Sometimes the questions can nag at us: What are we called to do? Are we actually doing what we were called to do? And the most distracting question of all: How do we know? (Along with its sequels: But how do we know that we know? And how do we know that we know that we know? – etc. until the cows come home.)
I used to torture myself with questions like that until I discovered this reasonable and reassuring way to know:
Check the oil.
I’m sure that sounds a bit strange, so I’ll upack 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 – 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.
So 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.