Am I the only weirdo who asks, “What am I EXACTLY supposed to be doing here anyway?”. I know all of the pat answers: make the world a better place, glorify God, tell others about Jesus. And I agree with all of those things, but my question goes deeper. “How? What does that specifically look like amidst my daily responsibilities? How am I supposed to do that in my current circumstances and season of life?
I’ve noticed something about our culture lately. We like extremes. It seems we thrive on them. If we are “into” body art, we don’t get a single tattoo, we cover every square inch of our visible body with them. If we are “into” exercise, we don’t go for hikes or walks, we run marathons and travel all over the planet competing in events. We watch extreme sports. We don’t want to see a single room in a home remodeled, we want every square inch of the house revamped in an “extreme makeover”. We travel to four or five grocery stores to buy all of the approved items on our healthy eating list. The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who recently visited New York City for the first time. He informed me that he didn’t get to sight see at all, because he spent all of his free time shopping for a satchel that didn’t contain any leather in it, because he’s Vegan…….ahem, pretty extreme. Currently there’s a video going around on social media of an Extreme Pinterest Mom. Is all of this extremism just a by product of our culture or is there more to it?
To be honest, I’ve noticed that I’ve taken this extremist mentality into my spiritual journey. I want to know EXACTLY what God has called me to do and then ONLY do that one thing. But I’m not so sure that’s what God meant when He said, “He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Ephesians 2:10 MSG. God invites us to join Him in the work that He is doing, and let’s face it- God is doing LOTS of things! So while I may want God to give me something extremely specific to do, in reality, He’s too big for that. There are lots of ways that I can bring Him glory and tell others what He is like. We do that when we take care of our bodies, create places of beauty, and dare I say it, maybe even get a tattoo of our favorite Bible verse of Name of God somewhere on our bodies. (*A little disclaimer here for the anti-tattooers, I’m not saying that’s for everyone!).
In fact, the more I think about it, God is much more specific about my heart and my attitude than He is about actions. Jesus told us that if we wanted to be part of the work that He is doing, then we needed to abide in Him. He also promised us that if we did abide in Him- spend time understanding His heart through prayer and getting to know HIs plans and purposes through His Word- it would result in action. He promises us that He has specific work that He has gotten ready for us to do. As we pursue Him, He will show it to us.
But again, why the extremes? Let’s face it, it’s easier to complete an activity, even to an extreme, than it is to pursue Jesus. It is easier to show the world that I’m an Iron Woman, Chef Supreme, or Pinterest Mom than it is to show I’m a Follower of Jesus. That’s much harder to define and oftentimes less visible. It’s much more difficult to allow others to “see” our identity when a lot of the “work” is being done on the inside- within our heart and mind.
Jesus also tells us that He has given each of us certain gifts to use in this work. That excites me! Not only that, but those gifts are enough to be able to do it well. Look at this promise:
1 Corinthians 1:7-9 MSG Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.
I may not have it all figured out yet. I may go to extremes at times. I may miss His invitation to join Him in His work some days, but He won’t give up on me. When I wander off the path He has for me, or run way ahead of Him, He’ll never leave me. And hopefully, one day, when I get to heaven I’ll meet someone with whom I shared this life for a season who can look me in the eye and honestly say, “I saw Jesus in you!”. It may have been when we were hiking, or they were enjoying the beauty of my home, or possibly sharing a healthy meal together (probably not over a conversation at the tattoo parlor, but then again, you never know!), but they saw Jesus. And in that moment, I was doing EXACTLY the work God had prepared for me.
Where do you have a tendency to go to extremes?
How can you keep your relationship with Jesus a priority over activities?
What do you think Jesus may be calling you to do in this season of life?