“Do we have any idea what God’s invitations to us are? Do our yeses to invitations [in all areas of our life] simply divert or stroke our ego? Or do they nurture and grow body, soul and spirit? … Do the invitations we accept make us more free or less? Which invitations are shaping your world?” (p. 15, Invitations from God, Calhoun).
I’ve been reading Invitations from God for a couple days now and at the end of the read I will cook up a comprehensive review. But for now, this question I wrote above.
In a dialog with friends striving to live life together, we’ve come to notice again and again the very distracting environment we live in. There’s so much that comes at us and we see many around us get sucked into a thousand things throughout a week. Not only distracting, but fragmenting.
But these two words, distraction and fragmentation, don’t make any sense once we find ourselves in the middle of life, soaking life up. We might feel: “Distracted? No way; I’m just living it up.” “Fragmented? No way; I’ve made more social connections in the past week than I did in all of college.”
In light of this, we’ve had to ask ourselves about the goals we have in life and about the details of the life God is calling us into. We have been asking, “What does God want to us within us and how is he getting at this destination or working this journey within?”
It’s at this point we see a clash. The invitations of God clash with the invitations we find ourselves exploring. A life of making a name for ourselves clashes against the invitation to know we’ve already got a name, an identity. A pursuit of financial stability clashes with something like Jesus inviting the rich young ruler to get rid of all his stuff. (That story would need about ten or twelve blog posts to unpack.) The impulse to push something through, to force our way, clashes with the invitation to wait. The addiction to run ourselves ragged in the process of getting others to think more or well of us and to provide a stronger resume for our kids clashes with the God-Alive truth that identity formation, creativity and true character strength form most fully in rest, perhaps when we’re plain ol’ bored.
So, the struggle seems to be this: How do we keep the invitations from God in front of our imaginations and within our language? Also: how might we spur one another to become more conscious of God’s ways, his invitations, and encourage one another to walk within them? (How does the life we build by grace through faith become built upon the foundation of Jesus and the Jesus Way?)