Growing up, I went to church all the time. Typical Baptist, attending two services on Sunday (morning and night) as well as the fellowship meal on Wednesday nights and then another service.
It struck me at a young age about finding my purpose in life. I remember the sermons and the stories of missionaries and the good they do around the world and thought that it meant that to be doing my purpose was to become a missionary one day.
Well, I’m not sure how that idea became cemented in my mind, but that’s the thing about thoughts. Sometimes they invade every part of your brain and stick there.
“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
So I thought, ‘ok cool. God has plans for me and I will prosper.’ So awesome.
And for years, this was in the back of my mind. But I constantly struggled to find what these plans were that God had for me. I have to admit, I didn’t read my bible like I should have or I might have figured it out long before I did.
When my husband and I got married, I still wasn’t done with college and I didn’t feel like what I was doing was good enough for God’s plan. What a silly concept though. I mean, who am I to think I had any idea what God thought about my courses in college. I suppose I didn’t feel like it was good enough for my plan. And therein lies the problem
Then, I had a baby and still didn’t have a career under my belt. Missionary work would not fit into our situation at the time. I knew I wanted to do something to help people, and was working toward psychology, but the financial burden of having a child at such a young age was at the forefront of my mind. I needed money to pay bills.
Thank the Lord he gave my husband a wonderful opportunity and he was hired as a firefighter paramedic the same month our first daughter was born. But it still wasn’t enough. I knew we couldn’t live in the house we wanted without me having an income as well. I didn’t want to be a burden and add stress on my husband to be the sole provider.
So, he was talking about the paramedicine side of things and it was pretty interesting and he suggested maybe I look into nursing school. I love biological sciences, and then I would get to help people. It sounded like a win, win.
The job afforded me the greatest possibility of a nice income and steady work, but I never felt like it was my calling. To be honest, I still had no idea what my passion was, but I ran with this and figured it must be my purpose. It must be what God wanted because it’s helping people, healing the sick and taking care of the old and infirm.
Fast forward years and I had grown into the person loathing to go to work everyday, constantly looking for other opportunities because as they say ‘the grass is greener on the other side.’ I constantly sought after my purpose, but it eluded me.
I grew bitter and drew away from God, even though I knew it wasn’t what I should do, but after all, hadn’t He said he had plans to prosper me. Then why wasn’t I happy?
I think the real breakthrough came just at the right time, when my heart was open to listening. A pastor at church was talking about how God saved us by grace alone so that we can’t boast it was of our own measures.
You see, I had been living as if the things I was doing would ever be good enough for God. Like if I was doing the right job, praying enough, reading my Bible enough, being nice enough. But as Paul says:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
And so began my mindset change and my heart returned to God.
For if you spend all your time worrying about if you’re doing the right thing, have the right job, do your religious traditions enough, you will only cause yourself anxiety and stress. You have to realize that Jesus dying on the cross is enough and your purpose is to love him, and love people.
So no matter where you are in life, in whatever job you have, do it for the Glory of God. Stop worrying about whether it was His plan or not and just live in the moment of it and love those around you as Jesus did.
Love, was his greatest command. That is your purpose.
When your focus is on Jesus and not your job, your situation or circumstance, your worries and problems and wonderings fall away. You can be the light of the world right where you are by loving like Jesus.
By Kristin from Life from these Ashes