Friday, January 16, 2015

Lord What Will You Have Me to Do? Discovering God's Plan and Purpose for Your Life

I can recall when I was in college.  It was my senior year and I was spending hours and hours at the library studying for the LSAT (entrance exam for law school).  My exam was only
2.5 weeks away and up to this point I felt pretty confident about the exam. But on this particular day, Sunday May 8, 2005, I felt so distracted.  Day after day my studying started to go down the hill. 

Pivotal Life Decisions 

After a decrease in my performance on my practice exam coupled with the fear that a Child Advocacy Attorney only made $25,000 a year, I decided to put aside my dream of being an attorney.  I applied for a job at tax firm called Strategic Tax Resolution and at a claims company, after not hearing anything for weeks from the tax place I decided to take the job at the claims company.  Of course after I completed a full week of training at the claims company, Strategic Tax Resolution called and said "after interviewing over 50 candidates, we have selected you for the job!".  It was my ideal job as I would get the chance to work with attorneys and perhaps see if I found another interest in the legal field.

Well, I did the unthinkable!  I declined the job and continued working at the claim company and after a few years I started to work as a Financial Advisor helping people plan for their future. Through the course of my business I starting hosting financial empowerment workshops at my office. 

Discovering Your Calling 

All the while, I was attending a local church but up to this point I was what my childhood cousin called a "pew member", meaning I attended church Sunday after Sunday and came in each week and sat in the pew.  I did not serve on any boards, I did not volunteer for any events or ministry. I just attended and sat on the pew. Until one day I was walking from the pew to the restroom and a young pastor bumped into me and he said, "do you like working with the youth", we need some volunteers.  I said "oh you need some bodies".  He said NO, "We need some help".  I thought to myself, I don't have much going on right now and I always did love inspiring young people and because I was working as an Independent Financial Consultant I realized how flexible my time was; therefore, I was willing to help out.

That following Wednesday I attended a youth meeting and started helping out with the young women of a ministry called Jacob's Well.  From there I started hosting workshops for the youth at the church.
I soon started to realize that interacting with the youth was a calling on my life.  When I left the church or weekly Bible study, I would spend most of my spare time thinking about what I would do to have a greater impact on them.  I soon realized that once or twice a week for a few hours was not enough.  I realized that if I wanted to impact young people I had to not only help them to renew their mind so they can adopt a different way of thinking but that I also had to help their parents renew their mind.  So I started hosting the workshops for parents as well.  These events where the most rewarding thing I had yet to do!

Wow, sharing this story with you I have tears rolling down my eyes as I know then, as I still know now that serving youth especially young girls and young women is my first true calling.

Training and Preparation in Your Calling! 

I have no doubt that this once incidentally encounter with this pastor was God's design to call me while I was yet, unprepared and unqualified.  God then prepared me and qualified me by having me become a Certified Christian Educator, being part of ToastMaster (initially to help me with my career as a Financial Advisor so I thought), and taking other classes to help me prepare like Homelitcs and Effective Communication and reading book like Communicating for Change by Dr. Andy Stanley.       
Be Available to Serve!

The first thing I realized that is essential in discovering your passion, gift or “calling” as some people say, is by FIRST being available to serve. Too often I heard people say they don’t know what their calling is but at the same time they are so busy and engulfed in doing hundreds of other things which they have already declared and decreed isn’t their gift.

Stop Wasting Time Doing Things You Don’t Feel is Your Calling

If you have been doing something for several weeks or several months or even several years, but you know it isn’t what you want to do or what God has called you to do, STOP! Find a way to end your commitment with it and make yourself available for something else.  You may have been be good at what you were doing, but something in you may be saying God has a GREATER calling on your life.  Listen to that voice, it is the Holy Spirit working in you and through you.  If you feel like you have a few voices in your head, yours, the Holy Spirit and everybody else around you, take a moment to be still.

Spend Time in Solitude

Sometimes we are just busy being busy and we can't really answer the question, "what are we doing" and even more importantly "why we are doing it".  You may have been at this point before.  You know when you are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, overworked and under appreciated.  You may even ask yourself, how did I get here and why haven’t I left?  This could be a volunteer assignment, a job or even a relationship.  When you experience these points, you have to just take a step back and spend some time in solitude.  This is not the same as reading your Bible or praying.  This is a time where you come in a quiet place and just allow yourself to be still, knowing that even in the chaos and in the silence, God is still working on your behalf. 
After spending time in solitude, make your request known to God even if it is just, “Lord what will you have me to do”?  God will give you the desires of your heart.  He will not only have you serve at the thing that you love to do but that you have the talent and/or can develop the talent and skills to do well.
Operate at Your Highest and Best Use

God blessed me with many gifts and talents.  I know God is not a respective of persons; hence, he will not bless me with all these gifts and leave you hanging, so I know you too have many gifts.  The thing you have to discover is what is your highest and best you? Highest meaning the one thing that is going to have the greatest impact in the kingdom and best, meaning where you have the greatest gifts, talents and skills.

You have unique gifts and talents. God has called you to serve according to your gift(s).  There is no gift that is greater than the other because just like the members (parts) of a body are all needed to function properly, so it is true that God needs each of his daughters, including YOU to have a properly functioning body of Christ.

Regardless of your role or position, know that God has a plan and purpose for you! Don't dare be jealous of someone else's gift or purpose!  Know that NOTHING you do for the Kingdom is small!  We serve a mighty God and He is waiting to do a mighty good work in your life!  Just make yourself available to Him, then wait and see!

Imagine what the world would be like if we all made ourselves available to God.  Imagine what our communities would be like if we stop doing things we did not enjoy doing.  How much happier and fulfill people would be.  Happier people are more productive and effective people.  Imagine how much more we will get done.  Imagine when things got crazy, imagine if we would take a step back and get in solitude and begin to discern the voice of God.  Imagine how much more impact you and I would have if we operated at our highest and best use! Imagine how many youth would be saved from death and destruction, how many youth would be saved from abuse, how many people would no longer go hungry, how much smarter our children would be from being taught by teachers who were passionate and truly cared and who were gifted?

So I ask you, what would be the impact if you discovered and worked in the purpose and plan God has for your life by operating at your highest and best self?

Jill Bulluck 

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