Monday, May 17, 2010

Am I Significant?

I want to matter. I want to be significant. I want to leave my mark on the world. Am alone in this wish? I think it is pretty universal. I think we all want our dash to mean something more than sheer existence. How to go about making that difference and how to figure out how wide a net to cast in our endeavors are what hangs most of us up. We flit from one activity to the next, get caught up in the busyness of life and for lack of time to actually figure out what to do to really matter in the world, we just coast through life. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, but it sure sounds more fulfilling to hunt for and achieve our destiny; to make a difference.

Last month I was lucky enough to take a week off, be by myself, and focus on nothing but me. It was a wonderful time of reflection and healing. I feel like I made some discoveries, but I still have not found that little 'thing' I'm looking for, the thing that I really, truly love doing that I feel is worth sharing and making a difference while doing so. Well, that's not all together true. I know what I love to do, and in all humility, I think I have something worth sharing. How far I want to reach, and how big a leap of faith I am willing to take, are still unanswered questions.

I have felt God stirring me for quite some time. As a matter of fact, I remember feeling that stir as a teenager. I pushed it to the side though, because I had no confidence in myself, and I was busy making my own way in life. I never really stopped to think if I was doing what God wanted me to do. Now that I am older and a bit more sure of myself, and am a tad more discerning, I am starting to see the dots that have been placed on my life's page and I can imagine how they are all connecting to form a lovely picture. Even the detours I selfishly took along the way, can be shaped by God and become part of the picture.

Even though I can pretty clearly see the outline of the connected dots, the picture is far from finished. I still have plenty of work to do to truly see the pattern; it's still fuzzy around the edges, with some lines leading nowhere. I feel as though I am straining with all my might to bring it all into focus and I just can't quite make it clear. I admit, at times I get discouraged because things aren't clear, the aren't moving fast enough, or I reach a dead end, or I encounter a Negative Nelly. I am still not very patient, nor am I sure enough of myself to completely blow off mean comments and negative people. Oh, how I wish I were. What amazes me in this process, however, is that when I am experiencing times of discouragement, someone or something will invariably come along to prop me up. That is grace at work, right there, I believe.

Just the other night, I encountered a moment of grace and encouragement from a very dear friend, just at the right moment. She and I were chatting and she shared with me some of the most supportive words a person would ever want to hear from a friend. It really touched my heart, and it crystallized to me that I am significant, even if it is only in my small circle. I would love for that circle to open up and become larger, with branches going in all directions (remember the pretty picture I mentioned earlier?) but if it doesn't, I will be content with that. God can use me either way.

One of my favorite quotes, from whom I don't know, is this: Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet. I daresay he never will be, but I can see that he has added a few more clearly traceable lines to the picture recently. Ever hear the song You Can't Hurry Love? Well, you can't hurry God, either. He takes his own time and makes everything come together in his own way. Luckily, he does give us glimpses of the (sort of) finished product so that our discouragement doesn't become too great a burden for us to carry. I am still not sure what the long-term future holds, but for now, I just grab hold of those precious moments of encouragement and thank my God for the people whom he has placed in my path to give me the little boosts I need along the way. Hopefully, I can be the booster in someone else's life, as well, as they are trying to find their own significance. It's the most we can do for one another, I suppose.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers, for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel, from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he would began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 1:3-6