When you identify and remove weeds from your garden, you make room for new things to grow. You prepare for greatness by clearing the soil for the seeds God wants you to plant.
What is it that God wants you to make happen?
What does He want you to grow to fulfill His purpose for you? What does He want you to cultivate to share with others? What seeds has He already given you that need watering? He may not reveal these answers to you right away, but He has given you some tools and wisdom to help you walk on His path and find clarity. He wants you to seek answers from Him.
Let’s first look at the big picture:
- If you could envision your most purposeful year yet, what would it look like?
- When you envision your talents and resources aligning with God’s purpose, what would that look and feel like?
- Why do you want to live on purpose?
- Where do you want to be when you’re eighty?
I’ve asked these questions of thousands of women. The answers I’ve been given largely center on relationships. When we envision ourselves at eighty years old, having lived on purpose, we typically don’t envision social media, comparison, or our stuff in the picture; we see people. We see hearts — hearts we hope to have affected in a purposeful way. We see those we have spent quality time with. We see grounded stillness. We see contentment. We see these same things reflected in the life Jesus lived — loving His Father and serving others. So the big question then is:
If that’s where God wants us, what is really important today?
Where do we start? We start where all life begins — with tiny seeds.
During the days of grief following my miscarriage, I ordered a copy of the Southern Seed Exchange catalog, a beautifully illustrated encyclopedia of Southern plant life. I needed something to look forward to, so I took some time to plan our spring garden. I read about varieties that did well together and would grow well in our zone, and I did some dreaming too. What would be good to share with neighbors? What would Grace love to watch grow? What would Ari enjoy? How could our garden be one of purpose?
There are two kinds of plants: perennials and annuals. Perennials grow for more than one year, and annuals live for only a single season or two. In the same way, there are two kinds of goals: long-term habits or lifestyle changes (deepening our relationship with God, becoming more patient, building a strong marriage, creating financial health) and short-term goals that have a specific end-date (running a marathon, going on a mission trip, completing a project for work). All our goals should be aimed at our purpose, but some need long-term focus, and some need to be focused on for only a season.
As we begin to explore living out our purpose through set- ting clear goals, pray about where God wants your attention in the long term and short term. How can you funnel every aspect of your life toward loving Him and loving others well? How can you use all the gifts and resources He has given you to live on purpose?
There are some seeds God gave us long ago that are lying dormant. You know the ones I’m talking about. The gifts you think don’t matter. The things you are afraid to water because they just might grow into something. The things you love to do but you feel like you’re not the best or an expert, so you don’t do them much or at all. Perhaps it’s a gift of teaching or encouragement or creativity.
Friend, your gifts — the seeds of purpose God has given you — matter.
Maybe those seeds won’t grow into fruit-bearing plants that provide for your family, but they might make beautiful flowers that attract bees and make life beautiful, blooms that refresh the soul and can be given to others, spreading joy. And who knows, maybe those gifts would provide for your family — and a whole lot of other people — if you would just give them a sunny spot in your life and some basic nutrients.
What are those seeds that you already have but haven’t sown for whatever reason? What are the things that light your soul on fire? Would you be living more on purpose — loving God and serving others — in doing them? If the answer is yes, what are you waiting for? Get to planting! If the answer is “maybe” or “I don’t know,” dig in a little more. You can always uproot a plant if it’s not growing well in your garden, but you won’t know until you try. You don’t have to plant a whole field of it, just one seed. One tiny seed might change everything. You have talents and gifts that were meant to be used, not stored away.
I have a friend who loves to knit, but at first she didn’t think it was important or worth her time. She even felt guilty when she would spend time knitting because it wasn’t something she thought could help people or provide for her family. But God kept pulling her back to that yarn. When she connected her gift — this dormant seed — with God’s purpose, a lightbulb went off. She now has a flourishing business and gives half of her profits to causes that have greatly benefitted from her contributions. Her knitting means something.
The things that fire you up in life can be a mirror to the way God wired your heart.
If you are drawn to creativity, maybe He wants you to use those gifts to glorify Him. If you are drawn to teaching, perhaps that means something. If you are drawn to logistics and numbers, it’s possible God has something for you there.
No matter your age or circumstances, if God wants you to use a gift for Him, He will make it happen.
If you come alive in the kitchen, like my mama, maybe there is purpose potential there. Several years ago, at the age of sixty, my mom read an article in the local paper’s food section about the Krispy Kreme burger: a hamburger patty, fried egg, and bacon sandwiched between two donuts. She took a leap of faith and wrote the paper to tell them she wanted to write a food column for them, centering on local, healthy ingredients. For three years she has been writing twice a month, educating thousands on the basics of wholesome cooking and Southern hospitality. She is living her purpose and helping hundreds of families eat well. And she is having the time of her life!
Write out what fires you up — the gifts God has given you and the places where you come alive, the things you love doing above all else. Set a timer for ten minutes and use the entire time to write about what fires you up. Push yourself to keep writing and adding to your list.
Now, do something about it. Use what you know now about breaking down action steps and take action. See how making the things on your list happen starts to shape your life and, most important, the lives of everyone around you. God gave us talents and gifts that are meant to be used to shine His glory brightly.
Excerpted with permission from Make It Happen by Lara Casey, copyright Lara Casey.
* * *
The gifts God has given you are not a mistake and they’re not unimportant. I long to live with purpose and I would imagine that’s true for you, too. What do you love to do? What skills or hobbies or joys can you use for His glory? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full