Christmas is near and most of us are gearing up for a holiday spread or putting gifts under a tree. Today though, I want to ask you one question, what are you doing with the gifts God has given you for the world? Each of us was birthed for a purpose and we are literally God’s gifts to the world. We often focus on the outer wrapping, but today I want you to look inwards and ponder this question for a minute, “What am I supposed to do?
I remember years ago when I shared an apartment with my friend Ndidi, I was working in a career that I knew I didn’t plan on staying in for long and she was in business school, a landmark on her life map that she had showed me years ago in the bridging year before college. She seemed to know exactly what she would do in this life. She had something she had written up and pasted on her wall in her bedroom. God – Family – Friends…(I think, but she was not at the top of her list, that I remember. God was always in that spot and for as long as I have known her, that has never changed). So it should have come as no surprise that when one day I expressed my frustration with not being happy with my work and was trying to figure out how to find the passion or purpose that would make me happy that her response was “I think you should pray and figure out how you can use your talents to serve God in the world”. A very characteristic response. And my response to her words was also very characteristic in those days…I rolled my eyes. I needed practical advice, I thought and said. Give me a workshop, give me a class, give me a book…but prayer, how I can serve God in the world? Goodness. Give me a break.
Ndidi shrugged her shoulders and went to her room to study. She had said what there was to be said, what I did with it, well that was my business. And so I floated for a bit. Writing. Makeup. Writing. Socializing. Writing. Loving. Writing. Parenting. Speaking. Communicating. Writing.
I had dreams of being an author…I know now that if I dedicated more time to honing the craft that perhaps I could be quite an accomplished fiction writer. Yet today, it is words like this that push through me and force me to write. I have some uncompleted fiction projects which I work on but these days I am in a slightly different space.
Ndidi even now is probably nodding her head and saying “God is going to use you! Get up, do what you were born to do. The world needs YOU!”
I read Rick Warren’s words saying “you cannot arrive at your life’s purpose by starting with a focus on yourself. You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God–and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.” I found myself nodding in agreement, because while I cannot articulate completely with a title or a corporate job what I feel my life’s work is, now that I have aligned my life with the submission and the commitment to work for God in this world, I find peace and purpose.
When you speak like this, expect to have hecklers. Someone once said to me, I should stick to my religious rants…or something to that effect. It was meant to be condescending, I think, because I guess it came from an self proclaimed intellectual, but like Ndidi, I shrugged. Because I knew what I knew now, way down deep. Lessons hard learned. Through blood, sweat and tears.
Walk with God, work with God. The only way to go. When you allow yourself to see your purpose in the divine master plan then you can flourish in a way you would not have foreseen. I consider myself yet to bloom even. The plan is big, the plan is intricate. Sometimes it can seem intimidating to consider yourself part of that plan. But you are. You are. Every interaction you have today is part of a plan and at that point you have a choice…what can I do today to walk with God. To work with God.
This path is not necessarily easy. Flourishing for me, doesn’t mean a luxury lifestyle and a life devoid of pain. For this is not even true in my life today, but flourish is described as “growing well, thriving, to develop in an impressively successful way” this is true and will be.
I read a book called the lineage of grace and it changed my thinking on being part of God’s plan. It may not be easy. In fact it maybe painfully hard sometimes but each life is key to the plan, if only we will align ourselves with it. And as we align ourselves with that plan, then the grace to walk with God, gets us through and to our destination. It changes our focus and perspective. We are released from the bondage of trying to fit into a world that may not understand us, released from trying to keep up with Jones who don’t know our name. Released from looking for love from people incapable of showing it to us. Released and set free to set our own path, even if we have to blaze it ourselves.
Walk with God, work with God.