Friday, November 30, 2012

Discerning my calling

Cliché or not, what IS the purpose of my life?  As Christians, we believe that we are created in God’s image for the sake of serving and glorifying Him…. But how exactly do we do that?  Alex and I agree that it’s by being grateful for His many blessings, celebrating life, and helping others to do likewise.  Of course, I’m talking here about true joy, the kind that comes from an inner peace and a genuine appreciation of one’s life, not what the world would have us believe is “happiness”.  

Financial wealth, career accomplishments, fame, physical beauty…. None of these are permanent, so none can bring true joy.  We cannot be happy if we look to things that pass away for our happiness, and only one thing is eternal: God.

That sounds all well and good, but what does it mean in practical terms?  

God gave us certain desires and abilities for a reason; we are to take advantage of them as we follow the yellow-brick road to God’s will for our lives.  It’s not a matter of “just being happy”, as if it’s a matter of flipping the correct switch and nothing more. We need to be living towards something, and to do so, we need to have a plan.

Ok, so here goes.  First, what desires has God placed in my heart?  Well, there’s the obvious, ongoing desire to be a mother. There’s also a desire to contribute to society in some positive way.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about how raising godly children would do just that, but of course there’s other ways to contribute. 

Also, if I’m being perfectly honest, I like being appreciated; it feeds my self-esteem.  Perhaps this stems from being bullied when growing up, where my peers made me question everything my family had tried to instill in me up to that point.  

Lastly, I long for peace and quiet.  I know what some of you may be thinking – good luck getting much of that as a mother!  I didn’t say that the desires we have cannot contradict each other.  There must be a good reason for wanting both things. Right?

As for gifts God has given me… I tend to have trouble with this, because I’m instantly afraid that an acknowledgement of any gift will come across as undue pride or immodesty, and that is not my intent at all.  But the truth is, if I’m made in the image of God, then surely I must have some redeeming qualities that are able to reflect His glory.  

There are two main things that, after much self-reflection, I believe are my main gifts from God: writing and teaching.  I don’t think there’s anything I do better than write, which is not to say that I write perfectly, just that of the gifts that I do have, this one ranks #1. 

In a close second I believe is my ability to teach adults.  My experience has been in teaching ESL (English for Speakers of other Languages), but I have also been told in other contexts that I was able to explain concepts that were previously inaccessible to others (assuming I had a firm grasp of the topic at hand, of course.)

With that said, what remains is the need for a practical application of these realizations into concrete life goals that will satisfy the desires God gave me by utilizing the gifts from Him.

What are your heart’s desires? What are your skills and talents? Based on this information, what do you believe God is calling you to do with your life?

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