Way back when I was in high school, the highest grade point average you could get was a mere 4.0. Well, I know that I achieved this status during my senior yr. and maybe a few other semesters-but who’s really keeping track? My point is, that I worked it out (because I turned 18 the first month of school and could write my own “excuse” for being absent) so that I could miss one class a day every day of the week and still not exceed the maximum amount of “absents” allotted per class….and I STILL got a 4.0! “How is that possible?”, you may wonder. One reason-I am a Master Memorizer (or at least I was at from 1985-1989). If I had a test, i could study and memorize data and information like nobody’s business. I aced almost every exam. This could explain why I was called into the office by my Guidance Counselor after I took the ACT test. He was perplexed at how I could be in the lead for valedictorian yet barely pass the ACT. Excellent question. I was not surprised by it. My problem was clear to me…there was no study guide. At least not one that was black and white. They had a bunch of ridiculous questions that required me to give the “best” answer based on all that I had retained from 4 years of high school. Well, I already took those tests and those answers have long since “left the building.” I didn’t learn for the sake of learning, I learned to get a good grade. Once the test was over, there seemed to be little use for that information to crowd my precious brain, so out it went. It simply faded away. To this day, my husband, who’s grades were just a teeeeeeeensy bit lower than mine, is still astounded that I even passed a History Class. I’m not too proud to admit that even though I could (and can to this day) rattle off the names of all our Presidents, in order, at record speed, I couldn’t tell you what most of them did for our country. I was also geographically challenged. I didn’t even know where Missouri was until I moved there, and I regularly confuse Minnesota and Michigan. Alas, all my years of sitting in class were worth very little in the long run because even though I could regurgitate information for an exam, I didn’t store that knowledge in my head to be utilized in real life, or use it to pass an ACT test. If it’s yes and no, black and white, 1+1=2, I’m your girl. But once you start asking me to use common sense, or pool all the information I have supposedly learned for 4 years, I simply can’t seem to do it.
Unfortunately for me, life decisions are less like high school exams and more like ACT tests. How I wish I could butt up against a life-decision and be positive of the correct answer, because I had it memorized. That’s just not how it works. Sometimes the answers are unclear. Sometimes the “best” answer is hard to discern; they all sound right or they all seem wrong. Sometimes I pray and ask for God’s direction but remain foggy. At first glance, this seems like a depressing conclusion-that God let’s us flail around and figure it out on our own. But let me give you another perspective (and again-I am not an authority on this stuff-it’s just my brain and my faith trying to reason things out): Maybe God just doesn’t care that much about what we do. Now, before you count me a heretic, let me explain myself. Maybe I should say it more like this: Maybe God just doesn’t care (as much as we do) about what we do (specifically). It seems like what He wants from us mostly is our hearts to be towards Him. I wonder if the details matter that much to Him. When I read the 37th Psalm, and that is only ONE CHAPTER of scripture, here are some of the actions it tells us to take regarding God: Trust in the Lord, Commit your way to the Lord, Seek the Lord, Delight yourself in the Lord, Be still before the Lord, wait patiently for the Lord, Take refuge in the Lord, Hope in the Lord. None of these verses end with, “And then ye shall know and do exactly what the Lord tells you to do.” You see, I think that even when our life circumstances shift, our “job” (see, “Do.Your.Job” blog) is still the same: Love God, Love people. Trust. Seek. Commit. Delight. Be still. Wait patiently. Take refuge. Hope. All the rest is gravy. If I do all these things and choose to take a certain job, marry a certain person, move to a certain State…God will take care of me no matter what. I don’t believe He is hovering over the buzzer, ready to hit it if we give the wrong answer, chose the wrong door or phoned the wrong friend. Call me crazy, but I think the whole point of any of it is to get us to depend on Him and stop making decisions without Him.
Life is like an ACT Test, what you get depends on what you pool from your cumulative life experiences, lessons, relationships, mistakes, failures, achievements, trials, losses and successes. God guides us through all of these things as we seek to understand His will for us. But at the end of the day, it’s about How much He loves us, how much we love Him, and how much we love each other. Don’t get bogged down in the details.