Embracing Our Mission

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The concept of serving has always been close to my heart. It’s been a part of my life since I was a little kid. I have always enjoyed the experience of doing something significant—or seemingly not so significant—simply from a place of love and a desire to encourage someone.

It’s that time again: time for this week’s installment of the Saturday Serving Spotlight.

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“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago,” (Ephesians 2:10).

God has already planned all of the good things he wants to accomplish through you. Isn’t that an awesome thought! He already knows what you’re capable of accomplishing with his guidance. In fact—before time began—he knew you, had a special plan for your life, and loved you more than you are capable of understanding. What an amazing God!

Even though God has done all of the preparation, some believers still find it difficult to discover and embrace God’s will for them. Why is that?

  • Some of us are blind to opportunities.
  • Some of us are so convinced that we know what God wants us to do so we miss where he’s really leading us.
  • Some of us are too busy.
  • Sinfulness and selfishness keep many of us from experiencing his guidance.
  • Some of us never have been taught that God wants to use us in special ways.

For whatever reason, it’s tragic when a Christian—saved by God’s grace and filled with his Spirit—fails to embrace and live out God’s calling.

It’s easy to make God’s will for the good things we might do more mysterious than it really is. His will is simple; he wants us to love him and to love others (Matthew 22:37-40). The way we uncover the specifics of this mission is simply to begin moving—to begin loving and serving. In the act of embracing our mission, taking advantage of the myriad of opportunities to share love that he gives us each day, he directs us deeper and farther along into his will.

Who is Writing the Story You’re Living?

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We are all living our own stories. Our stories can be beautiful. They can be tragic. They can be full of redemption, beauty, love, faith and triumph. And, they can also be full of grief, hurt, pain, fear and sadness. There are lots of chapters, multiple twists and turns, heroines and villains, and plenty of tension, conflict, suspense and intrigue. After all, that is what makes the best stories so captivating.

But, I’ve been wondering about something. I’ve been thinking about an extremely important variable for each of us. I’ve come to believe that it’s vital that we each wrestle through this question:

Who is writing the story you’re living?

The first thing we think is, “Well, I’m writing my own story.” That’s what we naturally believe. But, I’m convinced that, at times, we allow others to write our lives. We can actually become minor characters in our own lives.

What do I mean?

Is that teacher who told you that you’d never amount to something still preventing you from running toward your dreams? Is your absentee parent driving you to seek the affirmation you crave from the people around you? Are the classmates who bullied you still keeping you in the shadows, afraid to stand up or speak out? Is the person who is withholding their approval compelling you to strive harder and harder for a simple approving nod?

It’s a tragic thing when we allow others to write our stories. But, do you want to know something? There is only one person who is qualified to write your story.

And, it is not you!

Confused?

Don’t be. It’s true that we are each living our own stories. But, each of our individual stories are bound up into one Big Story. And, the Author of that story has written a much better story about each of us. It’s far better than what those other would-be authors would write:

If the only One who is authorized to write our stories says those kinds of things to us, what kind of stories should we be living?

How do you Find your True Identity?

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Which Downton Abbey character are you? Which breed of dog? Which Disney princess? Which Spongebob character? Which kind of bird? Which Muppet?

Have you seen them too? They’re all over the internet; quizzes that are supposed to help people identify themselves in their favorite movie or TV character, animal or celebrity. I know they’re mostly for fun. But, I think they reveal something about us:

We are not quite sure who we are.

Identity is a key theme, especially for those of us attempting to raise kids or influence the next generation in a world that—let’s be honest—doesn’t do them any favors when it comes to discovering who they are. We want our kids to have a strong sense of identity, rooted in a proper understanding of their status as children of God, people who are uniquely gifted by God to love and to serve others, people who have dignity, who are worthy of respect, who have valid and compelling dreams, and whose unique fingerprints are destined to be left all over a world who will benefit from their participation.

The other night, as we were doing nighttime Bible and prayer time with Owen, we read the story of Joseph. Joseph had some pretty big dreams. They were a window into God’s future for him, ultimately shaping his identity and destiny. Following the reading, there were a set of discussion questions and family activities. One of the activities was to draw a picture of our dreams.

Kelly proceeded to draw a picture of herself being a wife and mom. I drew a picture of me telling people that Jesus loves them. Then, it was Owen’s turn:

Owen drew a picture of himself and then quickly, and with determination, wrote, “NUTHING,” in big, bold letters. Then, he looked up at us and proudly said. “Nothing! I just want to be Owen.”

There it is! My eight-year-old son was able to express, in his own way, that he’s happy with who he is. That is, he’s happy with who God created him to be. And, that’s more than enough.

What about you?

Who are you? Who are your kids? I know this: you’re more than what a silly Facebook quiz can say.