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In my continuing series from Mercy High School students, there were several questions about God's plan for our lives.
Q: I just became in touch with God this year. How do I know that God is putting me in the right direction? How do I know that I'm making the right choice that God wants me to make? — From S
Q: How do we know if we are following the right path God has laid out for us? How can we see the signs or hear his calling? — From C
Q: How do you realize what God's plan for you in life is? Also, how do we know if we are on the path God has laid out for us or if we are straying? — From E
Q: How do we know what our true calling in life is? A person can go through many different jobs/occupations in their lifetime and sometimes they end up with one that they don't like, so how do we know which one God meant for us to have? — From L
Q: How can we know what our one, true calling, or the right path that God chose for us, is? — From T
A: If we knew in advance what God wanted us to do, there would be no role for our own choices. We would just blindly follow God's desires and plans for our lives. The point of free will is for us to do two things: First, we must clearly and honestly assess the gifts God has given us; then we must use those gifts to make the world a better place for all God's creatures.
Figuring out our gifts is the hard first step. Sometimes we want to do things that have nothing to do with our talents. If you aren't sure what you are good at, ask your friends and family; they will tell you what you could know yourself by being honest about your blessings. Using those gifts to make the world a better place is the second step to realizing God's plan for your life.
There are many jobs you can do with the same gifts. I don't think there is just one path or one job that God has in mind for each of us. There are many paths that get to God through living a good life. Try to find something unique to do with your gifts. The most popular choices are not necessarily the best choices for you.
Remember the words from this wonderful poem by Robert Frost (1874-1963): "Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." Try to find an untraveled road.
Finally, I would try to find a path in your life that is not just about what you can do for yourself, but what you can do for others. Before I write or speak, I always say this prayer, "God help me do or speak your words." The prophet Isaiah (66:1, 2) understood this necessary trait as humility: "But this is the one to whom I will look; one who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word." God is looking to you, not directing you. Grade A
Q: I was wondering, in your opinion, if you believe we should start addressing God as a more gender-nonbinary figure. I know that basic Christian belief is God is truly genderless, yet we still say "He" and "Him." If God is really more of a spirit than the "man in the sky," shouldn't this new generation start to regard God as "they"? Thank you so much! — From A
A: I have written 10 books and never once called God "He." I know that is the old way, but the old God/He way did unfortunately reinforce the incorrect theology that God is an old guy floating on a cloud. If God is not a person, we should use language to help us teach that important belief. The problem is that the following theologically correct sentence is grammatically awkward, "God decided to take God's creatures and tell them that God wanted to make God's plans real in God's world." Nevertheless, I think that is the way we need to go, particularly to help young women like you not endure God language that always depicts God as a guy. Christianity does have an extra problem in this gender-neutral world because Jesus was obviously male. However, emphasizing the divine role of Mary can help Christians balance Jesus' maleness. This is a good time for me to remind you that this is not exactly my problem! Grade: A
SEND QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad at [email protected] or Rabbi Marc Gellman, Temple Beth Torah, 35 Bagatelle Rd., Melville, NY 11747.
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