If I had to compare myself to a musical protagonist -- what? You mean that’s not something you think about too? -- I would probably choose Don Quixote. At times I like to think of myself as a never-say-die warrior. My life motto could be “dream the impossible dream.” And, as I get older, I’m realizing I’ve encountered my fair share of imaginary giants.
What might those imaginary giants look like, you ask?
Big People Decisions! (It sounds much more formidable if you say it in a deep, thundering voice and employ sweeping hand gestures.)
All those big people decisions! Where to go to school; what to study; what to do with what you study; and where you should go to do it. Then there’s getting married. Should you? To whom? And when? The list of decisions goes on and on. And the ones I’ve had to make have, at times, added a lot of unnecessary grief to my life.
Why is this? I’ve often wondered. I think I’m a fairly levelheaded person, and God gave me a brain, which I’ve been able to put to good use in many aspects of my life. So, what’s the hang-up here? Why all the giants? And what’s to be done about them?
In his book, DeYoung, a pastor in Michigan with Midwestern roots, addresses these big giants of life that, according to statistics, are becoming more and more ominous to every new class of cap-and-gowned graduates: “What is God’s will for my life? What is he calling me to do, and just how do I figure it out?”
This little 124-page book in no way attempts to be a treatise on the sovereignty of God. What it does do, however, is offer some wise, Scripture-backed advice on how to make godly decisions in the midst of an age and culture overrun with options and choices.
While his words are for anyone who struggles to make choices, DeYoung specifically addresses us believers in our thirties and younger who, for a variety of reasons, put off making the big decisions of life. In doing so, he says, we are waiting to grow up long after we really should, and doing a disservice to God and ourselves in the process. The reasons for our procrastination are numerous. We live in a time and place where our options abound. We expect to find fulfillment and don’t commit from fear of being disappointed. We want to please God, and fear a wrong decision will land us on His bad side. We’ve put unnecessary emphasis on His will as it relates to the decisions we make about the direction of our lives, instead of focusing on how He desires us to daily live our lives.
Our confusion and consequent stalling might be out of a sincere desire to do the right thing. Or, it could really be laziness masked as patient -- and potentially pious -- waiting. Whatever the causes and whatever our motives, DeYoung insists that hanging around, chilling out, and sitting on our duffs waiting for heavenly smoke signals is most certainly not God’s will. What is, is delving into God’s Word, spending time in prayer, and gleaning from fellow believers so that we learn to lead lives guided by wisdom. In gaining wisdom, we will walk more closely with God and be better servants to those around us. This is God’s will for our lives.
As it turns out, it’s also the first and second commandment: to love God with the entirety of our beings, and to love others as we love ourselves. If we are doing our best to choose to live like this, we can breathe easily and make all those other choices -- yes, even the big ones -- without fearing we will somehow end up out of God’s will.
Along with a concise but clear explanation of the will of God as defined in the Bible, and scripturally supported reasons as to why it’s important for us to get on with it and grow up, DeYoung also offers practical advice on how to navigate the big choices of life. The biblical insight and no-nonsense approach offered throughout its pages make Just Do Something both a convicting and freeing read. If there are looming choices you must face or potential changes you’d like to make on the horizon, Just Do Something will, if nothing else, help you start moving towards them, whatever your age or season of life.
I once had a very wise teacher who said, “Love the Lord with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, and do whatever else you want.” At the time, I just couldn’t believe it. I nodded, feigning understanding and agreement, while secretly thinking, “Yeah, right. There’s no way it’s that easy, and I’m certainly not going to try it and find out the hard way.” But many years (and many imaginary-giant-jousting-matches) later, I’m finally beginning to agree with him. Kevin DeYoung certainly does.
As for all those imaginary giants, well, I’m finally starting to see that they are really just big windmills. So hand me my sword, Sancho! That’s nothing this warrior can’t handle!
Annie Provencher is a writer living in Virginia.
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