“Where am I and what am I supposed to be doing?”
I have chuckled at myself uttering these words out loud to no one in the middle of a dizzying day. But I have also lingered over them more than once in deeper reflection – really, truly, where am I in this thing called life and am I investing my time and energy where it’s really supposed to go?
About a year ago, I heard an amazing woman speak about being wheeled into surgery as she battled cancer. Her comment was, “I no longer need to wonder what I will think on my deathbed. There were only two questions on my mind that day: have I done what the Lord put me on this earth to do – and am I taking everyone home to heaven with me that I am supposed to?”
Whoa. That certainly yanks it all into perspective! If these are the only two things that will matter to me in the closing hours of this life, how can I be sure now that my efforts are directed to the right places? What am I working so hard to achieve? And for whom am I working?
On this Labor Day – a day to recognize hard working people in all walks of life – I found myself lingering over a familiar verse from Psalm 139: “in Your book, they all were written, the days fashioned for me, before any of them came to be.”
My Creator God fashioned every day of my life long before He fashioned me and breathed life into me to fulfill that plan. He fashioned this day… today! So I found myself asking Him, “what work do You have for me to do today?”
I have often referred to myself as “jack of all trades, master of none.” I changed majors in college several times, have held all sorts of jobs, have dabbled in a myriad of different activities ranging from sports to hobbies to ministries to side businesses. In a way, you could say I’ve spent my whole life searching: “what exactly am I supposed to be doing?!” What did the Lord put me on this earth to do??!?
A big answer to that question came 18 years ago when my husband asked me to marry him. Another big answer came 15 years ago when I became a mom. I do not take lightly the task of cultivating a home environment that loves and serves my family and keeps us all looking to the Lord daily! But in the quiet early mornings, and sometimes even in the midst of busy days, I feel a tug on my heart to do more, to have a farther-reaching impact.
My Savior is real and precious and needs to be known! People all around me are hurting and broken and need someone to come along side of them, to notice them, to sit with them in their very real moments and tell them that Jesus loves them and wants to meet their greatest need.
That tug is always there. But how does it translate? As opportunities arise, I find myself asking Him again: “Is this what I am supposed to do? When an option is equal parts thrilling and terrifying, is this when I need to be brave and break out of my comfort zone in a bold leap of faith? Or am I called to be still and wait? What, exactly, was I made to do?”
A little bit of honest right here… those questions have hung large like neon lights over my head all summer. The weight of them has been very heavy at times. And here’s the thing the Lord gently brings me back to again and again – more than anything, He longs for me just to desire more of Him.
More than any of my doing, He wants my being.
He wants my heart to be fixed on Who He is, what He is doing, and what He longs for me to learn about Him as I stay close by His side.
A lot of my life’s searching – even to this day in desiring to reach others for Christ – has really been a deep-seeded longing to run free, to find that one thing in which I can finally soar to unknown heights. The world view around us feeds that hunger. “Just do it!” “Go for it!” “If you believe it, you can achieve it!” But really, when I take a closer look at those unrealized dreams and feel the pain of frustration or failure, I see the lie that pride feeds us.
It can’t ever be about me. Or about my dreams, however eternally significant they may seem. Any bold leap forward is pointless unless the Lord is leading the charge! I was created by God, for God, for His pleasure, to bring glory to Him (Colossians 1:16). Fulfilling that purpose will bring me the greatest joy!
After years of wrestling, I can finally, with sincerity, thank the Lord for not allowing any of those previous endeavors to truly “take off.” He loves me too much to let me settle for selfish ambition. He wants more for me. He wants me to hunger for and live in the blessing of His plans being realized – for they will always be infinitely more thrilling than mine! His plans will always succeed, will always deliver His very best for me, but more importantly, will always bring Him the glory He deserves!
So as I took advantage of this Labor Day to linger at the breakfast table in thought and prayer, the quiet exchange went something like this:
His gentle whisper: “You will finally run free when you stop trying to white-knuckle grip your own vision into focus.”
Oh… (long exhale)… ouch.
“You don’t understand what I am doing now, but You will.
I know you want to run free. I gave My life so you could run free. But first run to Me.
Come to Me all who labor [and chase their dreams, only to see them evaporate like the wind] and I will give you rest. Learn from Me, and I will bring rest to your soul.”
So what does that look like?
His gentle whisper comes again: “In all you could choose to do today, choose Me first. Whatever work I might have for you to do, start here.
Come to Me. Get lost in Me. And you will find yourself doing exactly what I fashioned you to do this day… and every day to follow.”
Yes, Lord. Draw me ever deeper into You, I pray.
Read more here! – Psalm 139 – John 13:7 – Matthew 11:28-30 – Ephesians 2:10 – Colossians 1:16
photo credit: Jillian Pratt Schooley
“Here I am to worship. Here I am to bow down.
Here I am to say that You’re my God.
You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy,
altogether wonderful to me!” ~ Hillsong Live
“You and I were made to worship, you and I are called to love;
You and I are forgiven and free;
When you and I embrace surrender, you and I choose to believe,
then you and I will see who we were meant to be” ~ Chris Tomlin