Do you have voices running around in your head saying, “You’ve got to lose weight,” “You’ve got to go to church,” You’ve got to get more exercise,” “You’ve got to drink less coffee,” “Don’t wear that; it is inappropriate for a _______,” or “You’ve got to finish writing that article?” I do, and I could add hundreds more.
If you have such internal naggers bugging you continually, you are driven. You are being driven by socialized voices from your culture. Some of them come from your parental upbringing, some of them come from the region and/or country in which you were raised, some of them come from your religious background. Too many of them come from the media we consume constantly. May I say that few, if any, of these voices come from God?
I am currently in the middle of chapter 12 (and last!) of the book I am writing with my sister Sharon. The working title is the same as the title of this blog post. What I am hoping to do in my part of the chapter is to discern the difference between our culture’s blaringly obvious call on our lives and the still, small voice of God and his call. I suspect, because it has been so with me, that we too often listen to culture’s call, and decide who we are, how we live, and what we do for a living based on culturally defined expectations rather than on our built-in connection with God; our soul.
How might we get in touch with what God created us to be, buried deep within our soul? There are a number of ways that my sister and I deal with in our forth-coming book, but I would like to highlight probably the most important one. Be still. Be still and know that I am God! I have a little story to illustrate what I mean. This story has become a metaphor for my life of continually going from one new experience to another without stopping to check who I really am.
In July 2009, Mennonites held their world conference in Asunción, Paraguay. Among those in attendance was a Guaraní man who had traveled from his remote village in the Chaco to Asunción, the capital of Paraguay, for the first time in his life. He arrived by bus, a nearly four-hour ride from his isolated village. Upon arrival, he was found sitting by himself in a corner. After nearly an hour had passed, a group of curious church leaders approached him to ask him if he needed anything. “No, thank you,” he said. “It’s just that the ride from my village to Asunción was so fast and furious that I am sitting here waiting for my soul to catch up with the rest of me.”
Most of us are so distracted by culture’s blaring noise that we don’t take the time to sit and let our soul’s catch up with the rest of us. To be drawn to God instead of being driven by our socialization. To hear God telling us, like he told Jesus, “You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” I imagine that such a message would quell most of the niggling voices from culture that tell us how inadequate we are.