It’s a word we hear on a daily basis.
We use it to describe our days, as a way to get out of stuff, and sometimes as a reason to explain why we forget things.
We almost always use the word with a negative connotation; yet deep down inside there is actually this sense of pride we feel as we use it to describe our lives.
Saying that we are busy makes us feel justified with how we spend our time. It somehow makes it seem that by being busy we are also being purposeful, when in reality the two do not necessarily go hand in hand.
It is possible for you to be living an extremely busy life and at the same time to be wasting it.
Just because we are spending our time on good things, does not necessarily mean that we are doing them for God’s glory or that they are part of His plan for us!
I don’t know about you, but I’ll confess here that I am totally the kind of person who actually starts to feel guilty if I am not being “busy” enough. I start to tell myself that either I am being lazy, wasting precious time, or that there are simply too many important things to be doing!
I shared in an earlier post that one of my greatest fears is that I will one day look back on my life and see all the time I have wasted. I think one of the main ways my humanity works to combat this fear is by trying so hard to stay busy all the time. If I am being honest, it is very difficult at times for me to discern whether or not I am just filling up my time with unnecessary activities or I am being truly purposeful.
Proverbs 29:18 says,
“Where there is no vision, the people perish…”
Having a clear vision for where we are going is essential to living a productive and meaningful life. Without having one, everyone and everything else will plan our lives for us. .
Understanding what our specific callings are is how we create a vision for our lives.
So how do we know what those callings are and whether or not we are spending our time on the right things? How can we figure out what we have to offer and what goals we should be moving towards?
I love this quote from John Piper that I feel really gives a full picture of how to go through this process. He says,
“First, I suggest that you give yourself to the word of God. Immerse yourself in God’s assessment of you and the world, so that you see things through God’s eyes.
Secondly, get a realistic view of yourself—your gifts, weaknesses and strengths—and let others help you by participating in the Body of Christ and having them comment on what things they see in you.
Third, look at the situation in the world, either in your immediate vicinity or in some distant place, and get a burden for the world.
I believe that when these three things happen—saturation with the Bible, a true understanding of yourself, and a clear vision of the needs of the world—and you begin to stir them together with the stirring spoon of prayer, I believe that what will emerge is an aroma of what the clear calling of God is on your life.
You’ll know which way to follow God and use your gifts for him, whatever the particular specifics are.”
Saturation with the Bible, a true understanding of yourself, and a clear vision of the needs of the world around you. This is the foundational place to start in determining God’s call for our lives.
I remember when I was just beginning college I had the opportunity to be led through a process that helped me answer these questions.
This process was literally one of the most amazing, impactful things I had ever done. I was asked questions like,
What strengths and gifts do I delight in using?
Are there any specific groups of people I care for greatly?
What things did I do as a child that I felt like I was made to do?
What experiences have I gone through that have molded and shaped me?
What are some things I have not been successful with?
Delving deep into these questions changed the way I saw myself and my purpose in a way I’ll never forget. I remember feeling for the first time like the dots of my life were connecting. I finally saw all the various aspects of my personality, experiences and relationships and how they fit together in a meaningful way.
Before I went through this process I felt aimless. I was positive that I was a misfit with nothing to offer. I didn’t who I was or where I was going.
I just knew that I felt restless to do something and be someone who made a difference!
Since I have gone through this process and taken the time to ask these questions about myself, I have a greater sense of a vision for my life.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not talking simply about self discovery here.
Instead, I can honestly say that by going through that process, I discovered God in a deeper way than I ever had before.
It was one of the most faith building experiences I had ever gone through.
The reason why is because when I looked at my life, I did not see how special and unique I was. I saw instead how amazing and beautiful God’s design was.
My life was not a random concoction of people, places, and events all thrown together in a bowl and mixed up. Every aspect of my life, my personality and my passions had been orchestrated for a reason.
He had created me without mistake. And from the moment I was born He was skillfully molding me for the good works He had prepared in advance for me to do.
What a personal and loving God!
I was so delighted when recently I discovered Elisa Pulliam’s workbook, Equipped: Because You Were Made to Live on Purpose! It totally reminds me of the study that I did at the beginning of college. This workbook is short, but it is jam packed full of incredible tools to help you discover what your calling is!
Elisa uses worksheets and assessment tests that help you determine your personality, learning style and spiritual gifts. She also takes you through a process that helps you figure out how God wants to use you and what your goals and priorities are for yourself.
The thing that stood out to me the most about this book is that Elisa stresses that we do not create goals and plans for our lives as a way to be control freaks. We know that God is sovereign over our lives, and that all our plans could be squashed in a second if He chose to take us home now. He, however, allows us to plan, dream and steward our days so that the time we spend here is purposefully spent for Him.
She takes readers through three steps to live life intentionally:
Explore – Considering what God is teaching you
Embrace – Pinpointing how God wants to use you
and Engage – Setting priorities for the year with measurable goals.
If you have never taken the time to pray and seek God’s will on what His calling is for your life, or if you are simply needing some redirection, than I highly recommend this amazing resource! You will find true, godly wisdom that ultimately leads you on a journey not of self discovery, but of discovering the amazing ways God works.
1 Corinthians 12 says,
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
You have been given unique gifts.
You have a specific role in the Body of Christ that only you can fill.
So will you answer the call today, and start using what you have been given?
Reflect and Respond
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” 1 Corinthians 12:21-23
Do you struggle with knowing the difference between being busy and being purposeful? What does this look like for you?
Get your journal and carve out some time to pray and think about your gifts, passions, and experiences. Do you see a connection between these things? How do you think God could use your unique abilities for His glory? What questions or fears do you have about using your gifts?
This post is the ninth post in a 31 Day Series titled, Discovering How God Makes a Difference. To read the rest of the posts in this series click here.
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Want to get the most out of this series? Try journaling through the challenge questions and daily verses! Pray and ask the Lord to open your eyes to the ways He is seeking to transform your life.
Feel like sharing how God is making a difference in your life today? Let us know in the comments! We can all learn from and be inspired by each other!