Each day there is a truth that no one is exempt from. The truth that we have the same amount of hours in a day, same number of days in a week and so on is one of the non-negotiables we are afforded while under the sun. However, I feel there is a great necessity in evaluating how we spend that time. How is it that so many people are living their lives to the fullest? To the fullest I mean with purpose, productivity, and within the parameters assigned to them individually; and yet others remain idle, or unproductive? It is a fascinating tragedy to me. One that I feel needs attention. A danger to be treated with a posture of delicacy but closely tethered to a serious urgency. Although the time allowed in each day we are given is the same, the number of days for each of us are unknown; they are numbered. In Job 14:5 we are reminded that, “…you know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set.” We all have an expiration date.
A conversation I find myself in regularly with others is one that is housed around an idea of purpose. Statements of “what is my purpose” or “I am waiting to discover my purpose, for now I am just waiting” are on repeat on the hearts of so many. I too have been in this place! This place of idleness that I have ignorantly labeled as waiting. With my personality, and enneagram identification of being a ‘8’, I have also found myself to be busy yet not fruitful. Days that I have exhausted myself and my efforts, believing that I am walking in the light of my purpose yet come home overspent, overstretched and empty. Days that I would replace discernment in decision for a spontaneous yes. Believing the lie that because I can I should. Should-ing on myself. By the end of the day, my spirit was empty and my soul thirsty. I was operating out of a place of exercising my free will, versus using my free will to CHOOSE God’s will.
There are so many people in my life in transitional periods right now. Transitioning from places of employment at home, to contemplating joining (or rejoining) the traditional workforce, friends in the process of adoption (alllllll sides of this process), friends whose marriages are struggling because they are so tired, too tired, to invest in them. Friends that have found themselves so wrapped in child rearing that their identity has been confused, and they have built it on motherhood alone. It is back-to-school season, the littles are leaving and these mama’s are being left with the harsh reality that they have been starving their hearts for the five years leading to their child’s first day of kindergarten. The day is here and they realize their purpose, or their why, was solely based on their child(ren) without regard to their own needs. I cannot begin to count the tears shed over the hurting hearts of friends who have realized that “all of the sudden he is in junior high, Lindsay? Where has the time gone?” One woman of a now high school graduate even shared with me, “If I could share one piece of wisdom with moms of little ones, it would be that when I look back I regret that I worked so much. I know that I would have never looked back and said, I wish I would have worked more. Oh if I only knew then what I know now…” It is heartbreaking. Yet, there is work to be done here. We can learn from the wisdom of those who have gone before us, and start right where we are. I firmly believe this to be true.
How many people every day have a day that is similar to this: get up, rush to get the kids ready and out the door, show up to your job, groan nearly the entire day because you are miserable, watch the second hand tick until you are able to clock out, mentally shuffle through the ‘have-to’s of the evening that have you exhausted before you walk in the door, cook dinner, clean up, pick the shortest book possible for bed, and collapse at the end of the cycle. Only to be reminded that is is Monday, meaning there is four more days left of this cycle. The cycle that has trapped you into believing this is what you HAVE to do. This is what you SHOULD do. I know I have been able to say this more times than I can count. There is a remedy for this; and it is free to you.
We frequently tell our children, “You were born on purpose, with great purpose, for a purpose.” I believe this to be true for all of us. The purpose for our lives is to live, serve and glorify God. This does not mean perfect church attendance, leading or participating in small groups or serving in the community for a photo-op once a month. Serving God is showing up, yes indeed. However, it is the where, when and how’s of showing up that matter. Where your heart is while doing it. It is imperative that we learn how to surrender our agenda to God, to allow him to reveal to us what He wants from our day. What he wants to do with our time- right down to the minute. We must remain open to the divine interruptions that can (and will!) change the course of our day(s); but even greater is when we see the fruit of it changing the course of our lives. Instead of showing up to a job that you hate, out of provisional fear, you have the choice to show up to what God has called you to do out of faith in His promises. The conversation of “I am so miserable at my job, but it pays the bills” breaks my heart. Breaks my heart because I know how joy robbing it can be. Your life is more than just paying bills! What do you dream of doing? What is it that sets your heart on fire? In all of us, there is something, each one of us. The idea that just does not go away. That yearning for something that is begging to be fed and fulfilled deep in your bones but is neglected by the busyness.
If you are in a situation, or more than one, that looks like something mentioned above you are NOT alone. If someone is not living in it, I can assure you most all of us have at least experienced it at one point or another. I encourage you to get real with yourself. Sit down with yourself and ask those hard questions. Dig below the surface. After tiling, all of that up, I then encourage you to take all of this to God. Drop to your knees, and with all that you have uprooted, sifted and sorted, the ‘mess’ that you sit in that He already sees- present it to Him. Ask for wisdom and discernment for you next steps. Submit yourself to Him, and His will for your life. Agree to use your free will in faith of His will for your life. Can it be scary? Yes! Does it seem confusing or hard, oh yes! Yet I promise you it will free you in a way you have never known. It may be getting yourself educated and prepared for something you have waited your whole life to do. It may look like a mountain to climb, and you do not even have your bag packed. It could even be something less drastic in comparison, but life changing to you if implemented. Yet, as you agree to step out in faith into the life God has called you to your work will slowly stop feeling like ‘work’, or work as you know it now. It is not something to be dreaded. Not something to be loathed. For we were made for work. Work of all kinds. Most specifically, work that the LORD has designed us to do.
So friends, have you had that check-in with yourself? Do you even know what makes your heart beat a little faster, or gets you excited when you start dreaming about it? If you do not, that is okay. The LORD wants to work in that too! Although he delights in giving us things so freely, He is a God of participation and action. Therefore, we must be ready to do the work WITH Him. Ready to hand him our good to be transformed by Him into great. Ready to show us the hallway of options, and grant us the discernment to which door to open. Rather than leaving us to run down the hallway of doors opening and closing, them with the constant cycle of “excited, rushed, unfulfilled and disappointed” He is waiting to show you the ONE door that has your name on it. All it takes is ONE step. Even one small step. The world is waiting for you to fill your designated place in it. Right now, that position is vacant.
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