Have you ever met someone and you discovered they were nothing like what you thought they would be?
Before you met them, you knew about them, but “knowing about” someone is not the same as “knowing” someone.
Everyone knows something about God, but when we really encounter God, most of us discover he is not like we thought. You may know about God, but it’s time to get to know God. And you may discover much of what you thought you knew was wrong.
The first thing you discover when you really encounter God is that God wants good things for you. Sometimes God wants better things for you that you want for yourself. “…Before I formed you in the womb I knew; before you were born I set you apart…” (Jeremiah 1:5). In 1 Cor. 2:9 St. Paul also teaches us that, “…No eye has seen, no ear heard, nor the heart of a man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
What Paul means here is that you cannot even imagine what God has in mind for you. In other words, God wants you to become the best version of yourself. This is his dream for you and everything makes sense in relation to God’s dream for us. God is the ultimate Father. You may have a great father here on earth and you may not. But whether you do or not, you certainly know a great father when you see one. Yet if we as fathers can dearly love your children as much as you do, and we are broken and wounded and flawed and limited, imagine how much God loves you. Yes, God is that Father. So when earthly fathers shine, it is because they act like our heavenly Father.
This world is God’s gift to you. He wants you to enjoy it and take good care of it. He created all the beauty that surrounds you with you in mind. Then he looked at it and said: “It is good.” You too, God created you in his image and likeness and so deep inside your heart you are intrinsically good. But staying connected to that goodness isn’t always easy and requires real effort. Like any good father, God has dreams for his children and that is, he wants you to become the best version of yourself.
Hence, everything makes sense in relation to God’s dream for us. When we feel like life is not making sense, it is usually because we have lost sight of God’s vision for our lives. For instance, consider the following:
A) What makes a good friend? Someone who helps you become the best version of yourself.
B) What makes a good meal? Food that helps you become the best part of yourself.
C) What makes a good book or movie? Those that inspire you to become the best part of yourself.
D) Why do your parents send you to school? Education at its best draws out the best version of you. Looking back on my life, I can see that the best teachers, mentors, coaches and managers were all men and women who were trying to draw the best out of me.
E) What’s the meaning of work? Making money is a secondary outcome. Primarily, the value of work is that when we work hard and pay attention to the details of our work, we develop character and virtue and, ultimately, become the best version of-ourselves.
Conclusion: Life is about saying yes to the things that help you become the best version of yourself and not the things that don’t. So next time you are confronted with a decision, simply ask yourself: “What will help me become the best version of myself?” This is because in almost all circumstances, whatever you do now is going to matter later in your life, in ways that you haven’t even begun to imagine. God wants you to become the best version of yourself. Will you listen to your navigation and choose God’s dream or the modern culture’s nightmare?
Anthony K. Davis writes from the Sacred Heart Parish.