Yesterday, as I was looking at Facebook, a video popped up. It told the story of a American who fosters children with terminal illnesses. He talked about how death scared a lot of people away, but that these children needed to feel love no matter how short their lives were. He has fostered over forty children. For him this was a calling – something that got him out of bed in the morning and that gave his life purpose and meaning. It wasn’t a chore for him, but something he did because he felt like he’d been made to do this.
Over the years one of my biggest problems has been that I was too busy thinking I had to be someone else that I totally missed the point that God had made me exactly the way He had for a reason. I had been striving trying to prove myself or trying to fit in when God simply wanted me to learn to be me. I would try to catch someone else’s vision and wonder why I couldn’t sustain it. It was only when I stopped fighting myself and started accepting who I had been made to be that I started to feel a peace deep in my heart and was able to rejoice in who He had made me to be.
We can make the mistake of thinking we need to be everything to everyone. Yes, sure there will be times when all of us can show kindness, mercy, or justice, but there will also be a gift that is so natural, stemming from your passions – so intrinsically a part of who you are – a God given gift. When you discover it, it makes such sense. It is your reason for being here, your God-given assignment.
Some of you will know that my big thing is ‘encouragement’. Encouraging people is not hard work or a burden for me. It comes naturally and gives me joy. Recently when I’ve been talking about it people have been pointing out how much I light up and how excited I get. I’m fulfilling what I was made to do. When I see someone in need of encouragement I feel God’s spirit move within me, leading me to reach out, send a note, call, or get alongside someone. Sometimes I get a real sense of urgency, and later they have shared with me that they had been in a bad place and being reminded that God loves them, or that they were not alone has helped them through that particular struggle.
It highlights the importance of knowing your calling and making space to listen to God’s prompts. Everyone has a unique gifting and we can make an amazing difference to those around us simply if we are being released into what God has created us to do. Don’t underestimate something because you think it is small and insignificant, or not in a ‘church’ environment. We are simply called to be who we are and where we are, allowing God’s love to shine through us. Someone recently said to me that they were simply average in all they did. What she didn’t release was that she excelled in making people feel welcome and loved. She had supported me and simply been there for me when others hadn’t. She’d loved me through all my difficulties but she couldn’t see how that was her gift.
So what is it that truly gets you excited, motivated, that makes you speak passionately or moves you to tears? What makes people stop and listen, and feel your passion bubbling over? What makes you righteously angry? What gets your blood boiling? What is the thing that you would roll up your sleeves and get stuck in at any moment because it is so natural, and something that makes you feel alive?
Maybe it’s seeing injustice, marginalisation of minorities, homeless people, lonely people or those suffering with depression. Maybe it’s a passion for working with troubled teens, a heart for feeding people, nursing people, or just listening to people. Maybe you are someone who creates the feeling of family wherever you go, someone with the gift of hospitality, someone who sees beauty where everyone else sees mess. What is it that makes your heart soar, and makes you tick? It doesn’t have to be a career – but a value, a gift within you that when you use makes such an incredible difference. Let’s not just sit there in righteous anger and frustration but be moved into positive action. Maybe, just maybe, this is part of your purpose of being here!
If we were all released into what we were made to do, just think of what an impact that would have on our world!
I pray that you would know your God-given purpose in your life and that as He releases you into your calling, that you would truly know His joy and incredible peace.