see through that lie pretty early in life. There are real choices for us, but not limitless choices.

And, really, as a follower of Jesus, I wonder if the fixation on choosing the path for our life is even appropriate. Isn't that the point of being a "follower"? That we're not deciding the path to take?

Instead of the focus on choosing and then making it happen, it seems our focus should be on listening and then walking through the door opened for us. Not making a life for ourselves, but embracing the life given to us. Given by God, that is. That's not the same as accepting the life ordained for us by our elders or by our society. But looking to God for the opportunities and path that he opens before us, and trusting that our deepest desires are also from God and are meant to find fulfillment on the path he shows us.

Probably the poor and the marginalized in society grasp this more easily than the privileged. They know they cannot live any life they want, no illusions there. And they're often more eager and accepting of opportunities presented to them. Not dismissive, expecting a better offer. In that, they're closer to the kingdom of God.

That's what I think we should be looking for. Not the best life that we can manage to build for ourselves, but the kingdom of God. Looking for the kingdom to be revealed in the opportunities and community that God leads us into, as imperfect as those might look to us. In any case, the kingdom of God is not something we're going to be able to create or even discover by managing our choices correctly. It's definitely going to be a gift, and probably appear (again and again) where we didn't expect to find it.

Doesn't that take the pressure off? The fulfillment of our desires is not going to be in the life we might (one day) assemble for ourselves, but in the life God has been giving to us all along.