Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ignation Indifference

Have you ever heard of Ignation indifference? Ignatius of Loyola taught that we should have a certain indifference about all things in life.  Rich? That's okay with me, as long as it's God's will.  Poor? That's okay with me if that's God's well.  Sick? Healthy? Job? Unemployment? Which job? Where to live?  Ignatius' view is that none of that is important.  Only following God's will is important, so none of the rest of that is really important.

I first heard of this concept from some friends of mine back in high school.  This one friend would often plead "Ignation indifference" if we were trying to decide what to do (and clearly, I only hung out with the coolest kids).  Ignation indifference, my hind end!  Don't try to pass off your indecision as virtue!  Okay, maybe her intention was good, but it always came out as a little smug and then I had to make a decision.

I fight the concept now, too.  One of the things that has been really bothering me is that I'm supposed to move in 8 months.  I don't know why it bothers me so much.  I'll be working for the same company, which I love.  I'll be working with people that I've worked with before and enjoy working with.  I'll still be in the same general area.  I'll actually be closer to a lot of my friends. 

I really, really don't want to move.  I absolutely love the community that I'm working in now.  I feel like I've been able to become a part of the community.  It's the first time I've felt that way. All the other clinics I've been in, I'm just a therapist working in a clinic.  That's how it will be in the hospital that I'm being transferred to.  I love the people that I am now working with.  They're definitely more than a job to me.  The doctors in town know who I am and respect me, and I really respect them.  Before this, I've never had the doctors be that familiar with me.  I don't want to give that up.  I also abhor the idea of leaving the church I have been at for the last 4 years.

Jonah and I could be pals.  Remember the plant that grew up to shade Jonah? Then remember how mad Jonah got when the worm ate it?  God let him have the plant for a while, then took it away so He could teach Jonah something important. God let me be a part of this community for a time, but maybe He has a different plan for me in a different place in 8 months.  Ignatius would tell me that's fine and I should be content wherever God lands me.

Ignatius is right, of course.

I'm still hanging out with Jonah:

(After the plant dies and the sun is beating down on him)

"It is better for me to die than live."

God: "Do you do well to be angry for the plant?"

Jonah: "I do well to be angry, angry enough to die."

I laugh so hard at Jonah's response to God because it is so childish, so petulant.  I'm guessing that Jonah knew as well as I do what his answer should be, but I'm really glad he went with what he was feeling instead.  At least I wasn't the first one! :)

Every time something happens that makes me think how much I like working in the clinic where I am now, I'm going to work on being thankful for the "shade" I'm getting now rather than worrying about when I have to leave it.  I'm going to get Ignatius to pray for me on the indifference thing, because I'm not sure I can honestly pray for that right now.  I'd rather pray for God to work on finding a way that I wouldn't have to move. 

 I don't think this kind of indifference means not being sad if I have to leave the people and the community that I've come to love, or not being happy if I did get to stay for some reason.  I think it means being just as willing to stay or go despite the feelings.  

Yeah.  I've got a long ways to go.


  1. I love Jonah so much! LOL! He said it like it was. No flowery answers to God out of one side of his mouth while all the while actually feeling the total opposite. How can anyone expect any real communication with God if they are unwilling to be...well...real? I see myself in Jonah often. I remember one of your recent posts where you said something about how you "pitch a fit" with God when something is going one way when you'd rather it go another. Yeah, welcome to the club. It's called being human. God is big enough to handle your honesty. It's not like He doesn't already know, right? Sometimes all you can do is tell Him "I'd really rather not but I know You will have Your way so at least help me wrap my head around the surrendering part, okay?"

  2. I hadn't heard of Ignatian Indifference before. That's probably best, because I probably would've gone the route of your friend and used it as an excuse to not have to make decisions!

    I love how honest you are about all this. I know you think you've got a long ways to go, but you're already so far! The fact that you can recognize what you're struggling with and be willing to pray about it (or at least ask someone else to) is so important. I will pray for you as well. And just think, there might be an even better community waiting for you!