Own Your Gifts

latestThank you, Sir. I think I can be brave enough. — Lucy
I’m sure you could. Battles are ugly affairs… These are tools, not toys. Bear them well and wisely. — Father Christmas
(quotes from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

Much like the young children from the beloved C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, we’ve all been granted gifts to use in pursuing our callings. But the more I think on it, the more I’m convinced we all-too-often overlook the reason behind it all. It’s not so much a calling we yearn for; it’s a sense of purpose. And until we have it, we remain restless despite our callings.

According to Google definition:
A calling is a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career; a vocation.
A purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

To have a calling without a purpose leaves me incomplete. I might have a bent toward a certain way of life or career, but without a reason for choosing that particular path, I’ll remain aimless in accomplishing anything of worth. I am a wife, daughter, friend, mother, writer, intercessor… these are all callings on my life. But my callings are not interchangeable with my purpose; they are merely vehicles to achieving that purpose which is larger than all of those identities combined.

Despite the seasons of my life, my purpose remains consistent: to love God and to love others as myself. But how that looks morphs and changes throughout the years and is dependent upon my roles being played out in the lives of others. To one, I am wife. To some, I am mother. To others, I am friend…

As I live to fulfill my purpose each day, I must ask myself a few pertinent questions:
How do I best show love to my husband?
What does it look like to honor God while encouraging my family?
How do I support my friends as I urge them to remember God’s faithfulness through the trials of this life?
How do I impact a lost and hurting world?

In short, how do I fling my arms about my Savior and humanity at the same time?

The answer?

Be brave enough to be here now.

Stop and linger long as you intentionally make time for relationships. With God and with His people.
Set goals for the future, yes, but live in the moments that are.

When we choose to linger with God, we cannot help but be saturated with His Spirit. And when we are filled with His Spirit, we have eyes to see and ears to hear and hands prepared to move and to act and to serve in obedience, wherever we are. Right here in this moment of everyday life we are living.

The Spirit of God has dreams for you, friend, and they come with gifts to equip you to fulfill those dreams. It’s time to open the packages in your hands and trust you are the owner of them. To be brave enough to accept and to bear them well and wisely, for these gifts are not meant merely for you alone, but also for the people whom you encounter this side of eternity.

At the start of this New Year, I encourage you to own your gifts, beloved. Use them up. Drain them dry for His glory and for the benefit of all who need to be touched by the love of God you have to offer.

Your gifts might not look the same as the packages being opened all around you, and that’s okay. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lucy and Susan and Peter all received different gifts because their callings were all unique. What they were each meant to accomplish looked very different even as they worked toward the same goal. If they would have been caught up in comparing their gifts instead of using them, then the entire kingdom of Narnia would have suffered and remained in bondage to a perpetual winter that was never Christmas.

Likewise, people need what you have to give as much as you need what others have to offer. Someone needs your love today. Your prayers. Your encouragement. Your faith being expressed from your uniqueness. Believe it, then be brave enough to bear your purpose well and wisely when the time is at hand. Don’t allow the comparison trap to keep you clenching your gift tightly, fearful of how it might look when you finally allow it to slip from your fingers into the life of another.

Once we start sharing, we’ll see the power in the gift. We’ll see the impact it can make. We’ll feel the difference of transformation taking place before our eyes and within us. And we’ll yearn to pour the life He has given upon all who come near.

So move into your purpose, dear one. Reach out to your spouse first thing in the morning as you are filled with God’s grace to partner together under the influence of the Spirit’s leading. Come alongside those teenagers you loved enough to birth, and continue to stick with them to birth something real and beautiful as they grow. Stretch out your hands to your friends and clasp them in prayer over that next cup of coffee. Wherever you are, at any given moment… be present.

Be real.

Be you.

Make it your intention to live with the intent of fulfilling your purpose.

Because you have one, and it’s beautiful.

And it’s needed.

People are waiting for you.

I think you can be brave enough.

Lucy-pevensie-and-lucy-pevensie-cordial-gallery47cb19c205802f881fa63eae4db5a9af

 

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Let Your Little Child Lead

“As a mature Christian, I had somehow stepped over the phase of being a child with my heavenly Father.”
– Laura Bower

As I pondered the above statement, I had to give a nod of acquiescence to the reality of these words holding true in my own life. Time and again, I’ve forgotten the importance of being a child with God.

Instead of skipping through my days with wonder, I’ve rushed to grow up, developing and maturing, so I could take control of my life and fulfill my duties in the Christian realm. Seeking to please by performing, I’ve often raced right past Father’s open arms waiting to draw me near. I’ve neglected to learn how to trust in His presence simply by spending time there.

In God’s upside-down Kingdom, a little child shall lead them. Skipping and giggling, hand glued to Father’s own. Secure. Fully known. Forever loved. Delighting to work and play alongside Daddy. Eager to help and eagerly received, even when all she can do is make mudpies and pick dandelions. It is enough for Daddy.

God really doesn’t need us to do anything for Him. He’s far more capable than we are of keeping the universe in motion. He doesn’t need our timid acts of service — He wants our hearts. He wants to grasp our grubby, little hands in His own and spin us wildly in circles of grace before tumbling into the grass together in fits of laughter.

Because here is where we learn His love. In the presence of a King who not only rises to show us compassion and save us from damnation, but in the arms of a Father who delights to draw us near and sing lullabies to quiet our souls.

This is where we begin. This is where we mature. This is where we stay and to where we return again and again, to learn and relearn His ways.

We grow in His presence. Emulating His character, mimicking His movements, and yes, fulfilling the work He has called us to complete. But not on our own. Not because of some irrational need for approval. Not in our ill-equipped independence.

We work at His side because this is where love develops, swinging hammer in sync with His own as we pound out this new ancient way. Here in His presence, the work becomes more like play as we converse and laugh in a closeness that grows as we stay by His side. Asking questions, following His example, noticing the things that tug at Father’s heart. And believing we are valuable just because we’re His.

This is where we mature as Christians – day after day abandoning ourselves to the child inside and allowing her to lead us to Him.

www.hdnicewallpapers.comThrough the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. – Psalm 8:2

 

 

Receive the Moment

Whatever the pace of my life, time will keep it.

Whether my days are a flurry of activity or a lounging Sabbath rest, time holds steady.

Minutes tick by with rhythmic precision. No matter the frantic cadence of my heart racing to fill the moments as I rush from one thing to another, and somehow only manage to come up empty the more I grasp for stillness. Thinking to lay my hands upon abundant life by cramming my schedule with more, I fail to realize that time keeps its own pace. It fills and empties at the same rate, and there is no amount of hurry that can wish it away or make it linger long.

Time holds constant. Continues on, beat by beat. Slipping by minute after minute, while I am caught in this never-ending cycle of trying to make the most of the moments. I remain in this whirlwind of forgetting that more is found in less and satisfaction often shows itself in simplicity.

Grace is grown in rest with God.

Abundant life flourishes in abiding, gathering strength and nourishment from moments spent in communion with Father.

Why is it so hard to slow down when I know it is what God would ask of me?

Why do I cave to the temptation to hurry through each day instead of basking in each precious heartbeat, knowing full well it could be my last?

Today I am reminding myself to enjoy the moments. No matter that I am certain to need the reminder again, possibly even before this hour has ended. For now, I am choosing to tarry with time instead of zipping past its presence.

I want to linger with loved ones and squeeze bits of solitude into my days.

To slow down.

Simplify.

Soak in Sabbath rest.

To learn to make the most of my time and live each second.

To be here now.

Fully present.

As I open wide and receive the moment.

IMG_4141To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens…