“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
The Lord has been working on me now for months about this subject of purpose. Really for years.
And I feel like He just gave me an Aha moment tonight.
One of those moments that just make you stop in your tracks. And think. Think back on all of your life and how all of it starts to fit together. Something that you have never seen before even though now it seems so obvious.
I always thought of my gifts in terms of the world’s view. I can sing. Nothing fancy, mediocre really, but something I truly enjoy. I was a people person. (What does that mean anyway?) I like to talk to people so I guess that fits. But, I remember struggling when I got to college about what I “wanted to do with my life.” Many of my friends new their path. Doctors. Lawyers. Yes, I went to a college where they were known for pumping out students to these professions, or at least these paths. But, I was not one of them. I was one of those that switched my major 4 times in total. From major to minors. So, my path was not as set as I had hoped and clearly I didn’t know the “right” path just yet.
After college I jumped into some opportunities where I could see some of my “gifts” being used but overall was never fulfilled or felt that excited about my position. I never had that “fire” in my eyes the way some of my friends had and I was jealous. Completely and totally jealous. I wanted that too.
So, long story short after thinking it was my children or my marriage, which was not the case, I longed for something more but didn’t know what that was. Then last year I started to get a pull from the Lord telling me that He had more planned for me. A constant reminder to today’s scripture about how He has plans for all of us. He reminded me of a moment in high school where the Lord spoke to me through a stranger sharing that “He wants you to know you will make a difference in peoples’ life’s,” to hearing it in songs, scripture and books sharing this idea that He has something bigger in mind for me. But what? I went through a newer version of what I thought my “spiritual gifts” were and what hard journey I was just ending and kept going back to those same ones.
But they didn’t fit.
I wasn’t getting that confirmation that I was expecting.
Recently I had a chance to share my testimony to a large group of women and I knew that was where I needed to be. In fact, when my dear friend asked me to speak I don’t think she was even able to get the full question asked of me before I jumped in and said yes. I knew in that instant that the Lord had been preparing me for this.
What I had been waiting for all of my life in one way shape or form.
I felt it. I just didn’t know where He wanted me to go with it as it was just one opportunity. But I took this opportunity wholeheartedly and prayed over and wrote and rewrote my testimony until the day came that I was waiting for. And it was amazing. More amazing that I really expected, which says a lot as I was expecting a lot.
But then it was over.
And I had amazing memories and words of affirmation that were shared of how my testimony impacted others, which was so wonderful. But it left me wanting more. And since then I have been struggling but I haven’t been able to explain why.
But now I get it.
At least a little.
The Lord connected me to a godly woman who shared how the Lord has spoken to her and guided her over the years on an amazing and painful journey as well. She shared with me to be careful to not put my agenda on God, but wait for His plan. And to start writing down my gifts, but in a very different way than I have thought of them in the past. Think about what energizes me, what when I do it and I am done I could keep doing for hours and would want to do all over again. But, also share those things that I loathe doing too, because in sharing both I will start to see how the Lord has created me. That His purpose has been there all along, but that I need to stop and listen for His calling. Not try and barrel my way through it.
But stop and listen.
I am not going to lie, at first I was a little disappointed. I wanted her to say, “I see this amazing path that the Lord has for you. Yes, Amanda. You are right! You know what He wants you to do!” But after I stepped back from MY wants I started to reflect and remember that, yes, I wanted His path for me.
Because that is what He created me for.
His path, not mine.
So, I went home and I sat down and started to listen. Listen to what the Lord wanted me to hear. Stop talking and listen.
And I didn’t hear anything.
At least not in the way that I expected. I know it takes time and I shouldn’t have expected an “answer” right away, but I was hoping for something.
But He did give me something. A starting place. I started thinking about my gifts or talents differently and I started to see things that the Lord has been showing me for a couple of months now. Things that I had pushed down that I remember having when I was young. But as life came at me, I was told they were not gifts, but hinderances, and that I should stop thinking about those. So I did.
But now the Lord was helping me see that these “hinderances” were actually gifts He gave me. He created me this way.
And it was certainly not bad, but good. So good.
One of my gifts that I am seeing again is that I am a dreamer. Always have been. I can stop and dream about what could happen. I can jump ahead into the future and enjoy being there in that moment and realize that its possible. I can do that for others too.
I was able to see that recently when I spent an hour with a dear friend who is in a dark tunnel of her own and she allowed me to help her step out of her “can’t” and say, “Well, why not?” I remember seeing her body come in hurt and when she left I saw some hope in her eyes that hadn’t been there before. And I got to be a part of that.
Because I allowed God to use me and this gift He has given me.
So, tonight it all clicked. At least a piece clicked. I need to start to focus on my gifts. Finding these gifts that I have buried deep down inside for years. For decades. And start to resurrect them so that the Lord can help me find my purpose in Him.
How exciting. How very very exciting.
I am on a new journey where doors have closed behind me, and I don’t know what doors will be opening up yet in front of me, but I need to be dressed and ready for whatever door will open. With my coat and shoes on and ready to step into that new door of purpose that the Lord has in store for me.
Who is ready to do the same?
Let’s start listening for our path that He wants to take us on.
Come on. Let’s get started.