Revelations from the past 20 days... I've been on a thought journey these past few weeks. It started on a Sunday night when I finally felt closure to quit my job.
If you haven't read my last blog post and want to catch up, here it is.
When I first turned in my notice to retire (older people are rolling their eyes at "those millenials" right now), I thought I was leaving to go to another corporate cubicle career. What I didn't realize at the time was that God had a bigger, better plan, a plan I could not grasp after years of going to my little job, keeping my head down, and being a yes man. With God, my only duty was to take the step in front of me in following Him, and at the time that meant being brave enough to say !sayonara! to my routine...and my paycheck. So I did. The more I walked step by step following God, the more I understood.
You see, God wasn't separating me from the routine of life just to put me into another default routine. He was separating me to write, and weeks later I understand that. You're probably wondering, as was I, "God, why couldn't you just reveal this grand plan to me from the get-go?" I have a few theories, the leading theory being about my own pride. If I knew what God was doing, would I have shown gratitude to those who helped me, to help my team as I could, and to refrain from mouthing off to the person who threw me under the bus all the time? No! I would have thrown up the deuces and said "See ya...never". I would have claimed I had this great vision for my life. I would have bragged on my future success. And I would have been a terrible representation of God's grace and glory. At the time, as someone completely unknowing of future steps, all I could say was, "I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm looking to God to show me." And here, on my second day as a full-time writer, I am tickled pink and humbly excited for what lies ahead - fulfilling God's master plan, not mine.
(As an aside, I say "master plan", but this might just be the tiniest part of what God is doing, so I keep looking to Him for His master plan.)
Here's another thing I realized: This thought journey about quitting my job has been about refusing to live life by default, especially working a job by default. But the more I ponder the defaults of life, the more I realize that we mostly live life by default. Some of it is good, such as obeying traffic laws because we were taught to. But have you ever wondered: Should I really be spending more time at my job (which will last a few years) than I do with my family, whom I will cherish for my entire life? Have you ever wondered: Should I really wake up and use the hours in which I have the clearest thoughts sitting in front of a computer sorting through emails? Have you ever wondered: Is my work actually helping anyone or making any kind of difference in the world? Those are questions spawning from living life by default, and I challenge you to ask them! Seek the answers to those questions. Challenge the notions of the way we live our lives.
Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
I'll be so bold as to say all of us had dreams as children of becoming world-changers, record-breakers, the best and boldest and brightest of them all. We didn't dream of having to chug coffee to stay awake in meetings, sitting behind computers trying to increase shareholder value, and wasting multiple hours in the office daily just to "show face" #8to5.
We had dreams of creating and building and multiplying and impacting. And by gosh, I wish we were all doing that. It shouldn't be the few people who are "naturally talented" who get to live a full life.
On Sunday during our Church worship service as I was watching one of the singers absolutely LIVING FULLY on stage, jamming out and dancing around, I realized that God was inviting me on stage. Not literally (like literally not literally), but God was inviting me to join into the movement of the Holy Spirit by lifting my arms, singing the songs, and dancing to the music. God was -- and is -- inviting us to LIVE FULLY, but we have to accept the invitation. See, God is constantly inviting you into more of life, to step out in faith and do something wild and crazy and never-been-done-before. He's inviting you to take all those dreams deep within you and bring them out into the world. He's inviting you to believe that those gifts you have, your interests, your dreams are not a stroke of chance - they are Him. He put those gifts in you before you were ever born. He looked at the world He created and said:
"I need someone who can take this dream and run with it. Oh, I know! I'll create YOU!"
That's why He made you...
uniquely gifted + masterfully crafted
Dang...that should be on a t-shirt or something. You are UNIQUELY GIFTED AND MASTERFULLY CRAFTED! If that doesn't send electricity through your bones, ya might be dead. The God of the universe who decided how an atom should be built and how many hairs are in each lion's mane and how many stars are in the Milky Way and beyond...He made you uniquely gifted and He masterfully crafted you. WOWZAHS! God says:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,and before you were born I consecrated you;I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
You say, "I don't believe you. I can recognize talent. I see it on TV game shows. I'm not gifted." Oh, but you are!
Your ability to curate an enchanting Instragram collection is not an empty talent; it's God showing His amazing design eye through you. It takes the ability to see your personal style deep within yourself and hold unwavering to your vision. With that gift, you can transform how people see any existing thing in a different light (or filter, or edit, etc.).
Your ability to converse with people, to put them at ease, to help them see themselves clearer and better than they did before. That isn't a coincidence. That's God showing His compassion through you. You could become a counselor who Changes. People's. Lives.
Your ability to crunch numbers and solve financial puzzles (my husband), is no small thing. It's God showing you how to create wealth so you can fund the changes we need in the world.
Nobody is ungifted. We just don't value giftedness in our society. We don't value the uniqueness of each person, so we teach people to fold in the corners of their puzzle piece, to wash out their colors, and fit into a puzzle that is wrong...and usually just plain boring. It's top-down communication, and everyone who sold out their dreams to fit into the wrong puzzle tells us to just keep our heads down and fit in.
(Second aside...I could really get sidetracked in talking about how puzzle pieces are a great contribution to a grander puzzle, but the pieces are in no way useful on their own. Instead, I'll just say: find the people who match up to your unique piece ;) )
But God! God invites us to be as unique as He created us to be! To be as stunningly bright and bold as He designed. He invites us to be the "Permanent Geranium Lake" and "Purple Mountains' Majesty" in a box of Crayolas. (Real colors - links provided for validity.)
As I've grown in understanding these last few weeks, I've realized I'm not running away from corporate life. I'm running into the dream, the one God designed for me when He created me. My dream is to become a communicator, whether in print, speaking, whatever it may be. I often say "author", but that's just a small piece of this gift to communicate God's love and grace and forgiveness and restoration.
Most of us fall asleep in order to dream, but wouldn't life be better if we WOKE UP TO OUR DREAMS instead? That's my new reality, and I'll die protecting it. See, most of us give our lives to some job for 40 years, and by then our fun, childlike, whimsical nature has died. We die protecting a salary, a 401k, stability and comfort.
What you'll live for every day is also what you'll die for.
That's a provocative statement, but there it is. (Living fully often involves risky statements.) I'd rather give my life to the dream. Here's how you know if you're really living for the dream: When no amount of money could delay or distract you from the dream you're working, that's when you know you're truly living the dream.
At the end of the day, the decision to quit my job was a decision to scream "GOD IS REAL!" He is big enough to have a unique purpose for every single person He ever created. And He is in the details enough to have an extremely unique purpose for you and me.
Everyone has a unique shape to their puzzle piece. Everyone has an amazingly rich life to live. Everyone has God-given gifts that are electrified when used. But we all have to make that choice to break out of the norm and choose our own path or keep trudging along in someone else's default design. As I ended my previous blog:
If you never ask God, will you ever know?