Friday, October 2, 2009

The Meaning of Life

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire (click here for Eric’s real-life story)

I’ve never heard a better definition of purpose.

The meaning of life – it’s been intellectualized, philosophized, mocked, spliced and diced, ignored, sought by everyone in some fashion from the beginning of time. The question has become so complicated and confused and corrupted. Oh, what a tangled web we weave! Quite right, Sir Walter, quite right.

And yet, God tells us the answer is simple.

His pleasure.

I feel that way when I write. Since I can remember, writing stories has been my passion.

So… why didn’t I major in English or journalism, publish all my thrilling, romantic novels to make me a famous writer while excelling in a world-changing career that wins me a Pulitzer?

Because I allowed the scads of things that hinder God’s purpose to stop me.

Fear (the biggie) got together with Ignorance and Lies, Wounds from the past and fresh Inflictions, Disobedience and Laziness, wrong Perceptions and Excuses, and launched an all-out attack on the gift God wove into my DNA. I gave in to each and every one of them, took a “safe” route, and buried my talent in the ground.

No wonder I’ve always hated that parable. Let's all say together now: con-vic-tion.

(Click here to read the parable… if you really want to.)

But I let it go on for so long that I didn’t know how to dig it up. Sure, I write, all the time in fact, but my deepest desires go unrequited because, honestly, I’m a chicken. And, I’m selfish. Oh yea, and I’ve got this little problem with pride. I was writing strictly for myself…my stories, mine, mine, mine (think – Gollum in Lord of the Rings). I didn’t want criticism. I didn’t want encouragement. I didn’t want development. Oh, I wanted success, but not at the cost of opening up my Alabaster box for all the world to see and laying it at the feet of my Master.

Ah! The problem revealed! I struggled all this time with a sense of purpose, or lack thereof, because I had not surrendered my passion and talent to the God I call Master. I always said I did, but in reality, I never did.


But, oh, the amazing freedom that God offers.

I've just started wading through this, so I’m not testifying to some miraculous explosion of success due to my releasing all the Fears (and his buddies) and obeying God now with every breath I take, every word I write. But grain by grain, He is helping me shovel off the hindrances and unearth the gift He gave me.

When I embrace the simplicity of the real meaning of purpose, the chains that have bound me for so long start to crack and split and fall. No more sin, no more pride, no more excuses, no more blaming others, no more worrying what others will think, no more stubbornness against growth, no more procrastination. As I shift from the mindset that the talent of writing is mine, mine, mine (…my Precious…) to it being the way God made me to worship Him, the links fall away, I can move in freedom, and God gets even more praise and glory.

I hope you take the time to listen to this song, even though it’s probably one you’ve heard before, maybe even one too many times. But listen with fresh ears today. Think of the hindrances keeping you from fulfilling your God-given purpose, that thing that makes you feel like Eric Liddell. Imagine those hindrances as links in a chain, and present them to God, boldly and shamelessly. He’ll unlock them and set you free. He’s the only Who can and He loves you enough that He will. And then do what the song says – dance, lift your hands, praise Him. That is your purpose.

Click here to listen to Mandisa sing “Shackles” It’s the only place on the web I could find to listen for free. You’ll have to click on the song title to get it started. You do not have to sign up for anything on this site to be allowed to listen.

I must end by urging you to read the rest of Joshua (ch. 5-12), about the battles and what happened, especially after the walls of Jericho fell. As I seek purpose and what that looks like here in our new TN home, I’m inspired by what unfolds in those few chapters. God’s plan is specific and His guidance leads to victory. Even the mistakes the Israelites made and the ways in which God responds teach us how He wants to work in our lives and fulfill His purpose in us.

Be blessed, and as always, thanks for visiting Dry Ground!


Deanna Gott said...

I identify... very very much!

lynnrush said...

Rock on, sister. Literally. Shackles is an amazing song. I'm convicted by the words, "Praise him through my circumstance."

So true.

Great post, Lori!