People are confused. Some of them have strange god-complexes, and they ain’t even know it!
As a Christian, I am speaking from this perspective, not to preach, but to point something out.
I’ll start from Jeremiah 29:11.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the LORD, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
We all know this verse, don’t we? It helps us believe we’ll get all the things we want to get, right? I’m not even going to go into that right now. Just go to Youtube and watch Jackie Hill Perry’s “Jig-A-Boo.” Anyway, this verse is fine when we need that drive, that push.
HOWEVER. In my opinion, Jeremiah 29:11 goes hand-in-hand with Isaiah 55: 8-9.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways.”
This is VERY IMPORTANT. Especially when you’re dealing with someone other than yourself, whether or not you (feel you) have legitimate responsibility over them.
You see, in life, in the 21st century, most people have a standardized idea of what the prosperity described in Jeremiah 29:11 is. They tend to think, oh, it’s money, a car, a secure (practical) job, a stable family, kids who are academically talented, who also grow up to get money and find a secure (practical) job. So, even when they have achieved their secure job and established their own money-making venture (in a job that they are exhausted with every time they come back from work and have no real passion for), when something doesn’t go the way they expected, they are shocked. The shock can be them getting laid off their jobs, or their kids – not being as academically gifted as they wished, or refusing to find interest in a profession that will lead to “prosperity”. Emphasis on the last ones, because they are not directly affecting the shocked person.
These days, for the lower to upper middle class, it’s pretty clear what is expected of the young’uns. We need to finish middle school, excel in high school and all its extra-curricular things, then go to good colleges/universities, and get good jobs. And any parent who wants this for their kids just “wants the best for them,” right? So we naturally tell ourselves that God wants our kids to get into university, right? WE know that’s what’s “best”, so clearly, that’s what God wants too, right? …Right? I mean, you, dear parent, you know which career path is not prosperous enough, so you are aware that your son/daughter needs to go and study say, medicine, right? But Elysium forbid you sound over-bearing and all that, so your wishes suddenly turn into your god’s wishes – and in that moment, I tell you, you have made your own god. You’re telling yourself that of course God doesn’t want your kid to be whatever you don’t want your kid to be – because obviously you know exactly what His plan for the kid was. And it was (say) medicine. Right? …Right?
News flash: you ain’t God.
His ways are not our ways.
I don’t know why it’s so difficult for people to accept that they don’t actually understand that it’s possible for God’s desire to be different from theirs – when it comes to other people.
Here’s my story: I’ve always been a smart kid. I aced every blessed subject, and was top of my class for 8 years. Every subject was my best subject. I was good at everything. Then, in high school, I started struggling with physics and additional mathematics, and even grew to basically hate Chemistry. This was in the first two years. (I just completed my third.) Now, see, I was miserable, and because I had always been such a shark, I did not understand where all this sudden struggling came from. But, foolishly, I ignored it. I let my father talk me into believing that even if I want to be a writer, I can work towards being an engineer and write on the side.
I don’t blame him though. The way I was raised, most people thought that because I was so great at everything, I could always do anything, profession-wise. And of course, they’d want me to pursue a practical profession for “academically-gifted people.”
But then I started IB, with Higher Level Maths and Physics, and I swear I have never felt stupider in my life .These subjects brought me to the lowest low I have ever been at in my life, ever ever ever, and I don’t know how to make anyone see that I am not exaggerating. I don’t have the strength to go into detail, but maybe one day in my autobiography…Ahem. Anyway, as I was saying…it didn’t make sense that I, who knew but suddenly had trouble believing that I wasn’t stupid, was suddenly flat-out failing.
You see, it’s because I wasn’t listening. To who? To God, of course! I was listening to everyone else, who spoke like they knew my designed fate, like they’d dictated it, like the Spirit of the Lord had revealed to them that Ivana Akotowaa Ofori was destined to be an engineer. No. That, my friend, is entirely man’s plan for me. Oh, don’t bore yet; I’m about to say even more controversial things! J I don’t even like HL maths and physics. (Okay, physics, maybe a little). But goodness knows that if I was good at them, I’d have probably actually ended up pursuing the whole engineering thing further. And I’d be good at it – and that would be catastrophic! Why? Because I’d be so good at it all that I wouldn’t have been able to pay attention to the real plan God had out for me.
You disagree? Well, that’s why you ain’t God!
Honestly, sometimes we get so focused on our supposed success, and what other people say our success will be, that we constantly forget to ask, “But what does God say my life should be?” And He tells us, but we don’t listen. Honestly, I wasn’t listening for the longest time, and I was in extreme danger of choosing a path that had not been chosen out for me. Listen. God did not give me the art of words (which is a talent that only seems to keep growing) so that I could use it as a “side job”. But people don’t understand that they are not God, so the path that I see now has been so clearly laid out for me, makes them mad. Pushing this God-given talent to the side is equivalent to burying my talent under the ground. It is downright lazy and disrespectful.
But you see, because I wasn’t listening, great measures had to be taken to drive this thing into my head: so despite my intelligence, despite my hard work, I was continuously, uncharacteristically, BOMBING maths and physics. I had to basically fail before I got up and realised, the problem isn’t my brain, it is my heart. I needed something to wake me up to the certainty that, chale, engineering, God says no. Controversial? Hell yeah.
I talk to God a lot. Not in the oh-I’m-always-on-my-knees-and-praying kind of way, but like, the every time, any situation kind of random discussion with a Supreme Being in my head. And, as far as I can remember, since the time when I actually was born again in 2011, God has not left my prayers unanswered. I ask Him a lot of questions, and He answers me, not through the external world as through within me – a realisation here, a change of heart there…and that is how I arrive at my ambitious conviction and certainty. Trust me, when you’re lost and you ask God for direction, you may just come to realise that being lost was always in the plan of the journey to your final destination.
Things haven’t really changed externally. I mean, the people who have antagonised me before haven’t suddenly had a change of heart and realised, “Oh, Akoto was meant to be in the realm of words.” Nope. They still frustrate me to my wit’s end with their mini-god-complexes. What has changed is my heart. Because when you know that there’s something God has out for you to do, despite statistics, despite people’s god complexes, despite possibilities of brokenness and destitution, you will find some sort of irrational, transcendent peace in whatever God tells you is right.
And it’s fine if you don’t understand that – but that’s why you ain’t God.