Finding My Purpose

I’m not going to lie: some days, I feel like all I’m good for is scrubbing melted marshmallows out of the carpet (don’t ask) and cooking slightly burned meals.

During some seasons of life, it’s hard to feel like you have something to share with the world. And sometimes, even if you know what your purpose is, it’s hard to stay focused and find the time and energy to live in that state.

I’ve been working on identifying my purpose lately.

I know that right now, my main purpose and heart’s desire is to pour all the love and energy I can gather into my kids and hubby. But sometimes I need something ELSE to think about, or pour into. As much as I love raising my kids, I just feel like there are other opportunities around me and while I know I don’t need to be involved in everything, I don’t want to miss a chance to be used by God.

My bible study lately has centered around finding God’s guidance. Whatever tasks I’m led to do, whether household or parenting or creating or helping, I want to be where He wants me to be. I know I’ll be fulfilling my purpose if instead of praying, “God, what do you want me to do next?” I ask, “What do you want me to do while I’m RIGHT HERE?” He has a purpose for me right where I am. I don’t want to waste it.

So I’ve been using a few resources from my leadership class to help focus on what my purpose is, and discovering how God can use me right where I am, in this very season of life.

The first exercise is to brainstorm by answering the question, what is my purpose in life? Write down whatever comes to mind, but stop when you write the answer that makes you the most interested.

My answer (outside of mom/wife) is…hard to put into words, but I can FEEL it. I think right now in life, I need to help others feel like they belong, to find a place of acceptance and friendship and kindness. I’m going to have to be real and honest to do it, but that’s where I feel like I’m being led. I’m kind of sick of living in a shell, a shell I’ve talked myself into for years by describing myself as timid. Shy. Unconfident. I’ve missed out on a LOT by believing that I’m not strong or confident or good enough. I’m strangely not nervous to go down this road. I’m actually feeling kind of…relieved. Like something I’ve been suppressing for a long time is finally being allowed to surface and breathe and flourish. I’m ready.

So the next exercise was to ask yourself a few questions.
– What do people need or want so they come to you?
– When you are asked, what do you do?
– How can you use your greatest gifts in service?
– What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

At the moment, I don’t have a clue how to most effectively use my purpose, but I think that’s ok. Just realizing it and seeking God’s will for it is a powerful place to be. Once you get there, it’s peaceful. It’s not scary. And it’s not overwhelming. Realizing your purpose gives you a feeling of…quiet confidence. The thought of using your purpose to help others is an incredible gift. I don’t intend to sit on the sidelines and be a spectator anymore.

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#preachingtomyself

Your worth does not lie in:

– how clean your bathroom is.

– how many times your “pin” was repinned on Pinterest.

– how many kids you have.

– the size of your house.

– how many views/followers your Etsy shop has (or doesn’t have…).

– how big your paycheck is.

– how many cows or acres or chickens or tractors you own, or how big your garden is, or how weed-free your flowerbeds are.

– how many books you’ve read…or written.

Hide this in your heart for when you feel like you aren’t enough:

“YOU are precious TO ME. YOU are honored, and I love YOU.” Isaiah 43:4

My 2014 Word of the Year

Every year I pick out a Word of the Year, which becomes my theme for the year.  This year, my word is “vulnerable,” which may seem strange, but here’s why…

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past six months, and I’ve been feeling as though the Lord is asking me to open up more, to be more vulnerable in all areas of my life.  In my marriage, with my kids, in friendships, with casual acquaintances, as a leader…in ALL AREAS.  I tend to be reserved and hold back in word and action for fear of what others may think about what I’m saying or doing, or of just plain saying or doing the wrong thing.  What God is revealing to me is that he has given me a story to share.  He’s given each of us unique stories.  We all have things He’s given us to share with people in our lives and when we don’t, we could be depriving someone of the message that they need to hear.  I have no way of knowing what words might bring others comfort, so being vulnerable and real, even when it’s scary and hard, is something I want to be doing.  Sharing the good AND the bad with others can open doors for friendships and relationships, and that’s so exciting! So 2014 is my year to be more open and vulnerable in sharing and connecting with others.

In the past it’s been kind of difficult to keep my word of the year at the front of my mind…usually by February it’s long gone.  But this year, I’m trying something new.  I’m getting a journal and writing my WOTY on the front, and I’ll keep it with me all the time.  And every time I hear/read/see something related to my word that is meaningful, I’ll write it down in my notebook.  I think that’ll help keep me motivated and accountable, and it will be  an awesome resource for the future.

So here’s to a great year!!

A Brief Rant

There’s a lot of junk going on in a lot of churches lately. Large churches, small churches, in-between churches…anger and fights and pride and misunderstandings are causing rifts and divisions and I’m personally sick of it. It literally makes me sick.

I’m so frustrated about it that I’m not going to say anything else, because I think at this time I need to just zip my lips and p.r.a.y. But I will leave you with these words from one of my old school Christian bands that I was listening to tonight. It completely sums up the problem so much better than I ever could.

“The problem’s not Hollywood, the problem’s not Washington, the problem’s a weak, divided church with schizo Christians.”

Word.

MOPS Update

Our first official MOPS meeting is a week away. Eeeek! Totally excited but also nervous…I’ve never even been to a MOPS meeting, so I’m kinda nervous about running one, but I have a good feeling about it.

I spent my nap time break searching the online forums for MOPS leaders, and I’m feeling so energized and encouraged to get started! There’s so much more to MOPS than just meeting once or twice a month. Playdates, volunteer opportunities, moms night out events, fundraisers…there are so many possibilities for activities and events that will create a strong network of moms in our area. I’m totally pumped to see what God will do through this group, and it’s my pleasure to be involved in it all. 🙂

Wow, God

One of my all-time, #1 favorite authors EVER is Anne Lamott. She.Is.Amazing. I was introduced to her in one of my writing classes in college – we studied her “Bird by Bird” and I re-read that book probably once a year. As much as I love “Bird by Bird,” I LOOOOOVE her books on faith. Her writing is raw and gritty and honest and real and she tells it exactly as it. And yet she somehow manages to share her faith in a way that just hits home and mirrors my own heart…so much so that I find myself underlining and highlighting the heck out of every book she writes.

She has a new book out which I haven’t read yet: “Help, Thanks, Wow.” It talks about the different types of prayers we pray. We’re traveling to Indiana, and I read an interview she did with NPR about the book in our hotel room last night. The first two types of prayers, prayers for help and prayers of thanks, are very present in my life. The Wow prayers aren’t as frequent. Those are the prayers that we express when we’re feeling in awe of something God has done or created, the prayers that just leave you breathless over the power and awesomeness of God.

So right after I read that interview, I was thinking that I need to be more conscious about just being wow’d by the things that God does for me every day. And as I was thinking about my lack of wow moments, Abby was wandering around our hotel room checking out our new digs for the night. And every time she saw something that tickled her fancy, she got a big grin and said, “WOW!” Huh. If my 19 month old daughter can find so much excitement in a HOTEL ROOM, how many wow moments am I missing every day?

As a mommy, it totally warms my heart to hear and see her so excited to see and explore new things. Think about how God feels when we get excited about the things He puts in our lives. Wow!

What I Want Our Home To Be

So all this crazy painting and messed-up revamping of our living and dining room has me feeling a little off-kilter.  Everything’s a mess.  Paint cans are sitting around, piles of picture frames are waiting for new pictures and new homes on the walls, odds and ends are heaped upon each other as I try and get my act together and decide what needs to go and what needs to remain in this disaster of a living space.

Should I paint the table and chairs a safe color or a fun accent color?  And what accent color(s) do I use?  And what to do about our 1970’s light fixture in the dining room?  And how can I make this ALL WORK TOGETHER?!  Ugh.  Interior design looks so much easier on HGTV.

Our home feels anything but harmonious and peaceful to me at the moment.  In fact, it kind of makes me want to hide underneath our bed.  Except there’s more even mess and unorganization there, so not even that is an appealing option.

And in the midst of this unruly chaos that has become my home, a blurb came across my Facebook feed and made me take a breath and refocus.

From “The Resolution For Women:”

Whether you are married or single, your home is holy ground. And you are a holy attendant, bestowed with the responsibility and privilege of creating an atmosphere in which the essence of God’s grace, freely extended to you, can be felt and sensed through the grace you freely extend to others. Your home is the place where you cultivate a peace to be enjoyed by the others who live there and by all who enter its doors.

Ahh.  When it’s all said and done, that’s the atmosphere I want in my home.  Sometimes it’s good for me to step back and take a good look at the big picture.  Really, it doesn’t matter if the walls are grey or yellow or purple or if the furniture is painted or what color scheme we do or don’t use.  I’m reminded of the motto of one of my favorite bloggers, The Nester: it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.  My home will never be perfect.  Ever.  I just don’t have the knack for pulling all the little details together and making it lovely.  Heck, I can’t even pick out a paint color successfully.  But I can make the most of the home God’s gifted us with, and create an atmosphere of comfort and peace in spite of myself.  A peaceful, inviting, welcoming spirit can be offered no matter what color color the table and chairs are painted.  And as long as I keep that as my focus, we may all come out of this little redecorating project safely yet.