“We may catch our calling as it hurtles toward us, but mostly we are caught in its web long before we recognize its existence.” Dan B. Allender, PhD, To Be Told–God Invites You to Coauthor Your Future.
I’m not especially cynical. But there was a particular time when it took hold. I suspected motives. I doubted sincerity. I crossed my arms and squinted eyes at the overly-cheery people.
I had to fight a return to my glass half-full outlook.
I once thought that my surroundings, my experience, or my life, solely defined my happy. And though it’s true those things can do that, there is also a happy which must first pass through fire.
From my childhood, there was a grocery store called Safeway. I remember one that was located just off the busy road in one of the small towns I lived. Why name a grocery store, Safeway? For the matter, why name a grocery store Piggly Wiggly?
But those names stuck. They were unique enough to stand out.
The Safe Ways We Avoid Risk
I traveled on the safe ways in my own personal life. Granted I took hard turns. I made bad choices. I veered off. But inside God put His good gifts and talents. Instead of exploring and exposing them, I, however, kept them safe. I buried them. I hid them from scrutiny and rejection.
Then I lived like nothing happened, denying deep within me the way God created me.
“If you pay attention to your life and the lessons it can teach you, you won’t feel so lost. Your story will seem less like a series of dijointed events and more like a beautifully complex narrative unfolding before you.” Jeff Goins, The Art of Work
Cynicism quenches life. It squelches our outlook. It steals our happiness. It can steal our gifts too. If you turn a cynical eye on your self, God’s work is hindered. You become skeptical of your worth, your value, or of the very gifts He gave you.
Attentive to Life We’re Called
It took me a while, but I listened to my life. I paid attention and went back. As I grew older, I reviewed my passions and discovered how wrong it was to neglect them. That’s when I pulled out the shovel and re-earthed the gifts. I dusted off my poetic slant and the Creative force within me. I cooperated with the Holy Spirit to engage in the forsaken.
I was both exhilarated and terrified. My foot trembled at the shovel’s head. But as I exposed the calling, I also exposed my vulnerable self too.
I chose to partner with God. I acknowledged the passions in me and I claimed them. I experienced a hard happy, one of deep satisfaction, full to the brim with risk. One that could burn me.
“Past tragedy and pain are the paints and canvas we are to use to create the art of our life. The marks of our past form the contours that make us a creation filled with intrigue, mystery, and meaning.” Dan B. Allender, PhD, To Be Told–God Invites You to Coauthor Your Future.
I’ve discovered, you don’t have to wait. Where ever you are in life, it’s never late to re-discover. God entrusted you. Your gifts are yours for a reason. Good stewardship doesn’t require a life change, it just means you start where you are.
Your personality, the quirky way you laugh loudly at jokes, the way your intensity rises when talking about a certain topic, the way your heart races to think of doing that thing–God pulses inside you. His creative flair is alive and well.
Pull Up the Gifts & Use Them
Once you leave your safe ways, happiness is the pursuit of Him. No need to make it complicated. Just look beneath the surface and reach for the good gifts. You have something. Pulling it out, to openly use, is a scary-happy. But the kingdom is at hand, it is near, it is in you.
Partner with God. Expose yourself and pursue life the way He made you.
If only you pushed past the doubt and fear and give God’s goodness another look. If only, you practiced bravery more often.
Happiness is not always easy and, at times, will cost you.
But happiness moves you to the heart of gratitude. You not only join in Kingdom come–you partner with the joy of His work. Even if it means going through fire to get it.
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