There is no shortage of answers laid out in the Catechism or given in Scripture for this most fundamental of questions. And yet, I still find myself asking this question and wondering…with a tendency to want to skip past the simple, and come up with some deeper, more profound answer.
Fortunately, I have an 8-month old son around to show me the ropes. To remind me what, at the most fundamental level, God wants from me.
Most of my work, be it teaching, writing, or just plain making sure the house doesn’t fall apart, is done from home. And when you work from home with a young child, it can sometimes be a challenge to hit the right balance of work and play that keeps me productive, and keep the baby happy.
Yet, even when I find the sweet spot, the balance that keeps us both content—there’s a flexibility needed, because sometimes the baby just wants me. Wants to look at my face. Wants to sit next to me. Wants to be held in my arms. Nothing else—not an entertaining task, an interesting toy, or music is what he wants—simply my presence.
The baby doesn’t care if I’m working on something that will ultimately benefit him in the future, like washing his clothes. He simply wants my presence and attention—my full, undivided attention.
This is how he shows me the ropes.
I can line up many tasks that are good, moral, and most likely pleasing to God. But that’s not, fundamentally, what God wants of me. I can devote myself to research and study, to learning about Jesus and his Church—but even this isn’t the heart of what God wants from me.
No, what God desires on a regular basis is me. My full, undivided attention. Making myself present to God, without a focus on productivity, entertainment, utility, or anything else. Making myself available to be with God, fully and without other purposes.
And so, when that itch strikes, that internal doubt about what I need to do for God hits. I need to take a cue from my son and just stop. Stop, and not think about what God wants of me. And run, sprint to God in prayer, giving Jesus—who already has a plan—my undivided attention. Placing myself in God’s presence, ready to listen.
Copyright © 2013, Colleen Vermeulen