Hearts, Dreams, and Struggles

We have been at the Noah Conference this last weekend. It was really, really good, and extremely encouraging. And it made me think. My favourite session was the next to last one we attended, taught by Daniel Craig, on understanding the purpose God has for your life.

I think one of the hardest things in a young persons life is figuring out what God has for you to do — what specific place He has in this world for you to fill — what little niche He has created especially for you. And then figuring out how that works with your family, how it will work for your future family, and how you can do it for the advancement of the kingdom.

Yes, I believe many of us have been called to marriage. But what have we been called to do during our single years to advance God’s Kingdom? What gifts and talents have we been gifted with that we can be perfecting now, to assist your family later? This is something that I have been struggling with lately, something that I have been wondering about. It was mentioned in the session that your passions aren’t always what you build your purpose on. That sometimes — oftentimes — the purpose God has for you is something that you don’t particularly enjoy.

In today’s society we have been conditioned to “follow our hearts” — taught to pursue our passions — exhorted to do find something that we enjoy. While I think many of us would shun the idea that we are follow our hearts, knowing that “the heart is deceitful in all things, who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9), have we unconsciously bought into this philosophy? Do we struggle against doors the Lord has closed, and fight against entering the doors He has opened?

I have a passion for music. I love listening to classical, instrumental pieces. I love playing instruments. For a season it seemed as if the Lord was opening doors in that area — I was having regular lessons, not struggling to understand on my own. I was allowed to pursue my passion, and I was enjoying myself and having fun. It seemed perfect — to be able to teach others when I myself knew enough about the instrument. To be able to minister in my church by playing some of the preludes, by using the gift the Lord gave me to minister to others, perhaps in nursing homes, in hospitals that have the big piano in the lobby. But now it appears as if the doors have closed. The lessons took away from family time. The practicing intruded into daily duties. The piano keys are all sticky now from the humidity, so it is only playable in certain key signatures. It was a struggle to understand the theory. Was I following my own desires, and “sanctifying” them by desiring to do service in the Lord’s name? Should I continue to try and sharpen that skill? Should I simply try to keep from forgetting what I know already, in the event that one day the Lord opens another opportunity?

And then there’s another dream I have had since I was young. I gladly gave it up when the Lord revealed a different path for me to take after high school than college. And it came back again, in an altered state, when I realized it was something I could do at home, minister to others, and use it to help my future family, without leaving the protection of my father’s house. I could incorporate my stubbornness, my love of natural healing, my love of children. And it seemed like the doors were opening…..but now, I’m not so sure. I had prayed about it, and it seemed like the perfect thing to fill my time before marriage. And is hard to think of giving up the dream.

And that’s where the struggle comes. Shouldn’t it be easy to give up my dreams if the Lord asks me to? Shouldn’t I gladly and joyfully move on with life, trusting the Lord has a plan and knows where He is leading me? Gratefully following Him down the path of life that He has mapped out for me? How do you discern what is the Lord’s leading, and what is merely what you want to do in your flesh?

So I left the session wondering what other gifts He has given me…..what other ways can I impact the culture for Christ? What are some areas that the Lord has used before, even if I didn’t particularly care for it? Writing is not something I particularly enjoyed while doing lessons. I would break down in tears, looking at a blank piece of paper, while others filled up theirs with words of creativity. Surprisingly, I discovered I liked it….the Lord provided me with an opportunity to start this blog, and recently the Lord has opened another door for me to write for another blog, which is formally launched September 1. I wasn’t looking for the opportunity, I wasn’t searching for it, it came to me in the form of an email. I absolutely hate talking on the phone — especially to strangers. I don’t necessarily communicate well. But in the last year I have made hundreds, if not thousands, of phone calls. I have spoken to probate judges, state representatives. I have called home-school organizations, private schools, and churches across the state, looking for support for a pro-life bill, for Judge Moore, for believers willing to stand against gay marriages. I discovered I actually enjoy learning about “boring” politics. I dislike being the leader of something — even though my own siblings and family would call my bossy — and last year my pastor asked me to organize and start a children’s choir in our church. Forcing me to work on communication, ask questions, and find ways to teach children. All of these things, as the writing project, came to me when I least expected it. And all of it was something I really wanted to say “no” to, but I did it anyways because I knew the Lord was leading me to do it. And I enjoy all of it now…..except maybe the phone calls =}

Perhaps the best thing to do now is pray about this. To take my burdens to the feet of the Lord and leave them there, trusting in Him to guide, knowing He will lead me where He wants me to go. Praying for faith, and trust, and diligence in the small things He had given me so He will trust me with bigger ones.

So I ask Thee for daily strength,
To none that ask denied,
A mind to blend with outward life
While keeping at Thy side;
Content to fill a little space,
If Thou be glorified.

In service which Thy will appoints
There are no bonds for me;
My inmost heart is taught the truth
That makes Thy children free.
And a life of self renouncing love
Is a life of liberty.
~Anna L. Waring~

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What are your thoughts?