Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Place

As my husband roared with laughter, I turned to look at him in genuine shock. "What? Why are you laughing?" I asked in puzzlement.  "You just said you needed a weekend retreat! Why do you think you need a weekend retreat?" he asked, still laughing.  "Well, because I do," I replied back matter-of-factly as I dramatically threw myself down on the bed.  With my face buried in pillows, I tried to explain in the most theatrical tone I could muster. "I'm confused," I whined, voice muffled by the pillows cradling my face.  "About what!?" he asked as he unsuccessfully tried to contain his laughter. "Stop laughing. I really need to have a weekend retreat out in nature where I can just pray and ponder and figure everything out" I said. "What do you need to figure out!?" he asked in bewilderment as he leaned down to patronizingly caress my hairOrdinarily I would have slapped his hand away and told him to stop the condescension, but I was so entrenched in my own pity party, I couldn't even find the strength to make him stop. "Everything!" I cried as I threw my arms out in exasperation, knocking pillows off the bed in the process.  "God is just not making things clear enough," I said, and to which Sam replied, "isn't He though?"  "Ooohh....clever response," I thought to myself, and although I was tempted to give his answer consideration, I decided instead to continue building my case.  "No, Sam, He's not. If He would just come right down here and tell me what to do, I would do it, but He keeps changing things up on me and throwing weird things like my current job into the mix.  Moreover, I'm not making money doing what I love and what I know He has called me to do, so how can I put my entire self into the ministry when 45 hours a week I'm working somewhere else! It just doesn't make sense and God just isn't giving me direction!" and with that I exited my own stage and waited expectantly on him to agree...or applaud...or request an encore.  He didn't.  Instead, he said what my heart already knew - "until you embrace where you are and learn to love it and work at it as God would have you do then you're never going to find your place because it will always be the next better thing around the corner.  Your place is right here, right now."

I wasn't kidding about the weekend retreat. I really do want to get away and into nature somewhere peaceful and serene, but perhaps I can spend it giving thanks to God rather than complaining to Him about what He's not doing clearly enough for me in my life.  Towards the end of last year I was finally given something that confirmed what, in my heart, I knew God wanted.  I've known for some time that He was calling me into ministry, but up until I met with Full Armor Ministries founder, Jim Shuck, I couldn't figure out what my call to ministry actually meant.  "Lord, do you want me to become a .....p a s t o r?" I asked one time, trembling in fear that His answer would be yes. It wasn't.  It's not that I wouldn't love to lead a congregation somewhere, it's just that I prefer a more behind the scenes type of role that doesn't involve getting up in front of a crowd of people and speaking.  Ironically, I can write publicly to the world about the most personal inner depths of my own life, but I get to do it from the comfort of my home while I sport sweats and a tank top.  You can't see me and I can't see you so it works.  Ask me to join all of you in a crowded room somewhere and put me on a stage, I would probably throw up and then run out of the room crying.  I just prefer to work behind the stage curtains rather than in front of them.   Who knows, maybe one day God will pull me out to center stage, but for now I'm quite content with where I am, at least as it pertains to my positioning behind the curtain.  As it relates to everything else, I was, up until my husband reminded me, completely uncertain about my place in the world.

Leading up to that powerful moment of truth, many of my questions to God were along the lines of "God, what do you want from me?" "Lord, where do you want me?" "Father, just tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it." "God, give me your vision for my future," and the most common among us all - "God, what is my purpose?" Interestingly, I finished a second manuscript in 2010 called Just Breathe: Finding Your Life's God Given Purpose but I'm starting to understand why it hasn't been published and my husband's laughter when I told him the title of it only drives the point home.  Perhaps I need to walk in what I wrote before I instruct the people of this world how to walk in their own lives.  As it turns out I'm the most un-breathing person there is. Really.  I hyperventilate. I sigh. I huff and I puff, and I hold my breath in anticipation, but I don't "just breathe." I search frantically high and low for my place in this world, but what I really need to do is just breathe, relax, and let God be God.  I have some quite undesirable tendencies towards restlessness, but what I'm finding more and more each day is that the apostle Paul said it best in the verses preceding everyone's beloved Philippians 4:13: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13).  We all like to take verse 13 and apply it to whatever we may be enduring on a given day, but Paul is talking here about contentment.  He is content because he has learned the secret of relying not on his own source of strength and power, but on Christ.  That is where we find our life source, our power, and our place. We start and finish with Jesus.  He is my place, He is my home, and He is how I can be content in the place where I am, regardless of where it is.  As you look for your own place in the world, where have you started?

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Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God -Hebrews 12:2

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  1. "until you embrace where you are and learn to love it and work at it as God would have you do then you're never going to find your place because it will always be the next better thing around the corner. Your place is right here, right now."

    This comment just changed my life! Thanks!

  2. And your comment just validated absolutely everything I do in writing, so thank YOU. May God bless your path with light, hope, and inspiration at every corner!