Maybe I'm nuts, but occasionally I let my imagination run away with me. Sometimes my train of thought goes something like this:
"Dear Lord, please let me win this blogging contest,
because if I win this blogging contest I can go to this conference,
and if I go to this conference then I might be able to make connections and grow my blog,
and if I grow my blog then I'll be able to reach more people,
and if I reach more people then maybe I'd be able to land a publishing deal,
and if I landed a publishing deal then . . ." it goes on and on.
It's rather embarrassing to admit, but it's true. I have in my mind a destination, and so, I think of all the possible ways that God could pull the strings and get me to that destination.
Never once do I stop and think, does God want me to have a publishing deal? Is there supposed to be something "grand" in my future or am I just supposed to continue as usual. What if I work on this blog for the next five years and only twenty-four people ever even read this blog post?
What if this is all it ever is? Would I be content? What is fueling this desire for "more"? Is it because I think I'm something special? Is it pride? A lack of contentment?
What is the purpose? *cue the dramatic spotlight* What's my motivation?
I think when it all comes down to it, we have to ask ourselves an important question. Why are we doing what we're doing? I don't care if you're the CEO of a major corporation or a car mechanic, eventually, we have to ask ourselves the question "Does what I do matter? Is this what I was put on the earth to do? Is there something more?"
I've been studying the book of John in my Community Bible Study group, and one of the things that has struck me the most about John the Baptist was his humility. I think he recognized his place in the big picture. His job was to point people to Christ, not draw attention to himself.
When he recognized that the Messiah had made his arrival, he didn't put together a strategic plan on how to keep his large following. You didn't find him throwing himself a pity party in the wilderness, complaining that "Jesus has more followers than I do." He simply acknowledged, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)
John had a God-centered perspective. It ultimately wasn't about the size crowds he was drawing, it was about doing what God asked him to do.
How different would my life be if I simply asked God what he wanted from me instead of trying to pursue what I think is best? What would happen if I focused more on God's glory than my own? I can tell you one thing, I think it would take a lot of stress off of my desire to "perform."
What a freedom to know that my only responsibility is to simply use the gifts and talents He's given me, to the best of my ability. He doesn't expect me to live up to the gifts and talents of someone else. I'm not called to be Beth Moore or Lysa Terkeurst. I'm called to be Sarah Brooks, and ultimately, that's what God's going to hold me accountable for. What have I done with the gifts I've been given? Have I used them to serve God's purposes or my own?
As a teenager, I felt God whisper these words to my heart: "Who will tell them?"
For years, I struggled to understand what that meant. I went to school and studied Missions because I assumed that that was what God intended.
After all, who tells people about Jesus?
While at school, I found myself really wanting to take journalism classes. It was really exciting and interesting to me. I eventually decided to double major in Mass Communications and Christian Studies - missions emphasis. I was still planned on serving as a missionary at some point, but I've loved writing since I was a little girl, and I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to learn more.
Now, a few years down the road, I'm beginning to see how God has pulled my path together. He has given me the opportunity to "tell them" in a way I never initially envisioned. This certainly wasn't the destination I set out toward sixteen years ago, but it's a good fit, and in God's master plan it makes sense.
For me, the temptation has always been to come up with a plan and then expect God to bless it. It's a lot more challenging to trust that He has a plan that may differ from my own. It's hard to relinquish control, but He's trustworthy, and once I get to a point in my life where I truly believe that, it makes it easier to pry my fingers from my well-crafted plans.
I don't have a clue what the future holds. I honestly don't. Do I have dreams? You bet I do, but I'm learning that I have to take each dream to Him and say, "Lord, this what I want, but you know best. You must increase, and I must decrease." It sounds cliche, but this is the prayer for my own life.
You have a plan and a purpose, and I know that it's ultimately not about making my name great, but about making your Name great. My prayer, God, is that you would show me how I can point the attention to you. Show me the areas where I need to decrease so that you can increase. Because I know, God, that fulfillment comes from fulfilling our God-given purposes, not from achieving fame or success. Fulfill your purposes in me. Help me to bring you glory in everything I do, because your glory will last forever.