Monday, July 9, 2012

Am I Significant?

Personally, 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 we go about making that difference, and how to figure out how wide a net to cast in our endeavors are the things that hang most of us up.

In our society, we flit from one activity to the next, getting caught up in the busyness of life, and for lack of time to actually figure out what to do that will honestly 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 while we are here on earth.

Right now, at church, I am participating in a Rick Warren Bible study that focuses on finding our dream.  Check that - finding God's dream for our lives.  I have begun to hone in on a dream that has long been peculating in my mind and heart.  I know what I love to do, and in all humility, I think I have something worth sharing, a gift, if you will, that can be used in a positive way in God's Kingdom. How far I want to reach, and how big a leap of faith I am willing to take, are still unanswered questions.  Fear often holds me back.

I have felt God stirring me for quite some time, as I just mentioned. As a matter of fact, I remember, as far back as my teenage years feeling God stirring me toward some sort of ministry.  Not traditional, preaching from the pulpit ministry, but more in the Shelia Walsh, Beth Moore support-a-fellow-Christian sort of way (I understand how arrogant that may sound, that I believe I could make an impact like they have, but who are these women, besides children of God, being used for his kingdom; ordinary people, just like me). I have long pushed the dream to the side though, because I lack confidence in myself, plus I was busy making my own way in the world. 

For many years, I never stopped to wonder if I was doing what God wanted me to do.  Now that I am older and a bit more sure of myself, and perhaps 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, most selfishly, took along the way, have been shaped by God and became part of the picture.

Even though I  now see the outline of the connected dots, the picture is far from finished. I still have plenty of work to do before I 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, things aren't moving fast enough, or I reach a dead end, or, as happens to the most faithful, encounter a Negative Nelly - a person who questions our motives completely.

 I am, still  at my age,  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 recently, I encountered a moment of grace and encouragement from a very dear friend, exactly at the right moment. She and I were chatting, and she shared with me some of the most supportive words a person could 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, coined by whom?  I don't know, is this: Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet. I daresay he never will be finished, but I can see that he keeps adding a few more clearly traceable lines to the picture.

 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 and time. Luckily for use, he does give 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 unsure 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 the life of someone else, 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