Right Now: If you aren’t sure about your path, check the oil

Battle of olive oil with olive branch in handmade clay plate over wooden table.

If there’s one thing that’ll stop my productivity right in its tracks, it’s second-guessing myself and my current path.

Is this what I should be working on right now? What about all those other things that are important? Am I actually doing what I was called to do? And the most distracting question of all: How do I know? (Along with its sequels: But how do I know that I know? And how do I know that I know that I know? – etc. until the cows come home.)

Those questions used to torture me until I discovered a reassuring way to know with some certainty:

Check the oil.

That probably sounds a bit strange, so I’ll unpack it for you.

When we’re inside God’s will, we’re anointed for the task. In Old Testament times, when people were anointed, the priest would pour oil on their heads, which signified God’s blessing.

Basically, they were oiled up.

So when we’re inside God’s will, we too are oiled up. Anointed.

Now, think of a car and what it means for the car to be oiled up. That means it runs smoothly, the pistons gliding inside the cylinders with ease, moving the vehicle down the road.

When the car has no oil – that is, when it’s not oiled up (“not anointed” for its task) – it’s basically metal against metal. Friction. Overheating. Sometimes complete engine failure.

In terms of knowing whether we’re doing what we’re made to do, here’s the clue: When we’re anointed for the task, even the struggles are easy to handle. When we’re not, even the easy things are a struggle.

The next time the questions swoop in, screeching and shrieking and dropping doubts all around your work, don’t let them bury you under their weight.

Just check the oil.

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