I’ve always viewed indifference in a negative light, as being apathetic toward a cause or a person or an issue that’s deserving of one’s attention or support. To a person like myself who tends to lean toward a passionate perspective on most matters (and please don’t confuse this with a correct perspective on most matters – I’m not delusional!), indifference always seemed .. well .. wrong.
Then, recently, as part of an exercise to more effectively discern God’s will, I was challenged to pray two prayers BEFORE praying for wisdom – the prayer of quiet trust and the prayer of indifference.
The prayer of quiet trust made sense. It’s described in Psalm 131 as an utter dependence on God and trust in God when circumstances are “too great and too marvelous for me” … which, if I’m honest, is most of the time.
But the suggestion of a prayer of indifference caused me conflict. How could I pray for a lack of interest or a lack of concern? Then, with more information, I began to understand. In the context of spiritual discernment, indifference is a positive term that references being so indifferent to my own will that I am completely open to God’s will and what He has in mind.
For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?”
But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.
I Corinthians 2:16
I’ve been trying it – praying a prayer of quiet trust and a prayer of indifference before I pray for wisdom .. and a miraculous work is taking place. As I face difficulties or situations for which an obvious answer doesn’t exist, when I know that more than one decision, at least on the surface, isn’t necessarily better than another, or when I’m simply aware that I must rely on the Father for His direction, a different kind of peace envelopes me and a desire to be indifferent to my own will begins to surface.
As a shepherd leader, what could be more important than living a life fully dependent on The Good Shepherd, with our own wills set aside to discern what He knows is best? What could provide the most appropriate influence for the sheep in our lives but an under-shepherd who is indifferent to his or her own, often selfish, desires and fully embraces those of the Father?
May we go there together…
Source of concept: Ruth Haley Barton’s Pursuing God’s Will Toget