I was in conversation with a spiritual seeker the other day who was concerned about having to emulate the path of Shane Claiborne and “The Simple Way” (after I showed my spirituality group a video of his work). He worried that if he didn’t follow the blueprint of a life lived in communion with God’s way, set out by Shane, that he was not fulfilling his own calling from God.
He said, very honestly, “I was watching the video and thinking, ‘Man it is going to take me forever to grow dreads and don’t think I’ll look very good’.” I think often we can look at someone living a very spiritually rigorous life and wonder how much we are living up to our own expectations in comparison, if we are not in some way emulating their path.
I think the beauty of God’s indwelling is that he is “in us, as us” and that he does not want me, or my spiritually-seeking friend, to be Shane Claiborne or anyone else, it would be disingenuous. God wants us, urges us, to use our gifts, callings, and talents to be the most and the best of us. God asks us, when we listen, to take what we have to give to the world and use it–not to clone someone else’s calling but to find what the whisper inside, the God-urging in us, is asking of us as an individual. Listening enough to hear God and have the conversation is the first hard part, following what is asked after is even harder.
I have found, it is a bit of a “be careful what you wish for,” situation. I spent my childhood wishing for great signs from God, thinking they would come in the forms of bright shining orb-beings, or bleedings from my palms (yes, my flair for the dramatic added to my very active imagination). Now, it seems, I hear God-urgings constantly, because when you turn up the volume and stick up that antenna you’d better believe God uses that signal strength.
After trying so hard for so long, concentrating from my brain-space to listen, I just let go from my heart-space, and became an open receptor. I said, almost in frustration, “Ok, so what do you want from me really?! What has this whole life journey been about? Come on, just bring it on.” To which God cleared his throat, tapped on my shoulder and said, “Ahem, well, since you mentioned it…” and has been tapping ever since.
I feel, quite likely, God will keep internally urging until I say, “No more, please!”
So, we don’t have to become anyone else, or follow some blueprint of those set before us, we have to be us with God in us and take that journey wherever it leads. That is how I see the path as I have experienced it, and what is laid out before me now.
However, if you ask the question, “How can I help?” be prepared for a very long answer.