Do me a huge favor and compare these two lists 🙂
-Wrote a Christian book about overcoming Anxiety Disorders and one about Peaceful Living
-Wrote a Christian Blog
-Started a Christian business making soaps and put little Bible verses on the tags
-Start a mission to make blankets for the local Pregnancy Support Center
-Raised ducks and chickens for eggs to give to the local food bank
-Spent hours on a Christian women’s forum every day offering counsel and advice
-Offered home for Ladies’ Tea for the women of the church.
-Worked in Emergency Management and butted heads from time to time with the boss (do not EVEN get me started on the Great Document Formatting Debacle of Two Aught Twelve 🙂 )
-Posted prolifically on Facebook—mostly geeky things, but a few “deep thoughts” and neat Bible stuff and REALLY awful puns
-Was a pretty good mom and wife, but sort of a lousy housekeeper
-Went to the wrong restaurant when meeting up with two other godly cousins to exhort each other
-Made some blankets for Christmas for nephews
-Introduced self to another woman in the archery section of a local store to get together and shoot
-Invited friend over to watch Marvel movies.
Which of these two lists seems like the most purposeful, the most used by God?
Ok, this is obviously a trick question, and you probably figured that out and guessed List 2, and you are right!
Both lists are “me”. Both lists are things I have done. The first list was my “Going To Do Great Things For God” list. The second list was things I just sort of enjoyed or wanted to do or found myself doing.
Let me tell you how these lists worked out:
-One book is free and one is for sale and both may have reached MAYBE 20 people together
-Blog was ok but no real reach
-Business worked for about a year, but the local area was soon saturated
-The local pregnancy resource center actually turned my blankets down because they had another group of women whose “mission it was to make the blankets”
-I never really had enough eggs to make donation worthwhile and the food bank said to just keep them
-My hours spent on counseling and advice was pretty much a huge drama fest and took time away from family, though I did make a friend or two
-Still have not had any takers on my “Ladies’ Tea” at my house.
-My boss, three years after I left, sent me a text out of the blue stating how much I had inspired him to be a better husband and father
-Compliments about how much some of my fb posts have encouraged someone reach me from time to time
-While my housekeeping style is most accurately described as “There Appears To Have Been A Struggle”, my husband and children feel well loved and, praise the Lord, our house is one of peace and rest
-God worked out that wrong restaurant incident so that I could have time with a lonely old man who needed a bit of cheering
-When I sent my blankets, my nephews were sick. One of them had pneumonia. When the box of blankets were opened, he grabbed one and went right to sleep for the first time in days.
-That woman at the archery store ended up being one of my best friends. At the beginning of our relationship, I encouraged her in her walk with the Lord, which spread through her family. Nowadays, her deep, amazing faith feeds me when I am weak.
-My friend was recently widowed and the Lord used our time together watching sci fi movies to bond us so that my husband and I could ease her burden like take her to appointments and fix her tractor.
You see, I had spent much of my life looking for “My One Big Thing I Am Supposed To Do”. I took inventories and prayed and made list after list of my talents and abilities. I am actually pretty talented in a few areas, and I wanted a “thing” I could hold in my hands and say with confidence (and with that oh-so-proper touch of piety): “Why yes, I am that incredibly famous Christian author whose books are in all the women’s Bible studies…All for God, you see, all for God.”.
Every time I tried To Do Something Great, it failed. Every time I just lived my life, the Lord worked out these amazing moments where He could reach folk without my pride getting in the way. In fact, nothing I did “on purpose for God” (except obey His commandments, of course) really worked out. I think that is because anytime I try to do “Great Things For God”, my subconscious emphasis is on me. My great things that I do for God with My talents and My calling.
It’s like Paul. Paul was a tentmaker. Yes, he wrote much of the New Testament, but he was not A Great Writer. That wasn’t his “calling”. He probably didn’t sew little crosses in the edges of his tents (well, he might have, but that apparently was not important enough to note in the Word).
No. He did his work according to his ability (making tents) BUT he loved God and loved people and showed people the way to Christ.
THAT was his calling.
Think about that.
Your calling is to love God. Love people. Show people the way to Christ.
Your calling is not to write a lot of books or sing a lot of songs or make a lot of money in a Christian business. Oh the Lord might let those things happen, but that is not your calling. No, it really isn’t.
Your calling is to love God. Love people. Show people the way to Christ.
You can do that just as easily as “just a mom” or “just a wife” or retired or as a student or as a cashier at McDonald’s. The Lord will move the people into your life that He wants you to talk to. He will move you into the spheres He wants you to work. All you have to do is keep your heart close to Him and let Him do His thing.
Does this mean we are not to use our talents? Of course not. We are to be excellent stewards of all the resources He has given us (that includes being just as good of a steward at doing laundry as it does writing a best seller–both the laundry and the book will be burned up eventually and only our love will remain).
It DOES mean that we are not to seek our identity in our abilities. We are not to think we need to elevate ourselves with our talents. It means we stop looking for our “calling” in what we do, but rather in Who we love. No more identity seeking in anything but Him. No more searching for titles or “purpose” if that purpose is anything but loving Him and loving people.
Yes, we are to use our resources, including our talents, wisely. If you write, write. If you sing, sing.
However, our talents are never our calling. The calling is to love God and love people and show them the way to Christ.
Are you ready to trust Him in that? Are you ready to make your calling today to simply Love God and Love People? Are you ready to smile at every cashier, even the ones who are sullen and grouchy? Are you ready to wash dishes or do taxes or chat with your child about math without getting irritable? If you are married, are you ready to give your husband a big hug and a little wink? Are you ready to let the Lord move in your every day, in your mundane, so that all the glory goes to HIM and not YOU?
Are you ready to seek ways to be more loving, to let your “gentleness be evident to all”? Do every kindness you can, every moment you can to every person you can with all the love of God that you can? Live your life with your eyes on Jesus and your hands open to help others and let the Lord do the rest?
That is your calling. That is enough.
**Note: If the Lord is calling you to step out and do something, do not allow this post to encourage you not to. You obey the Lord.
However, for myself and I bet many others, it is not that we are reticent to do something big, but that we YEARN to do something big to fill a hole or soothe an anxiety instead of just doing what the Lord has put in front of us. 🙂
So do what you need to do–big or small–as long as your identity and trust is in Him 🙂