It seems perfectly clear that I am not to rob my neighbor or interfere with the trust in anyone's marriage or steal office supplies by the trunk-load.
But there are so many things that seem less clear. How "helpful" can I be to be to a newly married son? Which college should I encourage my 17-year-old daughter to consider? How many children should we have? Should I take a new job or stay with the one I have? Should we buy a new house or build, or stay put? How do I deal with teachers who make me uncomfortable and distress my child; is it a growing experience or a dangerous situation? When is it "safe" to retire?
Really, I can drive myself to the brink of insanity in about 5 minutes if I start thinking of all I do not know or am uncertain of. Of increasing concern is this: what if that of which I am certain is actually not fully understood or, could it be, just wrong! The older I get the more I am anxious about what I do not know.
There is just so much we don't know about how our idea of helping might play out, or which option to exercise, or when is the right time to act or to refrain from acting. But it is much easier if we release the idea that we have to control our environment (which we can influence but not "fix"); or to protect our loved ones (who are not in need of us adjusting them in order to be fit for God, which, of course, they already are by God's accounting); or to fret over arranging for ourselves perfect finances, health, church friends, or neighbors to make our lives "blessed."
So I find John 5:30 of particular comfort today: "[Jesus said] 'By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.'" Interesting that Christ said, basically it is not about Him even in His perfect human form, but only what the Father wants.
No, my judgement is limited, but not so the judgement of God. My power is limited, but not so the power of God. My expectations are flawed, but not so the plan for my life which God laid out. My ideas, when I'm working at highest functionality, are always limited by what I know, by what I can do, by a narrow capacity to anticipate the consequences of my actions in the lives of those I love...and those I don't even know!
But the more I learn to wait on God's direction and instruction, seeking discernment even in the moment of choosing which door represents the best way out of a burning building, well, then things not only seem to come out better, but with each experience I learn to trust God more deeply, to lean into God, to seek God's face at all times and in all places.
I suspect Sally Fields has also learned there is no detailed rule book, no easy way. The only thing we can know for sure is this: God loves us passionately, yearns to teach us how to open ourselves to our own highest good and has both the will and the ability to transform all the crumby, scary, mistake-riddled parts of our lives into a life of joy, grace, peace, passion, adventure, safety and hope which we were created to live.
No, Sally, the rule book is simple but not possible to execute on our own. It has only three rules: A. Seek God with all your heart. B. Love your neighbor as your self. C. Remember this each day: God is lovingly supporting you every step of the way -- as you are growing in your capacity to do A and B.