I wish that I could take the last year of my life and bottle it up. Not because it’s been particularly awful. It’s just been topsy turvy. A roller coaster ride. [Insert cliche that relates to unsettled life in here.] Through all of it, certain things have become crystal clear. These things are vitally important to the core of who I am and what I have created to do. There’s also been a lot of learning. Lessons in life, relationships, about myself and people in general have been plentiful.
One thing that I am continually seeing is deep down, all of us long to belong to something. No matter our personality type – there is something in us that desires to be known and recognized. We want to leave our individual mark on the planet. A sign we were here. Some of us desire that in fame and flashy acknowledgement. Others desire it in a simple hug or thank you for being there. My point is we all want to know why we were born.
I’ve encountered people who have known they were called to do something since the time they were little. Created to create, to account, to act, to teach etc. Many, many others I’ve known had no clue – but one day something happened. A circumstance came about and they were suddenly opened to a piece of them they didn’t know existed. The grand Creator had orchestrated the time, place, and every seemingly inconsequential detail for them to realize the beginning of what they were called to be.
Then there are those of us who have been given fragments. There is a deep knowledge of calling. Bits and pieces of information masquerading as randomness have been offered to us. Along with the randomness is a chance – like Abraham – to pack up everything (sometimes literally, other times figuratively) and go into a foreign land. Only we don’t know where the land is. We just know that we’ve been on this proverbial camel for about a gazillion days and nothing seems to be in sight.
That’s how this last year has felt for me. I’m not going to lie – my butt hurts. I’m tired. My eyes itch and hurt from straining. The land is dry. And weary. Water is a precious commodity. There are beasts that attack and try and scare me off the path. I admit that I’ve hopped off the ‘camel’ a couple of times and started to stomp my way back to what is familiar and easy for me.
However, every time I throw a tantrum, deep down within me that feeling of need, creativity, and longing starts stirring in my heart and soul. The knowledge is imparted once again that I am created for a purpose. And the only way I’m going to fulfill that purpose is to get back on my camel and push forward. (I’m really hoping that by now you realize I’m not really on a camel.) Along this journey, the biggest lesson I’ve come to is this. I don’t just want my life to matter. I want it to have substance.
No longer am I content to leave my mark somewhere and be content with people might know who I am. I am discovering that a life of substance no longer focuses my life purpose on me. It takes my eyes that are prone to wander and opens them to the person I’ve been led to. I become secondary. As John the Baptist said about Jesus – He must increase. I must decrease. In wanting to live a life of substance, I realize that not only does my perspective about myself change, but the way I look at people changes as well. They’re not just people anymore. As C.S. Lewis so eloquently put it, “You don’t have a soul, you ARE a soul. You have a body.”
This is what I want the substance of my life to be. To be so focused on Him and the people I encounter that the larger story of my call becomes a nonissue. At the end of my life, I want to be able to look back and know within the depths of the soul He’s given me I gave it all. That I poured every ounce of who I am into whatever He put in front of me at any given time. I believe that it is in living my life in this manner that I will find the fulfillment of the desire I seek: to be known as I am truly. And because of this knowing, meaning and purpose will be the course of my life.