When I take those moments in life to stop and think about who I am, where I have come from, and where I am going, it is very easy to see the numerous places that I have missed the mark. Whatever the mark may be! It is all too tempting to see the “bad” me; to see the numerous places that I have failed to meet the expectations of friends, family, employers, myself, and God. But I want to look at things differently! I don’t want to look back and see my failures anymore! I want to look back and see my successes! I am tired of measuring myself by what I have not accomplished; by what I do not have.
How do I do that?
I don’t have some great prescribed, or even contrived, answer. Like most things in life, I think it must start with baby steps! Baby steps are hard for me! I like to start and finish and in one breath! So how do I baby-step something like this? After all, I am asking myself to see myself in a completely different way! My grandmother used to say, “Well, you’ve got to start somewhere, so you might as well just start!” How apropos! So where do I start?
Maybe a good place to start is to list out some of the things that I know God created me to do. Where am I at in these things? What has the Lord been able to use me for?
How about just thanking God for all of the things He created me to do! He made me with vision and purpose in mind! And He is God, creator of all things big and little. So, if He thinks I am worth having a destiny, then surely I am!
Over time, I have thought a lot about destiny! For a while I thought that my obsession was because I was just lost in this world. I kind of felt like the sheep who wandered away from the heard. Only I didn’t really feel like anyone was looking for me. I felt like I had to find my own way back to the flock. Maybe that is part of the blindness that comes with being a sheep. Over time, I have decided that I am not really that unique in wanting to know what God created me for. I think it is that most people have an innate desire or need to know that they were made for a reason! Jeremiah says both, “You were created in your mother’s womb with a purpose” and “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord”. Well, shouldn’t we be asking, “What is that purpose? What are those plans?”
If I had to put into one word what I think my destiny is about, I would say “children.” I believe that the Lord created me for children! For a long time, I was happy taking care of other people’s children, but I didn’t really believe that I could be living out my destiny if I didn’t have children of my own. I still want…crave…to have children of my own one day, but I can see things a little more clearly now. I don’t know exactly what made this shift come, but I know it has something to do with understanding the heart of God as a Father a bit better! But now, I can live my day and declare that I am not only preparing for my destiny, but living my destiny each and every day!
The Lord created me to declare His truth, blessing, and love over children!
I don’t have to have children of my own to do this! I get to do it every day that I walk into my classroom, every time I baby-sit for friends, every time I hold my niece! I get to live out my destiny just by loving on babies!
I have a dear friend who is a Children's Pastor at a church. I used to work in the baby room and when recruiting helpers to assist, she would often say, “I just need someone to hold babies and love on them.” I used to get slightly offended by this. I loved taking care of the babies, but I just felt like this phrase was misleading. It made me feel like whoever the helper was, they would expect to just sit in a rocking chair and hold a baby and do the fun stuff, but I would have to change the diapers, stress over which child eats what and when, etc. I didn’t like that a place that requires so much work was introduced in such a casual way. Well, I was wrong! Schedules are important. Babies are much happier (and so are their adult friends) when they get fed on time, have clean underpants, and get a little nap or two in during the day! This is true! I knew they needed to be loved on, but I was seeing love in the aspect of meeting their physical needs. I always wanted to meet their spiritual needs as well, but I somehow put that as secondary to taking care of the basics. What I was wrong about was the value in having people present to just hold and love on each of these precious ones! We all need to know that we are loved! We all need to know that we are special enough for someone to take time to cuddle with us! We all need to know that we are welcome; not in the way! I think that far too often, we treat children in dismissive ways! I know I have been guilty!
The other night I was babysitting a 6 year old (Amy) and a 1 year old (Samantha). We went to a restaurant for dinner as a special treat. Amy was so excited about having a fun date that she would NOT stop talking!! Every other second she would say, “Oh and that reminds me of another story!” At one point in time her little six-year-old head was balancing the telling of 3 stories…simultaneously! Her little sister, Samantha, is fairly low maintenance. But being one-year-old, she requires some assistance in eating. I was trying to feed her and listen to story #203 and I all of a sudden felt my head get so overwhelmed that I just looked at Amy. In my head I thought, “Child, what do I need to do to make you stop talking for 5 minutes?” I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to convey…she was welcome to be with me. She was not in the way! I wanted her there…maybe a little less vocal…but I still wanted her to be with me! So, I took a second and what came out of my mouth was this… “Amy, I bless you as a story-teller! God has given you the gift of telling stories! He likes hearing you tell stories and so do I! But I need to give Samantha some attention now, and my ears need a little break. I need you to take a few minutes and eat your dinner. Can you please save your stories for a little while?”
You should have seen the excitement in her eyes! She had been exhorted as a story-teller instead of being told she was talking too much! When I told her, “God made you a story-teller”, she even agreed and said, “That’s right!” At the end of that little teaching moment (for myself as well as Amy) I felt really good about the way I handled things. I felt like I had remembered that Amy was created with a purpose…I don’t know that her purpose involves telling stories, but I do know that God gave her the desire and ability to recount details and communicate those things to other people! I want to bless her in that and encourage her, rather than leave her feeling like she is weak or less of a person because of her need and desire to talk a lot! That was a moment when I felt like I had lived out my destiny…to declare God’s truth, blessing, and love for children! How amazing to get to the end of the day and be able to say, “I have lived out my destiny for today!”