Purpose is a Process
"You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail." -Proverbs 19:21
"purpose"- the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists; to have as one's intention or objective
Getting your driver's license. Applying for a job. Buying a house. Establishing credit. Completing a degree. Creating an exercise routine. Installing appliances. Most everything we do in life is a process to some degree. Some things more than others, but almost nothing is instant. And truly nothing in life- or very, very little- is easy. There's some sort of red tape. There's steps to take. There's hoops to jump through. Things take time. It is all part of the process. And if you are anything like me, that process often takes too long for our liking. We want things to happen faster and with less effort. We want to speed up the process, cut corners, and get the result with the least amount of interruptions and complications. Our society has conditioned us to believe that quicker is better and that waiting is a waste of time. For the most part we are impatient and frustrated with anything that is not instantaneous. But- God does not typically work on that time frame. He is not rushing around to accomplish things on a schedule like we are. He is Alpha and Omega- the Beginning and the End. He holds all time in His hands- the same time we keep tapping our feet to and watching the clock for. He is not phased by the hustle and bustle culture we have created. He is also not confined to or restrained by the processes and systems we have created by our own hands. He can and does use them sometimes, but He often works in ways that we may not even realize until after the fact....
If those things- licenses, jobs, houses, credit, degrees- if those things take time- if they are a process- why do we believe that our purpose will elude a process? It seems as though for most of us, we have this idea that our purpose is going to be revealed to us and/or completed in us in one big event in our lives. Like we will be living our lives day in and day out and then all of a sudden BOOM! Our purpose is going to fall from the sky right in front of us, or show up in neon lights on a billboard: Do this! Go here! Make this decision! Work here! Get this degree! Marry this person! Here is what you were created to do! It may sound silly- but that's how we live! That is the misconception that we have carried around for decades as a Church! That your whole purpose in life will be summed up into one grand event, place, thing, person, encounter, etc. I lived several years of my life as a Christian thinking along these lines. I had no clue what I was here for- what my purpose was. I had interests, abilities, areas I thought I would be good at or enjoy- but as for my purpose- the reason God put me here... I didn't know. Sort of like when we were children, or in high school maybe, and it seems like everybody is always asking what we want to be when we grow up? As if anyone actually knows then what it is they are going to actually be doing 10, 15+ years down the road. But the pressure to know is there. From others and from ourselves even. We pursue a plan in the hopes that we stumble into purpose and meaning along the way, and so many people never truly do. Many people end up settling at some point in time. Not intentionally, usually. It just happens. We get comfortable where we are, whether it is where we are supposed to be or not, and so we stay there far longer than we should. This is where I found myself....
I got married 4 years ago this month and relocated to a town over an hour away from where I had previously lived. I had a job, but not the job I wanted. It was one that was supposed to get me through college until I got a new, better, "real" job. But as so many people struggle with, finding a job with my degree was not an easy task. I have a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology- I know, I know. What is that, right?! It is exercise science... I mentioned in my previous post about changing majors in college while I was living through a really rough time in my life. I changed from being a Christian Studies major to being a Kinesiology major my junior year. Why, you ask? Well, when you are not right with the Lord and are not living like you should be, it is very hard to sit through classes on theology and scriptural study. I tried for months and was so disconnected from it all I was miserable and on the verge of failing several classes. It was then that I decided to major in Kinesiology instead, because my passion for all things exercise and health related was really blossoming at that point, and it got me out of all the Biblical classes that I wanted to avoid while living in sin. Again, it was about comfort and settling for what felt right at the time. There was no seeking the Lord in that decision. It was just what I wanted to do. Regardless, I graduated with my degree, got married, moved, and could not find a job. I had specific stipulations about what my next job had to have or offer, and when my expectations were not met, I quit looking and remained where I was... I settled.
During this time, I worked ridiculously hard at the job I had. So hard that I often missed church, fellowship opportunities, and quality time with my husband. It was an endless cycle of doing more, taking on more responsibility, more hours, etc. I enjoyed it for a while. It provided a substantial income and great benefits, so it was worth the sacrifices. Until it wasn't anymore. I thought I had really sought the Lord for what He wanted regarding a job, and when no job ever met my standards, I assumed that was Him wanting me to stay where I was. And I know that there was purpose in that season and there were reasons that I was there at that point in my life, but I had put God in a box. I had not surrendered the reigns. I wanted to tell Him what He could provide for me, and when He didn't, I chose to do nothing. I didn't seek harder, pray more, or explore other avenues. I just kept spinning my wheels right where I was, despite the physical, spiritual, and social ramifications. And when you do that, God will let you. He gives us the choice to choose, and He never chooses for us. But He also does not hold back the consequences of our disobedience. Often times, what we don't do is a greater hinderance to us than the things we do. I was coming up on 5 years at this job, and though I would like to say that my influence on the people there was great- many times their influence on me was greater. That is part of the reason why missing church and making sacrifices of what mattered most became okay with me, because of the company I kept by working so much. We cannot spend the majority of our lives around people who do not know and love the Lord and believe that it will not effect us- it absolutely does..
With that being said, misery begin to set in after some time. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. All aspects. I was not really doing anything well at this point. Not at my job, not at church, not at being a wife or friend. I was worn down, and it was due to my lack of seeking the Lord and being obedient. God will absolutely let you be miserable when you are wandering from Him and when you refuse to surrender to Him. So as we tend to do only when we hit rock bottom, I began to seek God again. I was running on empty in so many ways and desperate for relief. I had known in my heart for some time that I needed to leave this job. It was the root of all of the issues in my life- not because of the job itself- but because it was not God's will for me at that point to be there. I knew that. I did. But I was complacent. I was comfortable. I was stagnant. Dragging my feet in disobedience had stunted my spiritual growth and so I could not possibly succeed in any way in that state. So what happened as I began to seek the Lord again was just a renewing of the truth I had known for a while- that I had to leave the job. Everything in life is seasonal, and when the season is over, we have to let things go. Sometimes it's a job, sometimes it's a relationship, sometimes it's a place or a thing or an attitude or a perspective. But it is all seasonal and misery is always the result of overstaying our welcome in a season that has passed. And so when God confirmed that I had to let the job go, I logically believed that He would now provide a new job. You know, "when one God closes one door, He will open another one." That's what we always say. And that is true to an extent, but we don't get to bang on the door, barge through the door, or force open the door. He has to open it. When and where and how He chooses to do so is not up to us. So after a couple months of pleading with God for another job so that I could just get this whole ordeal over with, I had to accept what He was telling me to do: "Just leave." Go. Leave. Leave and trust. I was getting evicted from my comfort zone. With no plan of action, no interviews, no leads, no clue what was next.... I left. Scared to death. I sobbed all the way home from my last day of work. I had absolutely no idea why I had just left a job with no potential new job or means of income in sight. My husband, as supportive as he was, also really had no idea why I had done that. But he stood by me as we both sought the Lord and what He had in store...
I feel like this is where I need to make some clarification. When I say "purpose," I am not just referring to what you do 9-5 everyday. I don't mean what you get paid for. I don't mean what you went to school for or were trained to do. I mean what God put you here for. I mean the purpose- the reason for which you were created. I'm referring to a job because me neglecting to seek the Lord for a long time (years, really) regarding my purpose and His plan for me led to a lack of contentment and satisfaction in my job- as well as most other aspects of life also. If you are a Christian- if you proclaim to be a follower of Jesus- our ultimate, overarching purpose in life is to serve Him, love Him, love others, and make disciples. He tells us that in Scripture with the Great Commission in Matthew 28, and in Matthew 22 when He tells us that the greatest commandment is to love Him with the second greatest being to love others. So in that regard, we all have that purpose in common. Love God, love people, make disciples. But, how we each do that- the roles, time, callings, platforms... those things differ for us as individuals based on what He has created us to do. He has given us those things, as well as interests, passions, and abilities that will equip us to fulfill the more specific calling He has for each of His children. Everything we do is to be done for His glory, not our own. Running a business, flying an airplane, practicing medicine, cleaning toilets, preaching sermons, picking up garbage, raising children- it can all be done for His glory IF we do it with the intention of using that avenue to fulfill His commands and the Great Commission. Because in the world we live in, all of those things have to be done. So God does call people to do those things. They all matter and they all serve a purpose. But you can live your entire life and miss the specific purpose- the calling- that God has on your life if you do what I did for a long time- if you settle. If you decide that your plan is better than His, or if your goals and dreams are more important than His commands. I did that. I lived as though my purpose rose and fell on a job that in and of itself was not bad- there was nothing sinful or wrong about where I worked or what I did- but it was sinful for me to do something longer than God intended and sinful for me to disregard what He wanted for my life. That is where we usually drop the ball as Christians. It is easy to do in our society. We are pressured on all sides to get an education, a degree, and a job that will help us slide right into retirement and send us on vacation every year until then. And then we die. And if you do those things without doing it all the way you were created to do it and for the God who created you to do it- that is when we miss our purpose. That is when we take the focus off Him and put it on us. That is when we rob Him of the glory that only He deserves. I say all of this to say, God has a calling on your life, with a purpose for your life, that is bigger than a paycheck. Bigger than a title or a 401k. Sometimes our callings come with those things, and sometimes they don't. But when He calls and we obey, the reward is far greater than what we can ever accumulate on our own.
So, I left the job. Days pass. Weeks pass. I applied for every job I could find. I had a few interviews. Nothing really came of them. I went from living a ninety-to-nothing lifestyle to being completely still. And I would be lying if I said it was easy. It was honestly one of the hardest things I've ever done. I had been so, so busy for so long, and then I wasn't anymore. I didn't have anything on the agenda. I didn't have a full schedule. There wasn't shifts to pick or time clocks to punch. I got up everyday and watched my husband leave for work, knowing that I was not contributing to our income or being productive in anyway that I could see. I cried more days than not. I remember literally getting on my knees in my living room floor, begging God to show me what He wanted. I had done what He required. I left the job. I put the idol away. Because that's what my job had become. An idol. It was an all-consuming obstruction to what God wanted to do in my life and I was allowing it to be that. When we elevate things in our lives to positions they were never meant to hold, God will sometimes strip those things away so that we can see that we were not meant to live for them. He pried my idol- my job- out of my hands, and it hurt. It hurt because I was holding it far tighter than I should have been. I cried out to God day after day after day. I was desperate. I felt so lost because I had wrapped my purpose and my worth up in something that I no longer had, and when it got taken, so did my purpose and worth in my mind. That is why it is dangerous for us to place that kind of value on things that only God can give us. I had purpose and worth and value long before I had that job and if you're reading this and something comes to mind- a job, a relationship, a person, a role, a title, an object, anything- that comes to mind that you know you would feel that way if it were taken- like you would be without purpose or worth- please, please ask God right now to help you see and believe that it is only through Him that we get those things, and regardless of what we do or don't have in this life- we are still His and He can correct our perspective and change our hearts if we allow Him to. That's what I had to let Him do in my life. All those days I was crying out to Him began with me begging for a job- just give me a job, Lord. I need to have an income. I need to have insurance. I need to not be sitting at home everyday about to lose my mind... I just need a job. But that was not the case. I didn't just need a job. Or an income, or insurance. Or to not be bored anymore. God could easily have given me a job that provided those things but I would have been right back in the same position I had been with my other job. I needed a heart change. I needed a perspective change. I needed Him to remind me of some things that I had forgotten, and that is exactly what He did.
During this time- this waiting period I was in- I was reading through the book of Exodus. I LOVE the book of Exodus. And it was no coincidence that God allowed me to read that book in that season of my life. In Exodus, God leads the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt in an effort to bring them into the Promise Land of Canaan. They will eventually get there, but they spend 40 years in the wilderness before they ever get to the Promise Land due to their disobedience and lack of trust in God's plan for them. They don't understand why they end up in the wilderness for so long, yet they grumble against God and the leaders He has given them at every turn. For instance, while they are in the wilderness, they complain about the manna that He provided for them to eat. They long for the food they had back in Egypt, even though they were enslaved then. They complain that God has brought them to the wilderness to starve and die, although He promised to provide them with enough manna each day to satisfy their needs. His means of provision was intended to show them His great love for them and that He was more than capable of meeting their needs, but all they did was compare their condition in the wilderness to that of what they had while in slavery in Egypt. Rather than fixing their eyes on the Lord and waiting for Him to provide for them and deliver them as He said He would, they longed for what was comfortable and familiar. Sounds JUST like us, doesn't it? God was bringing them out of slavery into a land literally flowing with milk and honey, and they complained about the way He provided food for them along the way. He is always bringing us out of something and into something else. One season leads to another. One door closing does lead to another one opening- but in His time and in His way. That is where I was struggling. I didn't understand the timeline of what God was doing in that season. Much like the Israelites, I was waiting in the wilderness between what had been and what not yet was, due to my own disobedience, and I complained about being there. I complained about what I thought was God not answering my prayers. I complained and I wallowed and I whined. I was not waiting well. Most of us tend not to wait very well. We don't want to wait on God- we would rather do things ourselves. Our society has taught us that instant gratification is best and so we do whatever we have to do to get what we want when we want it. However, God does not work that way. The waiting He requires of us is always intentional, purposeful, and meaningful IF we let it be.
In my waiting, because of His love for me and patience with me, God began to change my heart. My perspective began to change. My prayers began to change. Day after day after day, I continued to cry out to Him for clarity and for answers and for direction, but not specific to a job. I began to long to see Him move. I began to long to hear Him speak. I began to long to get up in the mornings to see what else He would show me or teach me. I stopped complaining and I started seeking. I stopped wallowing and I started knocking. I stopped whining and I started asking. Not for a job, or provision. I asked God for purpose. I asked God for discernment. I asked God to clarify my calling. I asked God to do what only He could do. Because I had tried what I could do and it was failing. I was desperate. And God is perfectly okay with allowing us to become desperate, because desperation often drives us to our knees when provision and success do not. He could have given me a job, but instead He gave me wisdom. He could have given me an income, but instead He reminded me of who I am in Him. He could have answered my prayers like I thought He should, but instead He brought me back to my first love. He brought me to Himself. He ever so gently prodded me along this journey of waiting on Him so that when I got to the other side, when He did reveal what came next, I would be ready. I would not be the same person I began that journey as. I would not still be satisfied with busyness in exchange for meaningfulness. That's why He takes things from us. That's why He allows us to choose things over Him. That's why He allows us to go down roads that lead to nowhere good, so that we will come to a place of complete and udder surrender to Him alone. This life is not a both/and. It is an either/or. We cannot seek our will and His will. We cannot pursue our plans and His plans. We must follow our dreams or follow Him. We must surrender to the world or to Him. There is no fence riding in the life of a follower of Jesus, no matter how much we would like there to be. God broke me in that season. I felt like I had nothing, was doing nothing, accomplishing nothing, was nothing. Period. But that was a growing season. That was a faith-maturing season. That was a trust-strengthening season. That was a getting to know the Lord in a way I had only talked about knowing Him season. And as hard as it was, as lonely, as confusing, as restless as I was then, I would do it all over again to get to experience that kind of growth and closeness with the Lord.
As my perspective changed, my prayers changed. As my prayers changed, my heart changed. As my heart changed, God began to awaken some things inside my heart that had gotten stuffed down and grown cold. He renewed my love for people that I had allowed to fizzle out while being weighed down at work. He renewed my passion for serving others that I had allowed to burn out while living in a constant mode of hustle and bustle. I asked God to make me passionate about things He was passionate about, and He did. I asked Him to show me what I was put here to do, and He did. Because I had become passionate about things that did not matter and consumed myself with things that had little to no effect on His Kingdom. Busyness does not equate to purposefulness, and we can spend our whole lives being passionate about things that really don't matter. It doesn't matter how busy we are if there is no room in our lives for God to grow us or use us. We aren't going to get to the end of our lives and be asked how much money we made, or how many awards we won, or how many trips we took. We are going to have to give an account of how well we loved people and how we used everything God gave us to serve them and point them to Him. What took place in my heart and life as I began to truly seek God for God and not for what God could give me or do for me is hard to put into words. But I do know that when you earnestly seek Him, you will find Him. Every time.
About 3 months into this journey of seeking the Lord- truly seeking Him, I got the opportunity to volunteer at a local pregnancy center while I was still waiting for God's plan for some sort of job to unfold. I just chose to seek Him and the next right thing to do rather than to obsess about a job, and that was key to Him showing me what He desired for my life. I didn't stop asking Him for a job, but I did stop putting my stipulations of what that job could look like on Him. I did stop compulsively spending hours a day applying for jobs that I had no interest in whatsoever. I did stop asking for the job more than I asked for His will to be done. My prayer became, "Lord, I will do whatever you want me to do. Whatever that looks like, I'm in." I said it day after day until I meant it with all of my heart. Sometimes we have to tell our feelings the truth rather than allow them to dictate how we live. I felt a lot of things that were not true, but I had to stop acting on them and start acting on Scripture and holding onto the promises that the Lord had made me. Day by day, He would show me the next right thing to do. The next step of trust. The next way to obey Him that would lead to the next, then the next, and so on. We often ask for the "big picture" far before we are willing to "big picture" obey. God is a God of details and He is in the daily choices we make, which matter to Him just as much as the big, life-altering decisions we make. If we don't trust Him with little, we won't trust Him with much. So in my waiting, I began to volunteer at this pregnancy center. I didn't even know it existed until I saw a news article about it, and something really triggered my interest and God opened the door for me to begin volunteering a few times a week. During this time, I had also applied for a few jobs and was still praying about where God was leading me. It was a much healthier perspective on the situation, but I still had really no certainty on where He was taking me or what it was that I was supposed to do.
My first contact with the pregnancy center came several weeks after I had turned in my volunteer application. I didn't realize it would take that long to be contacted by them, so I had already spent a lot of time job searching before this opportunity came along. I got the call to come to the center for a volunteer interview, and I was so excited to finally hear back from them. The night before I was supposed to go to that interview, I got a call back from a job interview I had had a week or so prior to that, offering me the job I applied for. This particular interview had gone really well, but it was at a place I honestly didn't want to work at. It was in the same field as the job I had left, and I knew the schedule would still make it hard to attend church and family functions. Nonetheless, I had gone to not one, but two interviews there, and was quite flattered that they offered me the job so quickly. I accepted their offer right away and set a day and time to come complete paper work. Relief washed over me as soon as I hung up the phone. I had a job! Finally! After weeks of applying and searching, the search was over. Or so I thought... The next day, I went to the volunteer interview at the pregnancy center. So excited to have not one but TWO opportunities now on the books! All I had told the pregnancy center was that I could come volunteer literally any day of the week- my schedule was wide open since I was between jobs. Meeting the people that worked there was immediately like hanging out with old friends. The connection was really indescribable and there was an atmosphere there unlike anything I had experienced before. I was really in awe of who they were, what they did, and that I would even get to be a tiny part of it all. The interview there also went great, and they were excited for me for the job offer I had just gotten. I only needed to find out my new work schedule and then I could begin volunteering around that schedule. I left that interview initially just in shock that I now had an answer to all the prayers I had prayed and that the search was finally over.
Later that day, I tell my husband, my friends, anyone who would listen, really, about what had happened. The job offer and the opportunity to volunteer also. But as the day wore on, something was not quite right. There was this sinking feeling I had that I really couldn't explain, and I was confused as to why my excitement was fading. The following day I was supposed to go to my new place of work for paper work and uniform fitting. All I could think about was the pregnancy center and the people I had met that day. The way they had welcomed me without a second thought and the stories they told of the patients they encounter. The way they served and loved on women who were making major life decisions that would have ramifications for the rest of their lives. The way it felt like I had always known the women that I had just met for the very first time. I thought about it long into the night and could not fall asleep. I was so anxious and kept replaying the events of the day over and over. The sinking feeling that began earlier in the afternoon had really gotten heavy at this point, and I was even more puzzled that I felt this way. I laid there silently crying out to the Lord- also crying crying, like sobbing crying- to the point my husband woke up and thought I was sick or in pain because of the tears. I was again begging for clarification and discernment. I again asked God to show me what He wanted and reiterated that, "I will do whatever You want, whatever that looks like." By the time my husband woke up to the sound of my sobs, I knew. I knew what the problem was. I knew why I felt this way. God had met me there as I laid in bed, in the still, small voice that He so often uses to speak to us, and He met me with the same grace that He had weeks before when I began to seek Him like never before. He was leading, and I had a decision to make. He was giving the clarity that I had asked for, and I had to accept it or reject it. Once I was able to speak, while my husband is begging me to tell him what's wrong since I'm sobbing uncontrollably at 2am with no obvious reason, I said, "I can't take this job. I'm not supposed to work there. I'm supposed to be at the pregnancy center. I can't go tomorrow and get uniforms because I'm not supposed to be there. I can't do both." My poor husband, who has no clue what kind of revelation had just taken place in my heart as he slept, in the most encouraging, supportive way that he knew how said, "Yes, you can do both. You can work and still volunteer. I'm sure they will both work with you and your scheduling will allow for both. Don't worry about that. It will be okay. You need to get some sleep."
I couldn't, though. I couldn't do both. God was not calling me to both. He just wasn't. Again, nothing wrong with the job offer. But like I mentioned earlier, our Christian life in not a both/and, it is an either/or. This time, it literally was an either/or situation for me. The difference was that now, I knew what His voice sounded like. I knew the gentle prodding of His hand away from something that in and of itself was not wrong, but that was not for me. The discernment to see that not every offer is an offer I should take. To know that even though it made no sense, even though I had just been so excited, that even though this is what I had prayed for, or so I thought.... I had to walk away from it. I had to obey. That overwhelming sinking feeling that I couldn't shake, it was conviction. It was the Holy Spirit intervening in a decision that He saw me making that was not God's best for me. Without His intervention, I likely would have settled again. I would have still fallen short of the purpose and calling God had given me because I would not have been where He was wanting me. I knew that I had to tell these people that I could not accept the job offer, and I was so embarrassed since I had JUST accepted it. I didn't know how to even begin that conversation, so the next morning, after very little sleep, I called one of the women that I had just met at the pregnancy center. She is who I was supposed to contact once I knew my work schedule in order to get volunteer hours lined up. I call her and unleash the whole story of everything that has happened in the last 12 hours and of how I had come to the decision that I would not be accepting the job offer, and therefore would be free to come in any time after all. When I got through speaking, she is weeping on the other end of the phone, and my heart sank. So my tears began flowing again. She begins to tell me that she is crying because what I had just shared with her so closely mirrored her own story and how she came to work at the pregnancy center. She explains her own journey of seeking God in that similar situation and encouraged me to the same. When the call was over, I was to go tell the people that I couldn’t take the job after all, and go to the pregnancy center to begin volunteer training in a day or so. And despite me thinking that these people who had offered me this job would think I’m crazy, I went and sat down with them in the middle of their establishment and told them all about how I had come to that conclusion. And they looked at me and said, ”It’s okay. We want you to follow Jesus, and if that means you can’t work here now, or ever, it’s okay.” Y’all, the grace!! I was so overwhelmed with gratitude from the grace I had received from all involved in this decision, and I cried all the way home- still unsure of what God was doing, but very sure that I had to follow Him anyway.
About a day later I go back to the pregnancy center, and I have to tell the whole story over again for someone that hadn’t heard it yet-the director. I really thought that someone, somewhere was going to look at me and tell me that I am absolutely crazy, but somehow they never did. I finish stumbling through the story and she looks at me and pauses… and then she says, ”Well, we didn’t mention this the first time you came because we didn’t want to scare you off or assume that you would even be remotely interested, but we actually will have a position on staff coming available in a couple months, and Tuesday morning (a few hours before I first came and met them) is the first time that we had begun to pray for God to send someone to fill that position.” Only God does this! Only He orchestrates with this amount of detail and grace! I don’t think any of us had dry eyes by the time that conversation was over. They loved me and trained me and prayed me through that season of volunteering for a couple months, and when the time came, they called me in one day to offer me the job that I so graciously accepted, all while still in awe of all that God had done.
I hope you see that this is all about so much more than a job. It is about surrender and submission. It is about seeking the Lord, following His lead, and believing that He truly does have a purpose for each one of us AND that He will reveal that purpose when we seek Him. Because the whole time, He wanted my heart. He wanted my whole heart. And He didn’t have it when I had filled my life with things that left no room for Him. For me, that was a job. That may be something else for you, but the greatest advice I can give you is to ask Him, and He will tell you. You may be exactly where He wants you, doing exactly what you are called to do- and that is awesome. But from my experience, I feel as though many more people are walking around seeking purpose and meaning and worth and value in things that will never give them- because they can’t. Only the Creator gets to determine the purpose of His creation. I wish I hadn’t spent as long as I had wandering aimlessly through life seeking these things from these unfulfilling places, but I’m so thankful that God stopped me in my tracks when He did. It was one of the hardest seasons of my life, but one that I would do over and over again to be on this side of it knowing what I know now.
I have now been in my current postition at this pregnancy center for over 2 years, and the growing and stretching and trusting did not stop when I took the job. It morphed into a whole new kind of growing and stretching and trusting, because I felt extremely unqualified and insufficient to do this job. Satan had kept me comfortable and complacent for a long time, and then once I got to where God wanted me to be, Satan was only a few steps behind with his lies, accusations, and insecurities. He used my past. He used my fears. He used anything he could to try derail what God was doing in my life. Thankfully I was able to recognize his attacks- because of wisdom and discernment from God and because of the prayers of my coworkers- and I chose to stand on God’s truth rather than Satan’s deception. I had been deceived long enough. I had been deceived by busyness and comfort. Satan doesn’t necessarily have to drag us into deep, dark sin to hold us back from God’s best, he just has to make us tired, complacent, busy, and distracted. If he can distract us- if he can offer us the world on a silver platter to chase after- he’s got us. Any deviation from God’s plan will do. He is the author of confusion, and he is who makes us think we can ride the fence. That we can ”do both.” That we can do what we want and follow Jesus. That we can claim Him as Savior but not as Lord also. That as long as we are happy and content, we are okay. But let me tell you- happy and content don’t last outside the will of God. They may make an appearance, but they cannot be maintained when you are not in submission to the plan God has for you. And just like I was not, many people are not seeking the Lord. Many people are achieving goals and climbing ladders and never giving a second thought to their purpose or calling. But you have one. You have purpose. God has placed a calling on your life- that is not limited to what you do for a living, but that does greatly effect it- and you can know what it is.
My purpse in life is to fight for life. To proclaim that God is the Author of all life and that the life of every human- from conception to natural death- is created in the image of God and therefore has inherent value, worth, dignity, and should be respected as such. I didn’t just wake up one day and know this. Even when I accepted a job at a pro-life pregnancy center, I didn’t fully understand this calling. It was revealed over time, day by day, as I continued to seek the Lord and do the next right thing. To take the next step of obedience, no matter how big or small it felt at the time. That is still what I have to do now. That is what the life of following Jesus is about. Daily submission. We must work out our salvation, and we must work out our purpose. It will not likely come in one big revelation or event, but in the many small whispers of God when we quiet our lives and lean in to what He is saying to us.
I say all of this from a place of humble gratitude at what God has done and is doing in my life. The only boasting I can do is in Him, because I could have never accomplished anything worthwhile without Him. He gets to be front and center because it is all about Him- His power, His glory, His purpose. Just as purpose cannot be summed up to one thing or event, it is also not summed up by getting a certain job or completing a certain task. It is lived out daily in the little things and the big things. I’ve made many mistakes that, by the world’s logic and standards, should render me ineffective for this ministry and this calling. But the good news is that God doesn’t operate by the world’s standards. He uses the least qualified, least likely, most inadequate of people to accomplish His purpose. If He can use me, He can use anyone. All the things that I thought would count me out are the very things He is using to bring healing and hope to the people I get to love and serve everyday. Purpose is a process, and it is to be lived out daily as we walk with the Lord and follow where He leads. Wherever you are, whatever you’ve done, God still has purpose for you, and He desires for you to know Him and to accomplish great things through you. All we have this side of Heaven is the dash ”-“ between when we’re born and we when die. Every single day of that dash has purpose when placed in the hands of God.
Purpose is a process, and it is a journey worth taking.
Purpose is a process, and the Author‘s writing your story. Seek Him today.
Until next time,