Passionate: Inviting God to Unlock Our Talents and Purposes
Mar 13, 2016 03:25AM
By Bonnie Lyn Smith
My week consisted of my high school sophomore son’s history paper on the negative influences of social Darwinism on society and my third grader’s Wampanoag mishoon (canoe) project. The older one wrote an intense analysis that squeezed every brain cell I had just to follow it (although it was wonderful to be reading a paper like that again—especially one written by my offspring!). His paper flowed so well because of his passion for the subject, unlike last year’s history paper around the Indo-China Wars, for which he had no enthusiasm or interest.
My third grade son’s mishoon project required patience and varied approaches to focusing his ADHD superpowers long enough to remember the information he needed to communicate in a video presentation. I tried note cards with prompts. I tried rehearsing. Then I took a deep breath and left the room. I am pretty good at offering strategies to help his mind slow down a bit and order itself, but I was fresh out of patience and ideas. I wasn’t mean about it, but I took a break.
Enter my extremely calm husband, who decided to write out all the information Little Man (my third grader) spoke to him. Having it completely written out on cue cards, Little Man felt free to look up and let his full personality out during the video. Solving the logistical, executive functioning problem made a way for creativity to flow. It was as if we watched a door unlock and the real person come through. He instantly went into newscaster mode and ended up with such a charismatic presentation, he could run for president—oh wait, let’s not make that connection this year! [Smile.]
So, I’m just curious:
What gets in our way of letting our God-given personality and passions come out?
Where are we limiting ourselves or holding back by going through the motions the same way or using our talents for something that we don’t love when they may take off in something that we do?
I’m not suggesting we quit our jobs, relationships, or schooling to make a huge change, although at times, a quick reevaluation leads to an about-face. I am recommending taking our dreams to God and asking Him:
- What is true about me, Lord? How do You see me?
- Where would You like me to push myself more, or less?
- Where would You redirect me?
- Where would You suggest a change, an adjustment, a refocus?
- How can I better serve You with my talents, my unique individual crafted by You before my mother ever knew me?
- Do You have plans for me that I’m standing just outside of right now? Will You show me where and what they are?
These soul-searching activities are not so much intended for us to assess ourselves as they are to listen for His direction and guidance. Self-assessment has its value, but what if we’re missing the mark on something amazing we could be doing for Him?
Psalm 32:8, ESV, David speaking
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
We can be specific:
- Lord, am I a Sunday School teacher in this season, or is this a time to try something new like singing on the worship team or being part of the prayer ministry?
- Lord, is this the job You want to continue me in? Am I in the role You crafted for me right now?
- Lord, should I volunteer my time at this charity or help with my child’s school more often?
- Lord, am I to lead or to learn right now?
- Lord, am I to pursue my music interests on the side or focus on the engineering job I have?
- Lord, how would You have me best interact with my community? Political forums? Support groups? Charity races?
- Lord, which friendships should I pour into right now?
- Lord, who has a need I can uniquely meet because of how You made me and because of Your provision for others through the Body of Christ (fellowship of believers)?
We can trust that He created us for good works and He wants to give the desires of our heart. Isn’t it just like God to put those two things together?
Ephesians 2:10, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Psalm 37:4, ESV, David speaking
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
We can certainly walk out our purposes in the every day. I think we can all agree that not every day is going to be extraordinary, in the sense that if it were, we wouldn’t recognize extraordinary when we came across it.
I take great comfort, though, in knowing that it simply starts with our faith in God. Once we believe and “draw near to God,” He rewards those who seek Him. This is where I feel confident I can ask Him to help me order and evaluate the direction of my life and He will bless it. This is where, in a relationship with God, we can be certain He accomplishes His purposes while using the dreams He placed inside each of our hearts.
Hebrews 11:6, ESV, anonymously
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Some days we have to write the paper on a subject that doesn’t interest us, and at times we will just spit out our knowledge and talents in a hum-drum presentation.
But, like my younger son and my husband, when we trust God with the logistical piece, like a teleprompter holding up our cue cards, we can settle in with great ease and enjoyment into the plans He has for us. We can find our passion and operate in our full giftings, not held back by limitations or restrictions of assignment.
Jeremiah 29:11, ESV, Jeremiah the Prophet
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.