I remember the day I changed the toilet paper roll without being told. I remember because it was a momentous occasion in my life.
On that day, while sitting you know where, it occurred to me that the new toilet paper roll on the sink countertop next to me didn’t actually belong there. There was a specific place it was supposed to be kept: in the toilet paper roll dispenser attached to the wall. I had always known that’s where it belonged, but I guess it was never important enough to me to take the time to change out the used roll and put on the new one. It had always been taken care of eventually.
Probably by my mom.
Sadly, I was well into my teenage years before I had this revelation. But then I knew that when it was time, I had to change the roll. And once I changed the roll the first time, I never went back.
Unfortunately, this also began my career as the toilet paper roll Chief of Police. Now that my eyes had been opened to my own negligence, my eyes were also opened to the negligence of others. I had gained the wisdom that apparently had not yet been revealed to them, and it became my solemn duty to help them discover it.
Well, the other day I was thinking about how in that moment of self-reflection, I made the decision to change the roll myself. No one had to tell me or keep reminding me to do it. I knew what I had to do, and all I needed was the motivation or will to do it.
Though it may be a stretch in some ways, I think this also relates to our relationship with God and the decisions we make. I believe there comes a time in our Christian walk when God no longer tells us exactly what we need to do. Instead, we must make a decision – whatever it is – without being told.
So many of us are waiting on God to answer our questions and give us a clear road map of which path to take. We ask Him:
“What should I do with my life?”
“Should I go out with this person?”
“What kind of diet should I try?”
And though I do believe it is crucial to bring our questions to Him and seek His insight when making decisions, I think He also gives us a lot of freedom as we grow up in our relationship with Him. Just like when a teenager transitions into adulthood and (hopefully) grows out of needing constant reminders and detailed instruction for basic life skills, a Child of God should be able to apply what has been taught and walk confidently in obedience to that, making adjustments along the way.
After I graduated from college, I had no job lined up and was considering volunteering at an orphanage in Ecuador for six months before I joined the workforce. It was one of the first times that I had to make a big decision on my own and after seeking direction from God in prayer, I felt that He was not going to give me a clear “yes” or “no.”
After quite a bit of back and forth, I decided to go. Knowing that neither choice was wrong, I left the US with a whole-hearted belief that, if nothing else, my presence there would be refreshing to the missionaries who had given their lives to take care of unwanted children. I went to serve those who were serving the “least of these.”
My time there was tremendously challenging to me in many ways, and also incredibly beautiful. I believe I helped the missionaries, and I know I loved the orphans, but the thing that made this experience truly worthwhile is that God used me because I was willing and blessed my efforts because m heart was in the right place when I made the choice.
Taking initiative is up to you. No one can force you to see a need and meet it. The amazing thing is that when you make decisions with selfless motivations, you can trust God to have your back. If you do what you believe to be right, you can trust Him to guide you away from anything that isn’t the best for your life.
He has already given us instructions on how to live our lives; we just have to do it.
We just have to change the roll.