Be Brave. Use Your Gift and Discover Your Purpose
I recently had the honor of speaking to a mom’s group at a friend’s church. As a blogger, I spend my time behind the screen – and there’s a reason for that. I’m a writer, not a speaker! However, I knew this was something I needed to do, and the women were so kind and welcoming. I spoke about being brave and finding your passion and purpose. My prayer is that God can speak through me and encourage some of you! Below is the speech I gave:
I have some OCD tendencies. I
like NEED order and schedules. I know God has a sense of humor because he blessed me with three children. Obviously trying to keep a clean and organized home with kids is like shoveling in a snowstorm. It’s basically impossible, right?! I’m from a small town in Southern Illinois. I’m the middle of three girls. At a young age, I was very into art (I was the coloring contest queen in my little town), and I loved decorating my room. I was probably the only elementary-aged girl with a Victorian-themed room. I spent hours deciding on the best placement of my doilies and teacups. Needing to get away (but not too far away), I went to Anderson University. I decided to major in business with a minor in art. After my first art class (despite loving creating and knowing I had talent), I immediately walked over to see my advisor to drop it. I was afraid. Insecure. Filled with self-doubt. I chose not to be brave. Now sometimes doubt can be a necessary force that encourages us to keep building. However, most of the time (like in my case), I find it’s a negative thing. I loved creating and knew I had talent, yet I told myself I wasn’t good enough to be an art major. Doubt can hold you back if you allow it to. Instead of running to the advisor, I should have prayed about my decision first.
The following year, I met and began dating my now-husband. Steve was (and still is!) my best cheerleader. He encouraged me to go for art again. So, and the beginning of my junior year, I picked up a second major in art and design. I decided to be brave! While writing this, I realized that I’m not a very good encourager to my husband, yet he is always encouraging me.
A brief aside: Have you ever considered the value of an encourager? To encourage means “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope.” “Encourage means to fill with courage or strength of purpose.”Barnabus, the new testament early church leader, was known as the“Son of Encouragement.” Do you have any Barnabuses in your life? Are you a Barnabus for others? For those of us who aren’t especially brave by nature, someone to help inspire us with courage, to provide us with the strength of purpose can be very important. And I want to become a better encourager myself, too.
Anyway… Steve and I were married the summer after we graduated from Anderson, and he went on to school at IU Bloomington. I found a job at a greeting card company that I absolutely LOVED. The year and summer before we moved to Bloomington, I attached that greeting card company with resumes and phone calls. I had worked so hard for that art major, but just because I was graduating with it didn’t mean I was going to get a job where I used it in a field I loved. The fear of not having a creative job was a great motivator (and of course I had my encourager constantly telling me I could do it). I ended up getting a temporary position with the greeting card company a week before we were married. We were definitely singing praises over the course of those weeks! My temporary job became a permanent position, and four years into my career, I had my first son. Steve was working crazy hours, and we were living on the Northside of Indianapolis which made Bloomington a long commute. We made the decision for me to quit my job and stay at home. Although incredibly thankful to be home with our son, I hated it. I had trouble finding purpose in sleepless nights, feedings, and endless diaper changes. I had no time for myself, and I was depressed and lacked passion for anything at that point in my life. I was honestly just too tired. Luckily, I found a Bible study full of the most encouraging women who were both in my stage and out of it. I realized that what I was going through was a phase. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote, “The days are long but the years are short.” And boy the days really can feel like the clock is just ticking by – especially during the witching hours between naps and dinner. My job and purpose at that point in my life were to care for my baby. Although it felt minor, it was a huge responsibility. My baby was going to become an adult someday, and I was given the responsibility of God to raise him.
Some of you are so much healthier about this than I was! There really are moms who from day one love being a mom and want nothing more. I wanted to be that mom…desperately! But I wasn’t. You live and learn, and while I was in the middle of being a mom of babies and toddlers, I discovered that I needed to take care of myself to be a better mom and wife. (Staying sane is important.) I got myself ready each day – whether or not I was leaving the house. It wasn’t anything amazing, but I did my hair and put on a little bit of makeup. It barely took any time, and it made a huge difference in my attitude. I also carved out a little bit of me-time. I made late-night runs to Target (kid-free) and enjoyed a little bit of quiet time while the kids napped – I would read or watch tv.
They are learning from us! If we don’t go after our dreams, how will they ever learn to chase after theirs? As my kids got older, they required a little less of me which meant I slowly found a little more of me. I began creating again – invitations, decorating, painting walls…slowly I was uncovering my passion. I prayed that God would show me what He wanted to do with my creativity.When Steve would be gone on work trips, he always came back to a project. In the evenings after the kids were in bed, I would get restless and creative. Most of the time the projects involved painting walls – and boy did I do some crazy things! Luckily those walls could be repainted, and I’m sure they have been with the home’s new owners.
Once Steve was gone a little longer than normal since he was on a mission trip with our church. When he came back, I had created my business. Sincerely, Sara D. was born. For close to two years now, I’ve been working on growing my business and praying that God uses it and my gifts to glorify Him. I love my job, and it brings me so much joy. For now, I feel that I have found my passion and purpose. Finding our purpose in life is probably our greatest quest as humans. It is a theme in any stage of life, largely because our specific purposes may change – or at least be carried out differently – in different seasons of life. Thankfully, we as believers can rest in the fact that our lives do have a purpose. God created us with intent, He knows His plans for us, and He is eager to reveal Himself to us. He desires that we know Him, we enjoy Him, we witness Him, and we live out our unique role in his body.
A purpose that applies to all humans is that of knowing and enjoying God. God did not have to create humanity – He has no needs. But, He chose to create us so that we could fellowship with Him. And as believers, our purpose here on earth is to share the gospel. We as his disciples are to go and make fishers of men by sharing the message of salvation. However, each one of us was formed with a unique purpose and passion. God didn’t make all of us the same – we’re each his unique handiwork.
The Bible is full of examples of God’s personal touch on people’s lives. The prophets were individually called by God for a specific time and purpose. Abraham, Noah, Joseph, Ruth, Esther, Mary, and multiple other gifts were used by God for His purposes. First Corinthians 12:12-31 talks about the Church in terms of a body. Each member of the Church has a different purpose, just as each portion of the body is used for different things. Romans 12:6-8 and1 Corinthians 12:4-11 list several spiritual gifts a person might have. We know from science and psychology that people are unique. No one in the world is exactly like you. God made that design. Psalm 139 is a beautiful depiction of the care with which God created us. He “knitted us together in our mother’s womb”. There is a unique purpose that God has just for you. God has a plan for one each of us.
My friend Amy Howard said:
I want us all to dream big and think about what you are passionate about. I personally feel I was created to create. I want to share my love of creating with others – especially women. I love the relationships I’m forming with women through my blog and readers and classes.
What is your gift? A gift is something that you’re not only good at, but it’s something that you have a desire to do. When you’re using that gift you’re filled with joy and power and you often find that you’ve found your passion. Embrace your gift and find your passion. This will take courage, but the most unnatural path to take is to not do what you were made to do. Singers want to sing. Painters want to paint. Teachers want to teach. Embrace your gifts and find your passions! This will require courage, so let’s be brave and dream big together.
I’m going to read several verses, and I want you to write them down, and pray through them later in your quiet time.
The need to dream never should disappear. For some reason, we stop dreaming after having kids. You know that when you were a kid, you dreamed about finding prince charming, marrying that prince charming, and living happily ever after with your babies. However, that’s not the end. There are still dreams to be dreamed. What were you made to do? Ask yourself these questions, “If you could snap your fingers and you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” At the end of your life, you would love to look back and know you had done something about…” If someone were to mention your name in a group of your friends, what would they say you were really interested in or passionate about?” What would you most like to do for others?”
Thanks to all the lovely ladies of the MUMs group in Berne, Indiana! You were all so kind and encouraging!
Go create something!