Do you ever feel like what you do doesn’t matter? Maybe what you feel that God has called you to right now really doesn’t turn your crank. Those can be hard times, mentally. We all need to feel as if we serve a purpose, an important purpose. As parents we have to raise children who understand they were made for a purpose. As parents we have to know that for ourselves, too. What if what God has called us to isn’t what we would prefer?
Isaiah would be able to relate. In the 49th Chapter of the book named for him, he shares how much he felt like what he had been called to left him lacking. He wanted more. Or different. I can relate.
If I am completely honest, I have days where I struggle with this issue. I didn’t really understand that I was made for a purpose, a specific God given purpose, until I was an adult. I just thought I would grow up and do the American dream thing like everyone else. Finding my purpose wasn’t on my radar.
But I found my purpose when I met my husband. God had called him as a teenager to full time ministry. On about our, um, first date, he was clear to me when he said, “God has called me to full time ministry. If you don’t see yourself living that kind of life, we don’t need to pursue this.” First date. He’s intense. It was only the second time I had ever heard God say anything.
What Matthew didn’t know at the time, was it didn’t matter much to me what he had been called to do. He could have been called to be a goat farmer, and I would have hung around. You see, God had told me to marry him. Matthew didn’t know it yet, but God and I, we knew. I had a purpose. I was going to be a minister’s wife. I had no idea what that meant.
I learned fast. It was great. Mostly. I was a pastor’s wife. I knew what I was supposed to do. I was pretty good at it, too. Then about twelve years in, Matthew shifted directions. He was still in ministry, but he was no longer lead pastor. God had prepared him for a unique calling, and he followed that calling right out of the pulpit and right into church production. I started calling him the “lights, camera, action pastor”. I had no idea what I was supposed to do. By that time, I was a mother, and I worked as a nurse, part time. I worked nights so that I could be home with the kids during the day. My absence had little effect on them, as I worked while they slept.
I knew part of my purpose was to mother. I loved it. I poured my heart into it. I still missed being a pastor’s wife, but Matthew didn’t really need me much in his new role. So I adjusted to a lesser role with Matthew, and a greater one with our four kids. I still worked part time. My work was simply a means to an end- paid bills. I never did see my work as my purpose.
Today, Matthew has shifted again. Creative Director for Student Ministries at our church. He also teaches in our church’s ministry school. Again, not much for me to be a helpmate with. Kids are growing up and out, but I am still in the trenches with them, mothering, as fast as I can because I know my time and influence with them is running low.
But I am feeling lost of purpose again. Purpose for me. Not as a mother or a wife, I will always love what I am called to do there, however much or little is required of me. At forty-six, I want MY purpose.
But right now, it seems to be on hold. I am privileged to work full time at a hospital attached to a University, and as such, my kids get half off tuition. Again, my job is merely a means to an end. I enjoy it, but it is not my purpose. Yet those full time hours seem to stand in the way of time to allow for me to pursue a purpose I am meant for. Or maybe one that I’d prefer.
I get to encourage, help patients heal… it’s a sweet deal, and I’m pretty good at it, but I don’t feel it’s my purpose. But it might be for now. And that’s where I can relate to Isaiah. That’s where the rub is. If money didn’t matter, what would I do? I’d write. I’d lead women into a deeper relationship with Jesus. I’d spend time with Matthew’s students and encourage them. For me, I need my purpose to have eternal ramifications.
A dear friend once told me. “This is just a season. It will pass.” It was a great thing to say. I have repeated it to myself a lot. This is a season. Just like Isaiah, I have things to do that God has for me to do. I may not prefer them, but they are important. I do often remind God that I am ready for more when He can manage to work that out.
Maybe you feel devoid of purpose, or you find where you are currently situated lacking. We have to remember, that before the foundation of the Earth, God had us in mind. Before we were formed in our mother’s wombs our days were numbered and our paths etched. Our purposes planned.
Even if we find ourselves in a place we’d rather not be, or envision another purpose we want to see lived out in our lives, we must remember that we need to honor God in whatever we find ourselves presently doing. We are to live out our purpose, even if, like Isaiah, it’s not our first choice.