Throughout my life, the concept of purpose has always been on my radar. I think from the time I was a little child, I always knew that I had a purpose for being here—that I was meant to do something great and meaningful and leave a grand mark on the world. I think I also, in some ways, always knew that the world was broken. Even before I understood all the realities of sin and pain and why Jesus had to die for humanity, I knew that things needed to be fixed. I faced a lot of fear growing up, so perhaps it was this ever-present darkness in my own mind that told me something was not quite right.
The thing was, I didn’t want it to stay that way. And I never wanted to stay where I was, either. I knew there was more, but for so long there seemed to be so many walls in the way of the more, so many limitations that looked like Mount Everest.
So how was I going to leave my mark?
Fear is a powerful thing. At least it always feels that way. So are thoughts and beliefs. As a child, teenager, and young adult my life consisted of highs and lows, frustrations and victories. Many times I was visited by a hope that lifted my heart—the sort of hope that you can hardly explain, you just feel it, you know it’s telling you something really important, and you know you must follow it. But in this world, that hope proves to be quite elusive at times. I would ride on the high of this very real hope in times of encounter with my Creator, in amazing worship events at my church or other places, or in conferences in which I was touched so deeply by the messages shared from the stage. Sometimes this hope would even find me in my bedroom, penetrating my heart with a line from a novel or a song playing from an old cassette player or, later on, my very own CD player. I loved and lived for these unexpected moments when passion would flood my little chest with a sense of I’m meant for so much more.
But in everyday life, more often than not, the “realities” I faced told me in no uncertain terms that I probably would never actually do great things for God, that I would never really make much of an impact. I was too small, with too few resources, too quiet and too afraid. I thrived on idealistic dreams, but I was not courageous enough to take action most of the time. Courage for me looked different than for others. Courage for me looked like making it through a speech in class, or forcing myself to speak to someone that my introverted self wouldn’t naturally speak to. It looked like deciding to raise my hands all the way during worship, or sitting with someone other than my two closest friends at lunchtime. Sometimes courage looked like just showing up at youth group on a Wednesday night.
How was I ever going to change the world if it took all my effort to get myself out of my bedroom to enter a social setting?
That’s the thing about Jesus, though. Jesus trumps our personalities. I am convinced that knowing His heart is the most important thing we will ever seek, pursue, or do in this life. The problem I had growing up is that I didn’t always see this—most of the time I only saw my limitations, and they blinded me to the greater reality that called to me in those songs, in those heroic stories, in those intimate and meaningful times of worship and soaking in the Word of God. If I could tell my younger self something important it would be this: Search for God’s heart more than anything. He is good and He is for you.
Something like that, anyway.
There’s also this thing called hope. Hope is the thing that carries us through hard times, or times of waiting. Hope always sees beyond limitations or impossibilities. Hope calls to the truest parts of us.
I think so often throughout my life I have felt lost, because I have felt as if I was missing something, or I was not moving toward my own freedom fast enough to catch up to all God was doing in the Earth. If I couldn’t keep up with Him, how was my life ever going to make a difference within His movement? But this is a classic case of failing to comprehend God’s heart—of not understanding what is most important to Him.
God is not concerned with movements or even revivals as much as he is concerned with hearts. If He can get our hearts, He’s got everything. If He can get us to believe in our true identity and believe that we are infinitely loved and that He is infinitely good, everything will follow from there. I think a lot of us feel like it’s too late. Like, if I haven’t gotten it by now, when will I ever? Even as Christians we feel like we’re missing something, and we believe it’s all our fault somehow but we don’t know how to change that.
For some time now God has kept me in this interesting place, a place in which he speaks constant reminders of who He is to me, of His heart towards me. It’s a place where I hear His whispers of freedom and yet I feel as if the fullness of it yet eludes me. In this place, the only thing I want is His heart. I want to know Him. Several times he has spoken these words to my soul: I will keep you in this place and stay with you however long it takes. See, we are so concerned with time; but God has no regard for time. He’ll take His time. Because us getting the truth is way more important to Him than moving forward.
I think that God is waiting for most of us to just slow down. To go at His pace and not get ahead of ourselves. See, we can do so many things for Him and yet lose the most important thing—knowing Him and understanding His heart, and then what follows: knowing our own identity—an identity that is not limited by personality, by the past or by sin, by mistakes or disqualifications. An identity that is rooted in the truth that our old selves died with Jesus on the cross and we were reborn, with a slate wiped clean, when He rose from the tomb.
I will end with this thought: If our single cry our entire lives is to know God’s—our Father’s—heart, I believe that we will discover it was a life well spent. This cry itself will lead us into our destiny. This cry will become the irremovable mark we leave on this broken Earth.