But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
(1 Thess. 4:11-12)
The great ones over at Theologues have an awesome article up about finding out God’s will for your life, and it’s a must-read. I love it because it included the above Scripture, and it’s so important because it’s written for us: if you feel…well, different.
Maybe it’s getting older; maybe it’s technology moving too fast; maybe it’s not caring what “the kids” are doing these days, but for a while now I’ve had this feeling of “otherness,” of not fitting in. I’m too young for some things, too old for others. I’ve been out of the career game for over half a decade now (I don’t count Starbucks as a career, although I would if I went back to a salaried managerial position), and I don’t know what the heck I will do when I go back to work (which isn’t even in the plan for another five or six years). I don’t know much about SEO. I barely Twitter; I’m never on my blog.
I’m not hipster enough for the young Catholic mom blogs (I don’t have enough children or enough style for all of that); too Liberal for Conservative friends and too Conservative for Liberal ones.
I have no brand, no “catch.” Google my name and you’ll find a few articles, but not much more than that. I rarely write about my family and hardly mention their names. I don’t have beautiful photographs posted on my blog, no coconut-oil-gluten-free recipes to share, no favorite yoga poses to suggest.
And if you look at my life through the lens of the world, it looks…well, like it needs improvement. I’m sure it does.
But I take such comfort in St. Paul’s admonition for God’s followers to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, because leading a quiet life seems to be my bag at the moment.
I’m in good company, it seems, at least when it comes to the Gospels. We hardly know anything about Jesus’ grandparents (whose Feast Day just happened), or about His own Mother, as a matter of fact. We know a few things about her, but not about her daily life. His foster-father, too. We only know about St. Joseph’s job and his few experiences (however amazing they were) helping keep Jesus and Mary safe during the first years of Jesus’ life.
Jesus, too, for that matter: we hear about His infancy and early years, but He disappears from age twelve to age thirty. It seems almost as though had Jesus not been the Son of God and had a very important message to get across after His 30th birthday, He’d been written out of the Bible entirely.
He lived a quiet life for almost the entirety of His life.
The saints, too: St. Therese, doing kind deeds for others as a model of saintliness, would probably had never been heard of had she not written her autobiography and her fans had not shouted about her from the rooftops. She had no desire to life this great esteemed life outside of Jesus.
Mother Teresa just wanted to help the poor (and she did), but she became a rockstar mainly through the actions of those around her.
A million other saints are in Heaven that we know nothing about. But God knows about them. I’m sure He knows about me, probably because I’m in His ear all the time asking Him for stuff.
He knows about you, too, because He loves you.
I know it’s easy to be worried about your life: about whether you make a difference (you do), or whether you’re loved (you are). But even if you weren’t loved or thought about at all by anyone on this planet, it kind of doesn’t matter because God loves you and thinks about you.
Your life will change when you use that as your focus. Let the world fall away. Do well in it, the best you can. Pay your taxes, of course. Work for justice and feed the hungry in it. But don’t think about it like it’s the best thing ever. Life on Earth is beautiful. It’s wonderful and heartbreaking and fascinating and devastating.
But if you believe in God, it’s not just this world. It’s Him. And if you focus on Him, if you cultivate that seed in your soul that knows that, then you’ll find peace when all you see around you are storms.