About twelve years ago, I began a personal quest for something bigger and better in life. I was (unhappily) working in corporate America, stressing about all things job related, and came to the realization that there had to be more to life. I wanted there to be more to life. Although I have been a Christian for at least twenty years, during this period of my life I was wandering in a desert of doubt, guilt and shame, trying to hide from a merciless god that had somehow taken up residence in the figment-producing region of my brain. That’s a whole other blog post, but suffice it to say for now that I wasn’t regular church goer.
Lucky for me, Jesus never let me go, and His Spirit was whispering to me even then. And the thing it was whispering was that there really is something bigger and better out there. I can’t express the intensity with which this understanding was impressed upon my soul: that everyone — yes, even you, and most surprising of all, me — are here for a specific purpose. But there’s something else.
That purpose is not about you.
During this time, I did an online life coaching program, and one exercise stuck out in my mind. It was intriguing to me and my brain often plays with it still. I try to get other people to do it over dinner (although this usually requires at least one bottle of wine). Basically, you picture yourself waking up to find a $100,000 under your pillow with a note that says it’s yours to do whatever you want with, but you can’t just give it away. You have to be the one to use it. What do you do? So you go through the exercise and write down what you would do with every last penny. Most people will pay off debt, take care of loved ones, take a vacation, buy some fancy clothes or some material, longed-for item.
But then you go to sleep again. And when you wake up, there’s another $100k. Same rules. What do you do? If the first 100k took care of all your debt and got you some soul-rest in the form of a vacation, at this point people often start building dream homes not just for themselves but for their families as well. They might start a business or some such thing. The point is, they are starting to think beyond themselves.
But then, it happens again. And again. And again. More money.
And eventually, all your material desires are met. Your physical needs, taken care of. You’ve got your family and those special friends cared for in whatever fashion you see fit. You donated a case of pet food to the shelter. Now: what do you do?
This decision often brings you to your calling. It brings you face to face with yourself — your soul-essence, the reason for your genesis, your creation.
And that is often a terrifying prospect.
We often try to run from it. Much of the time, we already have an idea of what it is — but we laugh it off as just that daydream we’ve got tucked back in the corner, the edges frayed, the one that we pull out and look at with a sense of “yeah, that would be cool, but it will never happen.” Sometimes it’s our escapism, sometimes it’s the thing we spend our lives running from. We run because it requires us to stare straight into the eyes of evil and challenge it. We run because we see our own reflection in it. I run because I don’t want to look that much pain in the eye. I don’t want to know the women who have been raped or the children who have been abused or the men who are hungry in the streets. It’s easier to stay insulated and not think about the foster children left to starve in a cage. It simpler to watch Netflix and not think about the elderly woman dying alone, strapped to a bed.
Humanity is, for me, to painful to look at too closely. I’d rather keep my distance, behind this computer, behind a telephone, a monitor. Please don’t make me feel. You all scare me so much. My hands are over my ears, my eyes closed, and I’m singing LALALALALALALA as loudly as I can.
But this is shirking my responsibility. Because if we have even an inkling of what we were created to do, not doing it is a complete an utter cop out. We spend so much time watching housewives make fools of themselves and young people look stupid on television because it distracts us from our responsibility to do what we are created to do. If we work hard at avoiding the discovery process, we can cry ignorance, we can look all those people in the face that we were supposed to help and say, “No, really. I didn’t know. Had no idea.” And we can pretend our conscious is clean.
As I began that journey so many years ago to figure out who I am and what I was called to do, I never in a million years thought that I would see an emergence of these ideas in the Christian world. I believe God is up to something here. My pastor wrote a book about it. My church’s mission is all about this idea. Other Christian writers have spoken about it in one form or another. My business is about helping women do something amazing. And ideas are pouring into my head faster than my little microchip of a brain can process them.
Something is happening.
And I want to stand up and say YES! YES! I will be a part of this something God is doing. I will not run. I will not hide. I will look into the eyes of my destiny, take up my responsibility, and get to work.
I’m terrified. But excited.
What are you?