Who Am I?

God made each person uniquely and for a purpose. From before birth to the day of our death, God knows what we were made to do and wants to fill us with power to do it. He is building up His kingdom on this earth and He wants us to pour  ourselves into the building.

In order to do that, we must know how and what God made us to do. We have unique abilities and interests. We have our own ideas and perspective on things. The more we can identify and hone into what God made us for, the more fully we can step into the work He has given us.

The first step in knowing our abilities is accepting that the Lord gave us some. So many people feel that they have nothing to offer, or that their offering isn’t good enough. Every bird and every rock is known by God. He” keeps His eye on the sparrow” ((Matthew 10:29) and knows when they die. Your contribution is seen by Him and He is ecstatic that you are willing to offer it. Don’t let a human view of what’s valuable and what’s not taint your view of how much God values your abilities.

The second step in knowing your abilities is to accept that you may not realize what you’re truly good at, and may not even know that you do it. Some of our strongest traits are ones we simply feel like are a part of who we are. It’s just an extension of ourselves. We often assume that everyone does it and we’re surprised or even annoyed when we find that other people don’t do it the same way. These are signs that it’s an innate ability;something so fundamental to who God made us to be that we bring it into everything we do.

God has given you abilities He wants you to use for the good of all of His children. You must be willing to set aside your doubts and step into being who He created you to be. The fullness of Him, in us, is the power to work for Him.

Our own ideas of who we are can interfere with who God made us to be, if we haven’t submitted them to Him. God has a dream for each of us. One where we are walking hand in hand with Him, creating a world where others can be brought to Him. Our call is to step into ourselves – to know our work and purpose.

God is calling  you. He seeks servants who are willing to be who He made them to be. Let go of ideas and work that is outside of His will and find Him. Seek Him. Help others find Him in a way that only you can do. He created a path for you, and it is a good path. Trust Him enough to walk it.

What Do I Owe to God?

From the ground up, we have been made by God. He created us, spiritually and physically; He designed everything about us. He knows us and knew us while we were being created in our mother’s body (Psalm 139).

After our creation, we entered the world as a squalling mess of bodily fluids with nothing but our God-given instincts to survive on. Unable to live on our own, we depend on everyone around us to live and grow, whether born into a loving family or a mess called a family. The first years of growth and development led us to finally be able to talk, dress ourselves, and eat by ourselves, for the most part.

Mastering our body, connecting with our mind, and learning the process of interacting with others takes up most of our childhood years. Teenage years come, and we start to branch out and find out who we are and how we are going to live our own life – a life away from the environment that has been our support, good or bad, until then. Young adult years find us building a life with others, finding purpose and working to add value to the world.

Somewhere in these teenage, or young adult years, we begin to truly believe that we are the ones building this life – that we have scratched out our own way and this world created is ours. While it’s true that some people have worked harder than others, we all would have died in the first few hours of life without other people.

It is good to build a solid life, and it is good to work hard at work you enjoy. The trouble begins when we give ourselves credit for our life, our circumstances, and, most often, our successes. We did not choose our circumstances, whether they are good or bad. We did not choose our families, again, whether they are good or bad.

We also did not choose our talents and abilities. Part of life is discovering what you are good at, or at least what you enjoy. These are not abilities that you gave yourself; they are abilities that were innate in you when you were created, and you are now discovering them.

All of these things are from God: our lives, our bodies, and our talents. Everything we have is from God and given to us to build a life that connects with others He’s placed in our lives. It is important to keep before us that we are living as caretakers over a life that was given to us out of His plan.

Whether we like our life or not, whether we’re happy in our circumstances or not, God is the author of our days and our ways. He planned our good works  in advance (Ephesians 2:10); He is faithful to finish a good work in our lives (Philippians 1:6).

Trust, honor, and walk with Him, and come to know Him as the author of your story.

What Is the Meaning of Life?

The meaning of life is an age old question. What’s our purpose for this time on earth? Do our days and our choices mean anything? Our reaction to these questions can range from a resounding response of purpose and connection to a heartbreaking sob of hurt and separation. Knowing that life has a purpose, and that we can find it, brings us peace when life and its struggles can feel meaningless.

Struggles are a part of living. We are not perfect; we have all fallen from God (Romans 3:23). We also live in a cursed world that is waiting for God to free it (Romans 8:20-21). In that freedom we will find a place that is perfect and full of peace and rest, but it is not in this world.

When we meet God at the end of our lives, we will find out in that moment whether we have spent our time preparing for our time with Him or spent our time defining our own system of living (Matthew 7:21, Jeremiah 2:13). Instead of seeking our own way, we should be trying to build up a relationship with God in order to have eternal life with Him in the next life. (John 17:3).

Living within God’s system or purpose is to help others and seek peace for all people. This is the result of the two greatest commandments: love the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).

This seems so very simple, but living love out can be very complicated. Relationships are hard and people can be difficult. Listening to God daily is the only path toward connection with people and action in line with your purpose. Reaching out to others is the heart of connection. Action in line with your purpose is living out God’s will. Listening to God is the joy and power that allows us to understand our role as well as accept others and love them.

Part of loving others is to see them through God’s eyes. You will see their struggles. You will be able to accept God’s purpose behind their actions. You will also be able to accept who was brought to walk with you and who was brought to leave. Not everyone stays in your life, but each one can help you see God better.

God will never leave you. He is chasing you and wants you to find Him. Time spent with Him, whether in this world or the next, is what life is about.

Find him. Find your purpose.

The Valleys Sing For Joy - Psalm 65:13

Purpose Is a Joy

The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy. – Psalm 65:12-13 ESV

When I think about a picturesque view and see fields full of wildflowers and valleys full of crops, I don’t often think of joy as the emotion that I associate with it. However, when I stop and think about what these nature scenes represent, I can completely relate to the emotion of joy.

When a field is full of grain, whether it be in the middle of the season or full or ready to harvest plants, that field is living in to the utmost what God made it to be. These two verses show the earth allowing God to bring about good work and fulfilment out of them. They are achieving the things that they were created to achieve.

For me, I can relate to this in times when I’ve felt connected with what I’m doing. I’ve had moments when I knew that I was where I was supposed to be doing what I was supposed to do. These moments are so joy filled that it completely passes circumstances. Allowing God to fill my moments and direct my days means that He is directing my time and energy to fill up with the things that He uniquely created me to do. There is no greater joy than that!

As pleasant as these moments are, I hope to continue to grow in this awareness so that, like the scripture verse, I can put on joy (vs. 12) and I can join in the chorus of praise to God for His oversight and His blessings.

Finding Contentment in Work - Ecclesiastes 2:24

Finding Contentment in Work

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. … Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. – Ecclesiastes 4:4, 6 ESV

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? – Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 ESV

A full-time job is generally considered to be somewhere around 40 hours. Some work three 12 hour shifts, other work nearly constant overtime. But for the most part, we consider 40 hours to be full time, and the average commute (which actually varies widely, but we’ll just stick with averages for now) is 1 hour a day. That means we’re spending roughly 1/3 of our day working and commuting to and from there. Considering the large portion of our time we spend at work, we should definitely take some time to ponder the truth in Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes is traditionally thought to have been written by Solomon. There is no author ascribed in the book other than, “the Preacher”, a man who spends his life seeking wisdom. He talks about many aspects of wisdom and wise living, but he emphasizes work in many passages. In Ecclesiastes 4:4, 6 and 2:24-25, he views two different sides of work. While they may seem opposite at first glance, they are in fact simply two sides to the same coin. A truth, that when viewed in its entirety instead of its pieces, can help us choose to use our time wisely.

(Side note: in both the King James Version and the New King James Version, this is translated as, “a man is envied by his neighbor” instead of the other way around. I feel like the truth we’re after is there no matter who is envying who; I hope you agree with me on that one.)

In chapter 4 he tells us about the frustration and achievement that comes from envy. Can we be honest with ourselves? How many times did we pursue something out of jealousy or envy of someone else? Did they show us up and we had to do better? Did we think, “I could do that, and do it even better than they did”? Have we ever pursued something because we saw another person getting attention and success? Even if we didn’t pick the job we’re working out of envy, are we pursing a lifestyle out of envy? Are we striving after a certain look to our world or out of the expectations of having certain things?

When we think of envy, we often think of that boiling feeling in our stomach that makes us feel both angry and insignificant, sometimes referred to as “being green with jealousy.” There is another form of jealousy, however, and it’s the simple feeling that you deserve as least as much as someone else. It’s the feeling of missing out if they have something newer, better, or what you wanted to have. It’s that sense of, if they have it, so should I. Choosing clothes, cars, homes, or even decorations based on what you see others having and what you think you deserve. This can also be rooted in jealousy even if you don’t feel it in your gut.

So what’s the solution? Never buy anything again? Never spend time working for something that you want? No! Remember, we have two sides to this coin. The other side is from chapter 2, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.” God made you and knows you and wants you to feel like you have a purpose and that your work is good.

Are you choosing your work based on becoming the best version of yourself? Is your current job, even if it’s not the ultimate job, taking you on the path of becoming closer to God? There is no wrong work, as long as it is good, honest work. There is no job too menial for someone who has the heart of a servant. If you are seeking God, you may be surprised at the jobs you take, but it will always be to grow you and change you and help you to find meaning and enjoyment in your work.

Don’t settle for a paycheck because that what you think you’re “supposed” to do. Find a work that is in line with who God made you to be and learn to find joy and contentment in that work.