What is the meaning of life?
That question used to give me so much anxiety. Just thinking about life and what it meant was so overwhelming to me. I always tried my best. I did all the things people said to do to be happy. But no matter how hard I tried I just wasn't fulfilled. Life had no real meaning or purpose.
I used to believe that if I had the feeling to do something, but it made me uncomfortable, then it couldn't possibly be from God. I told myself I didn't have to do anything that made me uncomfortable because I was an adult and I could make my own choices. I lived a very mundane life for a lot of years because I was full of fear. I didn't dare to try anything new because I didn't think I was good enough, smart enough or capable enough. I woke up, went to work, came home, drank, watched tv and went to bed. Occasionally I would go out with friends or hangout with family but for the most part I did the same thing day after day. It finally got to the point where I fully believed that life wasn't worth living. Not just for me, but for anyone. What was the purpose? Why were we here? I just didn't understand. I desperately wanted there to be more to life. But at 27 years old, I didn't think it would ever get better. The people who said they were happy had to be lying. No one could possibly be happy with this life. NO ONE.
Then God showed me that I was dead wrong. It all started with a small act of obedience. I was sitting in church and the pastor asked if anyone wanted to surrender it all and give their life to Jesus. My heart started pounding and I was sweating and shaking and I knew I wanted that. I was so uncomfortable. I fought it and fought it. My mind was racing. What do I do? Why is this happening to me? I'm scared. I don't want to do this. I was certain that everyone in the room could hear my racing thoughts and my beating heart. I was so self conscious. But before I knew it, my hand was raised and I was standing. I was absolutely terrified, but I was standing. After the church service the pastor stated that anyone who stood should go up to get prayer and start their life with Jesus. I didn't want to go up. It was intimidating and I wasn't sure what I would say. But I got the feeling that I needed to go. So I did. When I got to the front of the church, a prayer leader asked me what he could pray for and I blurted out, "I have so many walls built up and I just want to take them down". So I got prayed for and during that prayer, I felt something inside of me open up. I knew those walls were going to come down. I knew it would take work, but for the first time in a very long time I had hope that things were going to get better.
And they did. I found my purpose. I am here to tell my story and to help others and encourage them. I'm here to bring people out of addictions, turmoil and despair. I'm here to bring Jesus back into the world. No one, except for me, can stop me. With Jesus I know I can accomplish what I have been created for. I know that I don't even know half of what God has for my life. I know that as time goes on and as I continue to grow and learn, He will show me more. He will give me more. I am very confident in who I am through Jesus. It is not I, but Christ in me. (Galations 2:20) I am willing to be used for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. All the glory belongs to God.
If you're wondering how to find your purpose, the answer is very simple. Just listen. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you. Listen to that "still, small, voice". Opportunities are all around you. What do you like to do? Do you like to paint? Do you like to exercise? Do you like to pick up trash? Every single (good) desire we have is God-given. If you like to paint, then paint! But do it with purpose. Don't just paint and then hide the finished product in your room. No, paint and then show the world! You never know who may need to see your piece of art. It could change someones whole life. That may seem like a small, silly thing. But, it's not. God has a divine purpose for everything we do. Every idea that comes into our head can be used for His Kingdom and His Glory. And you know what? The more you listen to and obey the Holy Spirit's leading, the more He gives. He first trusts us with the small things so that we can be ready for the big things later.
God, is that You?
The more I get to know God, the more I am aware of when He is telling me something. I have found that He is constantly giving us opportunities to grow ourselves and to know Him more. There are people all around us that need encouragement. There are people that need love and kindness. Every single day there is a chance to listen to God and change someone's day. We get to plant seeds everywhere we go. The more I obey God and do what He asks, the more courage I get to do the things that once would have made me so uncomfortable. I am a strong, confident, brave, motivated, loving person because that's who God made me to be. Before I met Jesus, I let fear control my life. I let every opportunity to rise above pass me by. I was too scared to do what I longed to do. I was a mess. I always tried to do the right thing and tried to be nice person but on the inside I was drowning. I was envious, hateful, prideful, insecure, timid, scared and hurt. God had so much for me, I just didn't know it. I didn't believe that I could be as loved as I am. I didn't think I deserved it. Did you hear that? I said, I DIDN'T THINK I DESERVED IT.
Then I learned about God's Grace. I learned that it's not about me or what I do or don't do. It's not about whether or not I deserve anything. It's about the simple fact that God is good. God is loving, kind, merciful, forgiving and gracious. Before any of us were born, God had us in mind. He loved us before we could even say a word. Nothing, I mean absolutely nothing you have done or will do, will change that. God loves you. In fact, He loves you so much that He gave His only son for you. He gave you the greatest gift you will ever receive. The gift of Jesus. Jesus came to this earth to give His life for you. The moment He was on that cross and the moment he uttered the words, "it is finished", is the moment you and I received grace. There is not a single thing any one of us can do to change that. The moment you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior is the moment you receive the gift of eternal life in heaven. It takes nothing more, and nothing less.
"He has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time."
-2 Timothy 1:9
The best part is, once you accept Jesus into your heart, the fun begins. You begin to recognize the truth about who you are. You begin to develop a loving relationship with your Father in Heaven. You begin to hear God's voice more clearly and understand what He is saying. Through His Word, the Holy Spirit and through people, God will reveal your purpose to you. Are you ready?? Are you ready to live a life full of blessings, peace, love and joy?? Are you ready to leave your old life behind and create a new life ahead? Are you ready to get to work and help to grow God's Kingdom?
Then go out and do what God has called you to do
Do the uncomfortable. Step out in faith. Jesus is right there with you. You are never ever alone. The more you rely on Jesus to get you through, the easier it becomes. You don't have to be brave, strong, bold, smart or kind. Just look at Jesus. Walk with Jesus. Trust in Jesus. When you do, you will surely become all the things God created you to be.
The other week I was putting my 6 year old daughter down to bed and she asked me how God talks to us. I told her that when we get the feeling to do something or to stop doing something, that can be God talking to us. I said that if what you're being told is good and true and/or it will help someone, then you know it's from God. She thought about it for a minute and then said "Mom. I have to tell you something." She said, "the other day, when you asked me to clean my room and I said I did, I really just put the toys under my bed." I giggled a little and said "oh really?! So why are you telling me now?" She said," because God told me to tell the truth." My heart just about exploded with pride. She heard God and then she obeyed. That is what it's all about. If a child can listen to God and obey His commands, then surely us adults can too.
But how do I know if it's REALLY God?
I've gotten so many questions about how to know whether or not the idea you have is from God, Satan or yourself. With God, there is joy, peace, love, understanding, and growth. With the enemy (Satan) there is fear, hate, confusion, destruction and stagnation. So if I get the thought; "tell mom I love her" I know that that thought is from God. I decide to text my mom. But all of a sudden another thought comes up saying "mom is busy, text her later." Then I start to get confused. Do I text her now? Do I wait? Oh no, God what are you telling me? I had two different thoughts one right after the other. So now I have this battle going on in my mind. The enemy LOVES to bring confusion. That first thought, the one that said I should tell my mom I love her.. That's a thought of love, that's a thought that brings joy to someone. That thought is from the Holy Spirit. Now, the second thought, saying I should wait to text her.. that thought is from the devil. You see, the enemy wants us to disobey God's voice. The enemy wants to bring confusion and chaos to our lives. So if he gets you to wait.. he starts to get control over you. So, let's say I wait.. let's say I listen to that second voice and I decide to text my mom the next day. The next day comes and I go to text her and then I get the thought "why didn't you text her yesterday? She was sad yesterday and you should've texted her. She doesn't need you to tell her you love her anymore. You failed." Where do you think that thought came from? THE ENEMY. Now he is trying to bring guilt and shame to me for not doing the thing I knew I should do in the first place. Now he has me feeling badly for not listening to my initial thought. Now he has convinced me that I'm a bad person and I can never do anything right. The devil thinks he has won. He is sitting back in his chair and smiling because he thinks he got me good. But jokes on him because I am a child of the one true God. I have the power to tell Satan to get out. He is not welcomed in my head any more. So instead of dwelling on the fact that I may have missed an opportunity, I decide to text my mom the second day and tell her I love her. Satan then loses his power. I may have let him delay me, but I took my power back when I refused to listen to him any longer. Do you want the same freedom? Do you want to know how to listen to the voice of God and how to know the difference between Him, your flesh and the enemy? The first step is to put on the armor of God every single day.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that goes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the fallen arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."
Did you get that? We are not battling against flesh and blood. We are battling the powers of darkness. It's up to you to stand up and fight the good fight. You have the authority through Jesus Christ. You can do the right thing. You can have a full, abundant life. It's up to you to say yes to God.
Will you take the leap of faith and pick up God's call?
If you're facing a dilemma, and you don't know which way to go, I encourage you to sit down, in silence, and just listen. The Lord will tell you what to do. The answer should bring peace and joy to you. BUT let's not forget that most of the time, it will be the hard choice. Most of the time the right choice is the one that brings us out of our comfort zone and into the unknown. It may be painful at first, but in order to be ALL that God created you to be, you need to go where He's calling you to go. If He's telling you to let go of something, whether that be a job, a relationship, a dream or whatever it may be, it's not because He wants to take from you. It's because that thing is in the way of the BETTER thing that He has waiting for you. Trust your loving Father. He is good. A life full of meaning, blessings, passion and joy is waiting for you. Take the leap of faith. Jesus is with you every step of the way. Keep your eyes on Him and you will not be steered in the wrong direction.
"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
So put on the Armor of God, open your heart to hear the Word of God, set your eyes upon Jesus, and then go. Do what you know you are called to do. Your time is now.