Jay and I were discussing on the forum about the paths we take in our lives. I made the comment that I always felt driven by the Spirit of God from a very young age. I was surely confused about what was the best way to obey, but there is no mistaking my commitment. He noted that we are taught to feel guilty in our culture for not choosing the perfect answer at those turning points in our lives.
There is no “perfect” answer. Western Civilization is built on pretense, as if someone is always watching and grading every nuance of our path through life. That’s not the God of the Bible. The reality that our Lord made is not like that. His revelation describes a reality that is alive, sentient and willful. It interacts with us; we can be aware of that if we pay attention. The question of choices should not be colored with the false notion of objective perfection. That does not exist outside the twisted mythology of the West. There is no “perfect will of God” because He doesn’t think like that. He said as much Himself.
Not in so many words, but God revealed Himself in a context that excludes such nonsense. The notion of a “perfect will of God” is foreign to the Ancient Near East (ANE). Nothing in the ANE cultures makes place for that sort of mathematical precision in efficiency. The notion of accountability to the Divine is all about your desire and your commitment; such bean-counting is excluded except in a few rare cases of things that are handled in tiny quantities. Virtually everything in the life of ANE people was a matter of approximations because they were dealing almost exclusively with agricultural products. A certain amount of spoilage was built into it. God reveals Himself as a feudal Lord who deals almost entirely in obligations that are soft in that way.
It’s not that there is no place for such precision in a high technology society, but you have to understand that you won’t find God in that way. He hasn’t changed just because our material preoccupations have changed. We make it a crime to mishandle even a penny, but it’s not morally wrong for humans to be humans.
I know of a mystic who also ran several large businesses, one of them a fancy restaurant. He was quite successful and part of his success was understanding God’s truth in a fallen world. His accounting practices included a 10% loss due to employee handling, and not just common errors. Having dealt with literally hundreds of service employees, he said it was impossible to get good staff unless you tolerated a small amount of theft. He explained that the best employees in the world would steal just a little. He made a bigger profit by keeping them on staff and tolerating the minor losses. He was content not to know who was guilty on that scale.
There is a certain amount of moral friction in the human existence. Your shiny new plans had better not be fragile or reality will wear it through the middle. Keep your expectations real and you won’t panic when the hide gets scraped. Have you ever met someone who gets all tore up over a minor door ding in their car? That’s a sign of moral immaturity, a symptom of materialistic idolatry. This is the root nature of Western mythology that rejects the existence of the otherworld.
It’s okay to bear a certain level of regret; mistakes are what make us wise when we get older. If you don’t experience bad consequences, you’ll never rejoice humbly at shalom. The false idea that you’ve gotten everything right leads to a Satanic sense of entitlement. A feeling that you get everything wrong will immobilize you when God calls. Are you still alive? God still has use for you; don’t miss out on His blessed opportunities. Did it never occur to you that God calls some folks to live as examples of what can go wrong? Seize the grace He offers. God expects people to bear some regret in this life. Seek peace with God and embrace His calling whatever it is.
Once more: There is no objective reality. There is only experience and perception. Experience is what you have to live with; perception generally needs adjustment to match the reality of experience. And reality is a person, too.