“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” ~ Frederick Buechner
As you can probably tell, this is not Friday. I have been away for Diocesan Convention since Thursday and have just come home. In last week’s meditation, I reflected on the following questions that arose for me while reading a book by Palmer Parker. Who am I really? Who was I created to be before life happened? What is the passion for service that God put within me before I was born and before the world took me over? What was God’s dream for me? Have there been life clues along the way that help give answers to these questions?
In light of those possible clues, which I wrote about, who am I today? Do those early clues and today’s passions coincide? I still need a great amount of solitude and silence. It is within this place that I hear God most often. My main desire is for prayer and deep listening to what comes from this. I still, always, have something I’m reading. I never was very fond of going to school, though I loved learning. It was never in my thought that I would become a teacher of any sort, but now that is part of what I do, mostly in the areas of prayer, discernment, spiritual formation, spiritual growth, and transformation. I still sing in choir and usually have an inner song. I did not become a nurse but I am involved in praying for healing in our church’s prayer ministry. I am not the kind of nurse who rubs hurting legs; instead I am a Spiritual Director who walks with others as they discover God in their own journeys.
Writing is a great surprise to me, even more than teaching is, and was not something I ever wanted to do. I don’t see early clues, but maybe it was a Holy Spirit gift for this time. Writing does help me be aware and it helps me learn a lot about God and myself. I would miss it. Within our purpose in life, there are different calls and different ministries that seem to fit within the dream God has for us in the beginning.
In her book, LIVING GRACE, Martie McMane rephrases Fredrick Buechner’s quote by saying, “The kind of work that God usually calls you to is the kind of work a) that you need most to do and b) that the world most needs to have done.” She said that when we discover our Holy Spirit gifts and connect them to something God needs to have done in the world, it isn’t hard work. I would say that we are created for a time and a calling such as this.
Once long ago, I was given a “hint” from the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11. When I read the story, verse 44 struck me. It reads, “The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go free.’” I heard, “[You] unbind them and set them free.” Somehow my pleasure and God’s pleasure are wrapped up for me in this verse. If the stories I have shared were clues to God’s dream for me, then I believe that I have, with God’s help, been fairly true to that dream.
For what purpose did God create you? What is your deep gladness? How does God want you to live that out in the world? Where do you feel God’s pleasure? What has your name on it? Are there clues in your earlier life to this call? Answering this will take time, prayer, discernment and reflection. Paying Attention to the movements of God within are important in discovering and knowing the person that we have been created, and called, by God to be.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’” ~ Isaiah 6:8