Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Your Calling is Now.

Last year, I chose the word "Called" as my word of the year. I don't normally do that, and I had been scoffing at my friends who did (sorry!). But when I stopped for a moment to think about what my word might be, Called instantly came into my mind and ideas started instantly zooming across my mind.

I really enjoyed going through almost a full 12 months of thinking, praying, and studying over different things we are Called to in the bible. I can say with all sincerity that it changed my life. Not that I was headed in a direction totally opposed to the direction I am headed today, but now I feel armed and prepared.

When you write, your best ideas come from the struggles you have waded through. You can write from a place of pain, but it shows. You can also write on a topic you have not experienced, but it's likely that someone writing with that experience will relate better to their readers. And watch out if you are writing about something you regularly struggle with or are challenged by, because chances are, you are going to struggle, wrestle, become weighed down by, and possibly feel nearly defeated by whatever that challenge is. I know, because I am still wrestling! But, God is giving me moments of victory along the way, and I'm tucking them aside and writing them down just for you :)

The centerpiece of my Called mission is that we are not Called to do something tomorrow, next week, or far off down the road. We are Called to do things today. Sure, maybe today's obedience includes saying yes to an engagement that will happen next week, or next month, or even next year, but you are still acting in the now. Now is all we ever have. Everything else is "as the Lord wills".

I read a saying last week that I really love. One that really convicted me years ago, and one that still inspires me today. The old African proverb says...

"The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

Isn't that the truth? If we didn't start something in the past, the next best time to get it done is today, right now. 

A friend of mine also posted this quote this week (I don't know anything about this man, so go do your own research and have your own opinion if it bothers you that I am quoting him.) by Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

"Now is the best time to start becoming the person we eventually want to be."

Now is the only moment you have to make any kind of decision. It's very cliché to say that you never know what tomorrow will bring, or that you are not guaranteed tomorrow, I know. But the reason it is said so often is because it completely true and we forget it over and over again. 

God is not telling you to be someone tomorrow that He wouldn't want you to pursue being today. If you feel God nudging you toward a certain career field, ministry, or life of service, the only thing you can do about it is act accordingly today. Daydreaming, brainstorming about what it might be like, and trying to "figure it all out" will only waste the time you have today to actually prepare. 

With three growing children, a husband with a demanding job, and with myself homeschooling and trying to run things at home (along with all my artistic and entrepreneurial endeavors), I realize how much of my early-married life I spent thinking about my future in a way that inhibited my growth. All those hours of watching TV, sitting in movie theaters, perusing the mall... I could have made such better use of the time! But I was not living in reality. I was living with a hope that someday a great opportunity would find me, but I failed to prepare in any meaningful way. 

I still wrestle with taking advantage of my "now" in a way that would make me qualified to write a book about it, but I see growth and I desperately want it. I have the tools to remind myself of the truth in God's word about what He desires from me, and what I will receive from Him. I am getting better at preventing paralysis based on comparison or regret. I still have weak moments, rough days, and often have to swallow the sour drink of missed opportunities, but they don't have to define what I can do right now. 

That is the best part about "now": as long as I am living, I have a brand new Now to take advantage of! If I messed up yesterday, and I wake up again this morning - boom! I can try again. If I totally went the wrong direction two hours ago, I have a choice about what I do right now. Will I choose to let daydreams or my past determine these decisions today? Or will I let God's truth, God's fresh mercies, and God's everlasting source of power and discernment guide my choices?

I'm sure it's a lifelong struggle, but I will tuck every victory into my belt and let it remind me next week, or tomorrow, or even later tonight, that God enables me to do, right now, exactly what He is Calling me to do. 

If you didn't plant that tree 20 years ago, 10 years ago, last year, or even yesterday, it doesn't mean you can't plant it today. Go for it!

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