This has been an interesting season for me. In the last four months my identity has shifted somewhat as I have endeavoured to get back to the person God had in mind when he created me. Somewhere along the way I managed to deviate from that true and simple path – it happens to the best of us. We encounter people who reject us, situations that disappoint us, and dreams that seem inappropriate and unattainable when we look at our present state or surroundings. So we adjust, and add, and subtract, and tweak and finally come up with a way of living that will allow us to function reasonably well with minimum discomfort and only the occasional twinge of guilt. But, thank God, he was not willing to let me stay in my carefully constructed lifestyle adapted to fit the demands of the world. Instead, he challenged me to cultivate the high calling of being a child made in the image of God and to live by the principles of the kingdom of heaven instead of earth.
One of the side effects of this undressing has been a sense of un-belonging, of not knowing how or where I fit in anymore, especially in the area of being a productive member of society. So one Sunday as I was taking the cat for a walk in the park (yes, I have trained my cat to walk on a leash, and we do get quite a few looks!), I asked God what my purpose was. The last few weeks had seemed empty and two-dimensional as I grappled with my desire to make a world-changing contribution in my lifetime and yet could think of no way in which that would be remotely possible at this point. And the immediate answer that came to me was, “Enjoy the moment.” I repeated the phrase to myself several times before I began to understand what it meant. By seeking that one, illusive, great thing that I must do in my life, I have relegated any of my experience and my time that does not fit into that narrow category to the realm of unimportant. I have become a time-killer, always in a perpetual waiting room counting the minutes until my appointment with destiny, and the passivity that this mindset has allowed to sprout in my soul is downright crippling!
Enjoy the moment! Every day, every minute, every second is a gift from God, never to cross my path again. These are the building blocks for incredible things down the road if I will just seize them and appropriate their unique offering into the grand scheme of things. This moment matters, I dare not waste it. And what did I want to do at that moment in the park? I longed to resurrect all those old, childish dreams and heartfelt desires that seemed so silly to the worldly wise, and take a good look at them to see if there was any hope left. And when I looked at them with the eyes of a child who knows nothing is impossible instead of a cynical adult who has seen too much disappointment and pain, those dreams and desires quickly awakened as if the hibernation had never happened.
What is the wildest, most imaginative dream you had as a child? What is the craziest, most wonderful thing you could imagine God making out of your life? What is the thing that would make every molecule in your body and soul tingle with life? Grab onto it, plant it deep in your spirit, offer it to the Creator to breathe life into, and don’t turn back. I am making a list: at the top, I am writing all of those improbable things that are not impossible after all when you know Someone incredibly powerful; and beneath that I am listing anything and everything I can do in the next few months to get closer to seeing these things come true. If I want to see people healed from every disease, I must find the sick and begin praying for them. If I want to write a book that will change the world, I must begin to set aside a few hours every day to write. If I want to become a philanthropist, I must look for opportunities to be extravagantly generous with what I have now. Enjoy the moment. Suck every bit of life that you can out of every second that God has given you. Make each day count. Invest yourself into things that mean the most to you, the things that excite you, that make you giddy with joy when you think of the possibilities, or that wring tears of hot emotion from your eyes when you realize how precious they are.
So if life seems a little flat and unremarkable lately, why not ask God, “What is my purpose?” and then listen for that still, small voice that resonates deep inside you; or perhaps it will be a thundering shout that shakes your whole world. Let the words of the Father once again define who you are; let him call you by your name and tell you what it means. Let the adventure begin again…
“I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. When you come looking for me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed. - God's Decree from Jeremiah 29 (The Message)