My grandson sent me a picture from the San Diego Zoo of two young tiger cubs chasing each other and tussling with delight. One of my comments back to him and his parents was that I wish I had that kind of energy, but I’m afraid that’s long gone! Still, no observer could help but smile watching their freedom and joy in just being tiger cubs and doing what tiger cubs do. That is, after all, the will of God for them. They don’t need to “find” God’s will to obey it. They just allow the depth of who God created them to be to bubble up to the surface and be exuberantly expressed.
Jesus committed his life to allowing the depth of who God created him to be to bubble up and be expressed. To do so, he regularly went into the wilderness to pray, to be with God, and to be reminded of who and whose he was. Then he returned to the world to live his deepest identity, using his gifts to preach, heal, and serve as many people as he could.
I find that I’m too often more like Samuel than like Jesus. I don’t have an easy time hearing God’s voice. Even when I hear it, I so readily doubt what I’ve heard. “Hmmm, is someone calling me? Who could it be? What do they want? Are they sure they have the right person?” I look around, puzzled, and then I go back to bed. That doesn’t do much good, though, does it?
Having spent Advent concentrating on building a path straight to my heart for God, I’ve learned that’s only the beginning. Once I let God in, I have to let God teach me how to more clearly hear that divine voice. I have to take time in prayer to keep myself grounded in my deepest identity as God’s beloved child. Then I need the courage to live that identity in the world, even when others don’t understand or actively object. Like all of creation and Jesus himself, the will of God for me is to become ever more who I was created to be. God’s will is written right into the cells of my being and lives in the depths of my heart.
So it’s a constant back-and-forth process on that path – sitting still long enough to truly hear the ever-present voice of God calling my name, and then going back to the world to follow that voice. I need to decrease the amount of time I’m asking, “God what should I do? What is your will?” Instead, I need to listen to the deepest part of me and then step out in faith, trying always to freely and exuberantly use the gifts that God has given me to live out who I am. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll even find that I have more energy when I cooperate with my core identity in God rather than fighting against it. I might even learn to be as fully “me” as those cubs! Care to join me?
Amy Florian is a teacher and consultant working in Chicago. For many years she has partnered with the Passionists. Visit Amy’s website: http://www.corgenius.com/.