Admittedly, I spend too much time on the Internet and social media. I read a lot of blogs, I post some memes, and I watch videos. Influential and godly people share and post words that speak to my soul. Friends post funny updates and share adorable photos of their kids.
I find this deep black hole and incredible time-suck accomplishes one thing: keeping me from my purpose. God put it on my heart a couple years ago that I was to use my testimony to share Him and glorify Him for all He has delivered me from and for His amazing grace. While I’ve written here and there and created some art, I’m not truly living out my purpose.
Attempting to draw inspiration from other artists, writers, and speakers left me depressed and very UN-inspired. Watching other writers post about their newest book, all the while knowing my book remained unwritten, filled me with shame. Why do I even bother? Using the excuse of “where do I even start?” became more acceptable and an easy go-to. But in my heart-of-hearts, I know the path before me and I’ve just been too scared to start.
I’ve written and re-written the first Google doc page several times. The same message keeps running through my mind: WHERE DO I EVEN START? Then today, I saw something that altered my train of thought:
God didn’t remove the Red Sea. He opened it. Just because God hasn’t removed your problem doesn’t mean He won’t provide a way through it. (author unknown)
I struggle to begin because my story is ongoing. I am STILL experiencing challenges. I am STILL battling through issues I thought would be distant memories by now.
God provided a way through and today I am using it as my first step.
We were studying Pastor Travis Hearn’s 30-Day Journey with God (volume 2) during our Wednesday night women’s bible study and I was asked to speak on the last two devotions, “Safe Zone” and “Going Through”. Reading through the devotions ahead of time, I knew there was a reason I was asked to speak on these specifically.
They are about running to the Lord as He is our safe zone, our place of refuge and our fortress (Psalm 61:3). Not only that, but He is always there with us (Isaiah 43:2).
I have prayed for deliverance from financial burdens, prayed for addiction to be eradicated from my family, prayed for discernment and wisdom, prayed for God’s favor. I have praised Him for His guidance, for His provision, for His protection, for His forgiveness, grace and mercy.
But what was I giving Him in return? Volunteering at church and serving on a local mission team. Serving as a leader for our Wednesday night women’s bible study. Those are all part of what I SHOULD be doing. We are all called to serve.
I know I am saved and completing a “Christian Checklist” isn’t going to get me MORE saved. I’m not going to receive a super special place in heaven if I read the whole Bible every year or stand on a street corner with a megaphone and a JESUS SAVES sign. But why haven’t I felt fulfilled?
I AM NOT SERVING MY PURPOSE FOR GOD’S KINGDOM.
In preparing for the talk I shared, God showed me over and over that challenges will never vanish ~ I will face them for the rest of my life. They will take different forms and they will ebb and flow; however, I cannot stay stuck in one place waiting for things to get better.
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12 (NLT)
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 (NLT)
Finding joy in trials is NOT easy; however, the author of Ecclesiastes reminds us:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: ….” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)
When facing a season of despair and weeping, remember there is a time of joy and laughing. I cannot allow my trials today derail me from the purpose meant to carry me through my tomorrows. And neither can you.
I recommit to writing. I recommit to sharing what the Lord puts on my heart to share. I recommit to my purpose.
The Lord replies, “Write down the message I am giving you.
Write it clearly on the tablets you use.
Then a messenger can read it
and run to announce it.” Habakkuk 2:2 (NIRV)