In my previous post, I asked the question: What do you want? This is not as much about the new pair of summer shoes you want or the latest and greatest car upgrade you’ve been eyeing. This question is more along the lines of your discovering your soul’s deepest desire, your life calling, or an earth-shaking passion.
It’s a big question, I know. Not one that many take the time to ask…or to think about. It’s one, however, that I believe we are all called to wrestle with. Without digging through the soil of our hearts and getting our hands a bit dirty with the Gardener and Tender of our Souls, we may miss out on the fullness of His unique and stunning expression in and through us.
How do you know what you want…what you were CREATED to desire and live for?
How do you discern the vision by which you live?
Just this morning at my Bible Study group, we were talking about our call to be disciples of Jesus in this world, and that we want to lead lives worthy of Jesus…not just making the American Dream (our own comfort, success and achievement) the #1 priority and focus of our lives. With that in mind we acknowledged that we have global issues of poverty, injustice, and oppression in our face everyday from the news and media. In addition to the overwhelming problems we see on the news, we have Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves. When we combined those factors (and the crying children, the bills to be paid, the house that always needs cleaning, the errands that must be run, the deadlines at work, the sick neighbors, the needy people on the street, the financially strained family members…), the needs around us can seem overwhelming, or as a friend this morning put it, “paralyzing”.
Did Jesus intend for us to feel paralyzed at His commands? I don’t think so. But the truth is, sometimes we do.
How is God trying to lead us into the fullness of life, and away from the paralysis of “shoulds”?
How do we live focused lives full of purpose, vision and joy?
How can we be “focused on the urgent, but not hurried and overwhelmed by the chaotic busyness of making it all happen”? our wise Bible Study leader asked.
My husband is an all-star goal maker and future visionary. His gifting and excitement about making and achieving goals has really inspired me and these are just a few things I have learned along this journey with him. I hope you can grab hold of these practices and take another step onto the path of fullness, joy and purpose for which God has created you.
1. Look back.
Look back at the majority of your life. At what points were you most fully alive? What were you doing when you were most excited about life? What have you been consistently affirmed in by others (in terms of giftings, talents, contributions)? What are the patterns of God’s fingerprints in your life history? What are recurring themes/words from God that mark your past? Where do you see Him consistently leading you? What were you doing when you thought “if only I could do this for the rest of my life”?
2. Look ahead.
Start today with tomorrow in mind. Think about one, two or ten years from now. Where do you want to be? What do you want to have accomplished? On whom do you want to have had an impact? What is the sphere of influence you were made to reach…today, in the future? Start making small goals as you work backwards from that place in the future. Call yourself by those visions, even before they exist (i.e. I am a writer, I am a teacher, I am a leader, I am a servant, I am a business owner, I am an influencer), and start believing you can achieve those dreams. Make goals you can achieve with your current life season, schedule and capacity that will pave the way (one step at a time) for you to walk out those future dreams.
3. Look up.
This is last, but really, it is most important. Without looking up, the practices of looking back and looking ahead lose their meaning. Look to your Maker- your Creator- your Lord. He is the One who knows your heart intimately and completely. Unveil your heart to Him in prayer, and trust Him to lead you. Pour out your heart like water from a jug to Him and trust Him to hold the dreams and secrets of your heart as His prized possession. (Lamentations 2:19) As you pour out your heart to Him with your most honest and truthful self being offered up to Him, He will be faithful to fill you back up. He will fill your heart and mind with more of His passion, His vision, His love for you and your sphere of influence. Seek His truth from the Bible for keys to His heart and allow Him to reveal His plan for His glory from His awesome word.
God values you and wants to set your heart free to run this race He has put before you. He has not intended that you be shackled in sin, imprisoned in unforgiveness, or bound with fear, all while trying to make it down this road of life. He wants to set your heart and mind free so that you can run full speed ahead all the days you have on this earth. He will be most glorified when you are most fully alive. He made you that way! Seek Him and His kingdom, and all else will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33), that He may receive all the glory and praise from our lives as we discover what it is we were made to do and what it is we were made to passionately desire.
It is my prayer that at the end of my days, the world around me will know He is good, and He is Lord over all from the way I lived my life. May it be for you as well.
~ Wrapped in His Affection ~