I know a young woman. Let’s call her “Jane.” Jane is a bright girl, perfectly capable of holding her own in most settings. She’s very well spoken and, yes, she’s pretty, too. She graduated high school three years ago and she’s on a quest to find her calling in life.
She wants to do something awesome. She wants to make her mark on the world, follow her dreams, find that special calling that is unique to her life. She’s trying to figure out what her destiny might be.
Sounds reasonable for a person in their early 20’s, right?
Except… she’s just waiting.
That’s all she does. She still lives with her mother. She doesn’t have a job. She isn’t continuing her education. She, for the most part, spends her days wandering around town and complaining on Facebook about being bored.
It’s easy to judge her. Oh, my goodness! Take some responsibility for yourself and do something! But I think that she’s just a girl who’s fallen into a trap that many people fall into. She’s not so different from me.
We all want so badly to be special. We want to be certain that we are following our bliss and that we are fulfilling our destiny. We’ve been sold a bill of goods that tells us we are awesome and unique and there is one perfect job for us. There is one perfect mate for us. There is one perfect life that we are supposed to be living and settling for anything less than perfect is akin to selling out.
I step in that particular pile of poo, myself from time to time. Frequently. Daily?
I mean, who doesn’t want to be special, right?
Last week I attended the big state-wide annual conference of the United Methodist church. There was a focus on using the gifts you’ve been given, contributing your talents to the betterment of the whole body, and answering the call in your heart.
I spent a lot of time in prayer and gave this a great deal of thought. What is my call? How am I called? What is my Great Purpose?
As I wrestled with these questions I watched as someone very dear to me had what I have come to think of as a “Samuel Moment.”
In the Bible, Samuel was a little boy who heard God calling him so clearly by name that he literally thought it was his caretaker, sleeping in the next room. The older man caught on to what was happening (eventually) and told him to answer God by saying, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Samuel did so and that moment began a lifetime of prophetic leadership eventually leading up to the anointing of the first kings of Israel. Samuel is a big deal in Jewish history. He made his mark on the world, to be sure.
So I watched as this person responded to a clear, powerful, obvious call on her heart.
Me? I had nothing. “I mean, I don’t think I’m without useful skill,” I said whilst conversing with myself (Yes. I do that a lot. Don’t tell the guys with the white coats!). “But I’m no Samuel.”
And, at the moment I thought that, I heard the little voice speaking to me as well saying, “You’re right. You’re not Samuel and you’re not without skills. Use them wisely.”
I’ve been thinking about that moment a lot in the days since it happened. Do you know what I think it means? I think it means I was acting just like the young woman I told you about. I’d become somewhat frozen and stuck in a lethargy I was having a hard time breaking out of because I was looking for my Great Destiny and forgetting to live this moment. In this moment I’m a wife to my husband and a mother to my children. I’m supporting the work of my church and, hopefully, offering up words of encouragement and inspiration to those who find their way to this website.
My calling, at this time, is to live the life I’m in, right now, to the best of my ability. That is my destiny. Could I be called upon to do something different tomorrow, or next week or in 20 years? Of course. But that is then and this is now.
In the words of William Wordsworth, “Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content.”
Maybe you hear the call of destiny on your heart. By all means, answer it! Respond quickly and clearly, “Speak! For your servant is listening.”
But, for goodness sake, don’t waste your life waiting for the big epiphany! Who knows how many days you have left? Each one of them is a gift to you, just as you – with your unique passions and talents and personality – are a gift to the world around you. If you don’t know where to go next then plant your feet on solid ground and shine! And be content.
That doesn’t mean you should stay in a harmful situation, if that’s where you are. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t continue to grow and move forward, but it does mean you (and I) need to play the hand you were dealt and play it with wisdom and joy. In doing that, we come to understand our Great Destiny.
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!