Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Purpose

Being at college has been an eye-opening experience. I witness people, passionate and motivated, pursuing all sorts of careers, aggressively planning their futures. Passion, motivation, and aggressive planning...these are NOT my strong points, and if that's what determines the success of my future, I should worry! My musicality, friendliness, and intelligence--qualities I prided myself on in high school--are inevitably surpassed by some of the amazing people I meet here. And with regard to my role within the body of Christ, many people are more gifted pianists, singers, pastors, or teachers than I will ever be. Its easy to feel that God will use me if I see some profound way in which I am usable, but here at college, my outstanding talents have been shown in a diminishing light, and this has led to a cascade of thoughts about my purpose.

I've always assumed that God created my life for a purpose. As a child, its often tempting to think that this purpose can fit inside a nice box, with clearly defined boundaries drawn in heavenly Sharpie. Into this box I will go, and toward it all of the events of my life move in perfect harmony, until--POOF, I'm in the box! I am a missionary in the farthest reaches of Africa, perhaps, or a physicist, studying the wonders of space. Even cooler, maybe an astronaut. Coolest of all, perhaps I compose lovely songs. :) In any case, I've finally reached my life's purpose, using the special abilities that God has given me in a unique way to glorify him. The problem is that this statement has the underlying assumption that my life heads toward one big block of "purpose," and I've grown to see that this is not the case.

God will use me, and he does have it all planned out. In a thousand venues in a thousand (mostly unseen) ways, he will use in me. True, I may never perceive it all as a perfect shape drawn in divine marker--in fact, it may seem wandering and strange to me--but that does not mean God doesn't (Israel enslaved in Egypt, then wandering in the desert, David hiding in caves, Nehemiah, Paul being imprisoned, beaten, stoned). Everything works perfectly toward the culmination of all his ends. He has a role for me to fill in every area of my life, and especially within the church. I am not called to understand what that is right now, I don't believe, but I am called to be faithful with what he has given me. I am to grow spiritually both in knowledge of the Scriptures and my personal walk with Jesus, and develop those gifts that I have. He has given to each member of the body of Christ so that each might contribute (1 Corinthians 12), and no matter what the contribution, each person is essential to the life of the church, and I will grow into that position, even if I can't see it now.

Am I curious what I will be doing in twenty years? Yep. Do I wish at times that life would be as simple as it used to seem? You know it. But for now, I'll keep pressing along, growing in knowledge of and dependence on God. After all, the less I understand, the more I need to trust him.


Kelsey said...

Thanks for the thoughts. I can empathize; just about everything I thought I was good at has diminished in value over the past couple of years. My intelligence, my ability in foreign languages...they've been dwarfed by so many others I've met, and I'm learning I can't let those things define me or rely on them for my future. I'm learning to (and struggling to) trust God.

--Kelsey S.

Jessica said...

This is a great note! It was actually, oddly, what I needed to 'hear' right now.

So often we define our life by some earth-shaken moment known as 'there.' When we get 'there' we will be used by God. When we get 'there' we will understand it all. When we get 'there' we will see how it all fit. Problem is, 'there' is Heaven and we're certainly not there. Life is about the journey to 'there' and bringing as many people 'there' with us as possible.

Instead of our life's purpose being bordered in heavenly Sharpie (love the analogy, by the way) we should liken it to a painting. A masterpiece far beyond the coloring books of children. We're talking Thomas Kinkade painting. Never quite finished, but in all stages beautiful.

Again, thank you.

~~And thank you to all four of you. People do read this, so keep on writing :-) ~~

Amber said...

Hey, thanks for the post! It's so true. This is something God has been showing me the last few years. Humbling, but good!!

I like the "heavenly Sharpie" idea. Hehe. It's a good likeness.

Also, I think it would be awesome to be an astronaut!! (I could be one, too!)

Amy Elisa said...

Nice post, Antho. This is so true. I remember discovering the exact same thing in college and being rather depressed by it. It's awesome to see that you've found a great prospective on it and are just going with the flow and trusting that God is leading you somewhere. He will. He always does.