There are about 5 years of my life that wouldn’t show up on anybody’s map. I held a variety of part-time jobs. Surrounded by others making a dent, I made a faint imprint. I had no visible ministry and, arguably, no impact. I had become the person I once judged. Pretty much lacking direction, my goal was survival.
I crouched behind excuses when people in the business world questioned why this twenty-something was working part-time (clearly halfheartedly, from their perspective). And I hid from people in ministry who were as perplexed as I was about my sudden down-turn.
I have a whole new level of compassion for those who are lost in a flurry of circumstances that leave them flat on their faces, wondering which way is up. Although this may sound dramatic, for someone like myself who likes to find purpose in even the way I do laundry, I was belly-up.
Prior to this time, I’d believed you were what you did. I lived for impact and judged myself (and others) according to how they were leaving their mark on the world. I just couldn’t get the person who didn’t know where they were headed.
And now, as I dig down a few layers, I see that much of this came from a deep insecurity.
I was what I did.
It was as if my day-to-day life was about populating a dynamically-updated CV which would one day be evaluated by God (and other people I respected)–who would stamp “worthwhile” or “wasted” on my life when it was all said and done.
I ran as hard as I could until the treads on my shoes ran thin. And then I ran some more on bare feet. (When you think your life will one day be measured by who it is you impact and what you do, you do whatever it takes.)
And who knew that God would show up in my weakest state? That’s where I found Him.
Or He found me.
He came in those 5 years, when all bets were off. No dreams, no visions for the future, no day-to-day goals to achieve beyond just making it. Getting by was enough for me.
It took about 2 of those 5 years for me to stop feeling guilty in conversations with friends or acquaintances who were passionate about their calling and wanted to persuade me to inherit that same calling for my own life. I could almost guess the question in their mind–because it was the same question I faced when I looked in the mirror … what are you doing with your life?
I moved from telling myself, over and over again, what was important for me in this time, to believing what was important for me in this time. I was coming to understand that the most essential thing I could spend my time doing was healing, resting and getting to know Jesus–like one who wasn’t to do anything for Him but sitting at His feet.
I found love when I was the most unlovely.
That’s when I knew it was real. Ever-so-slowly, I began to see that my life was already stamped “worthwhile” and the verdict was pre-determined. Loved. Cherished. Enjoyed by the God of the universe.
I can’t tell you how good it feels to stink up the joint on the field, yet feel like a champion.
Then, when I wasn’t looking for it–because I now didn’t feel the need to “have it” in order to feel important–it hit me. Dreams. Visions. Hope for my future.
Except this time it’s totally different.
As I lay awake in bed at night dreaming about caring for orphans, I could care less about who is watching. When I think about being deployed to make an impact for God on this earth, my secret hope is that no one notices but Him. I want my life to move His heart. Instead of a packed house, I want an empty auditorium with one VIP.
Sure, there are moments when the old hungry-for-the-report-card-day me creeps in, but the predominant theme as I walk the road of dreaming again … is that I just want Him. I want my life to make a difference, but not in a “I really need this to feel significant” kind of way. I want to move His heart, the heart that has already decided … I’m loved.
This is how I know it’s real.