Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The One Thing We Want More Than Anything Else

We’re having this conversation at work: How does a big company talk to people?

More to the point, how does a big company talk to people in the age of informality and social media?

Most big companies (especially those in non-consumer businesses) and most big organizations like to talk with people from the perspective of expertise. If the company is big in technology (of any kind), then the conversation tends to reflect scientific or technological expertise.

That was us – scientific expertise central. It’s where we are comfortable. It’s what we know. It’s where we can best debate and defend.

We were having the conversation because, based on extensive market research, we were to speak in a different way – friendlier, and more conversational.

As we talked, it struck me that, no matter if we spoke with expertise or with friendliness, we were actually trying to accomplish the same thing. And it’s the one thing that companies, organizations, and even most of us individuals want and crave more than anything else.


I’m not sure whether it’s because we believe our world is wacky and careening from crisis to crisis, or because nothing seems to make sense any more, or that the wrong party is in control of Washington, D.C., or because politics is making our workplaces turn into some combination of Oz and Wonderland (and we would all secretly like to be the man behind the curtain; he at least has the appearance of being in control). But we want to be in control.

And even we Christians have our own form of this. We’ve been told that God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives. Well, fine. What is it? What’s the plan?

Of course, we don’t exactly ask the question that way. Instead, as Francis Chan points out in
Forgotten God: The Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, we talk about discerning God’s will for our lives, and preferably our complete lives. We want the big picture. As Chan points, out, though, waiting to get “the complete picture” is a way of putting off what has to be done, today, this afternoon, and now.

“Part of the desire to ‘know God’s will for my life’ is birthed in fear and results in paralysis,” Chan writes. “We are scared to make mistakes, so we fret over figuring out God’s will. We wonder what living according to His will would actually look and feel like, and we are scared to find out. We forget that we were never promised a twenty-year plan of action; instead, God promises multiple times in Scripture never to leave of forsake us.”

We want to know God’s will for lives because it’s a means of control, putting ourselves in control. And it’s no wonder that God tends not to cooperate. He doesn’t eliminate obstacles and problems; he doesn’t stop the curve balls; he allows the surprises. He doesn’t give us a nicely detailed blueprint for how our lives will go. He seems to turn his back when we run into the nasty political types at work.

Instead, what he does give us is the moment, living in the moment.

If we had the wonderful plan for our lives, everything would be simple. We would know what to do in each situation. We would know how to respond exactly. Life would be great. We would be in control.


Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been reading Forgotten God. To see more posts on this week’s chapter, “Forget About His Will for Your Life,” please visit Jason at Connecting to Impact.

Photograph by  Виталий Смолыгин via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.


Anonymous said...

i'm not sure what life would be like in the totally controlled version.

jasonS said...

People who have control (or the appearance of it) are not necessarily happier. I would wager they feel more pressure to maintain it than they do enjoying it. I'm sure most people wouldn't state they want control, but you're so right, we do. We want to go where we want to go and do what we want to do. Great point about why God wouldn't cooperate with our "big picture" aspirations. Great post, Glynn. Thank you.