By Nimmi Candappa
We each make many decisions a day. In fact, one study found an adult can make around 35,000 conscious decisions in one day! Many of these are not life-changing but some decisions need to be considered and discerned with care. For those of us who try to bring God into the decisions and directions we take in life, we will be aware of many factors, worldly and internal, which prevent us from being truly open to God’s will for our lives. These subconscious or deliberate factors and choices can create spiritual chicanes in our lives, forcing us to zig-zag our way towards God’s intended blessings.
As Christians we might have heard of the term “holy indifference” or detachment used in the context of spiritual development. The idea is that we hold loosely our circumstances, the options of a situation or our attachment to someone or something worldly, in order to be more open to the Spirit’s movement in our lives. Possessing indifference, noteworthily different from being indifferent, leaves us free and flexible to respond to life without compulsion or feeling duress. In the same way it is easy to nudge someone when they are standing loosely on the ground rather than firmly, the ‘gentle breeze of the Spirit’ is more likely to be influential in our lives when we stand light-footed, ready to move in the direction we feel we are being drawn towards by the Spirit. St Eugene was known to be straightforward but loving in providing feedback to his fellow priests. He once chastised the poor attitude of a priest who was insisting on being sent on a particular mission, despite St Eugene’s hesitancy. St Eugene reiterated to him the importance of being “rooted in indifference” and willing to oppose one’s own ideas in order to best complete the mission of spreading the Word. Strong opinions and “our own ideas”, worldly ambitions, childhood hurts and even difficult life circumstances can reduce our levels of holy indifference. In turn, this can affect the way in which we are able to readily follow God’s invitation towards blessings chosen individually for each of us.
On the other hand, an attitude of holy indifference can be developed. So that we are less likely to be affected by whether we are honoured by the world or ignored, whether a leader or a follower, helpful to just the one person or a whole community, a voice that is heard or silenced.
In this coming fortnight we might look at ways in which we can develop a stronger sense of holy indifference in life. What is an area that is difficult to let go? What in our lives are we yet unable to say yes to, if asked by God to give up?