Confession #1: I am an overachiever.
Confession #2: I had no hot water this morning. But more on that later…
Here’s the deal: as I’m figuring out my twenties, I’m trying to figure out what exactly I was made to do. I’m pretty convinced that God created each of us with a specific purpose – first with the global purpose to love him and love others, but secondly with a unique niche within that purpose. That niche is elusive.
I think part of the reason why it is so elusive for me is because a) I’m trying so hard to find it and b) I’m trying so hard to find “the right thing.” And when you are trying to pick just ONE right thing out of a haystack of a million potential right things…it can get overwhelming. Your brain might start to boil.
And yet another wrench to throw into the equation is the fact that I’m trying to find the best right thing – the most worthy aspiration (enter: overachiever). In my narrow, human understanding of God’s great plan I can sometimes be led to believe that means I can only work for Compassion International or live in Africa. I am extremely prone to thinking that I need to be doing “more” for God, forsaking whatever he has currently given me to do in favor of something that seems “bigger.” (I’m going to stop using “quotation marks” now because they are starting to take over this post and really annoy me.)
Three people have knocked some much-needed sense into me lately. Roll Call:
1: Whimzie. The beauty of blogging is that you get to know people you otherwise would not know. This is the case with Whimzie, someone I do not know personally but know through her wonderful blog, Snoodlings. Yesterday she wrote a post about being obedient, and it was just what I needed to hear. She quoted Phil Vischer (creator of Veggie Tales) from his book Me, Myself, and Bob, and his quote spoke right to the heart of my overachieving condition. He says,
“God doesn’t love me because of what I can do for Him. He just loves me—even when I’ve done nothing at all. (‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ Romans 5:8)….. He loves you not because of what you can do, or even because of what you can do if you work really, really hard. He loves you because He made you. He loves you just the way you are. He loves you even when you aren’t doing anything at all…When it is time to do something for God, and that time will come quickly if you’re listening, don’t worry about the outcome….That’s His job. Your responsibility is simply to do what He asks.”
2. Donald Miller. This semester I’m leading a book study on his latest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, which is all about living a good story. In our chapters for this week he talks about being just one tree in a forest and how the story of the forest is more important than the story of the tree. He then prays to understand the story of the forest and how to contribute to that story as a tree. And that thought took a lot of pressure off of this particular tree, because when you are one overachiever tree thinking you have to do the work of an entire forest, you become distressed. Quickly. At the risk of sounding like I’ve gone off of the green deep end, it’s nice to know I’m just one tree.
3. God. He says in Proverbs 19:21 that he put many plans in my heart, but that his purpose will prevail. So no matter what I do – whether it is unbelievably good or unthinkably bad – his purpose will still prevail in the long run. And that warrants a big sigh of relief.
Cold shower notwithstanding, I feel much better today than yesterday after embracing these three facts. Please don’t hesitate to remind me of them again during my next life-purpose-panic-attack. Thank you.