As I stared at the ceiling, I saw the scrape marks. Right after we had moved into our first house, Zac, my husband, scraped off the popcorn textured ceiling. You’d think that would be something you’d never really notice — the ceiling — but it was something I stared at every afternoon. I stared as my newborn son slept. I had nowhere to be. Nothing to do.
I would lay on my beige sofa and stare at the marks that had been left in trying to make something perfect of it. And in the quiet, surrounded by everything I thought I’d ever wanted, I felt that everything I’d ever wanted was strangling me.
I loved my family, but in the process of making a family I had somehow lost myself. Passions were pushed aside, dreams had trickled away, and the needs of other people outside my family had escaped me. My entire former life had been shut down for the immediate demands of one little person. I wondered if it was wrong to care about anything or anyone outside of these four walls. I wondered if I would feel permission to dream again.
I didn’t need to find a career or even a calling. I had one.
What I needed was a sense of purpose. I felt restless.
Was this feeling pushing me toward something bigger, or crippling me from loving the life I was given?
Maybe it was both.
Something in me still feels restless.
As we stare at the marks on the lives we have tried to make perfect, we ache a little.
The word calling has always seemed to tease me, like a mysterious secret containing the answer to my ridiculously restless spirit.
We wonder if we are missing some mystical great noble purpose that was supposed to squeeze into the holes of our ordinary lives.
We feel numb.
We feel bored.
Let’s assume that if we are breathing, then we have a purpose for being here. Every one of us with breath in our lungs still has something left to do.
I want to dream of what our purposes may be.
The most consistent thing I have been asked in my ministry is some version of this question:
“I am in. I am all surrendered to God. But now what? I don’t know what He wants me to do?”
Every single one of us is designed to fit into a unique space with unique offerings. God’s will for every one of us will look different. There is a framework within the commandments of Scripture, and within it we are free to create lives reflecting God and His passions here.
We Have a Call to Dream
The Old Testament described a day in the future about which God said:
I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. — Joel 2:28
God promised a day would come when His people would be filled with His own Spirit. And when they were full of God, God Himself would give His people dreams and visions.
Dreams and visions.
This day has happened. The Holy Spirit flooded the earth at Pentecost, and immediately after, Peter reminded them of the promise of that day:
No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.’ — Acts 2:16-17
We live in the last days. We are filled with the Spirit of God, and we’re living on this earth for relatively few days to accomplish the will and work and wonders of God. Why do we do this? So that “everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” — Joel 2:32
Our creative God has an infinite number of creative plans to make Himself known through us, His image bearers, so He sent His Spirit to give unique visions to unique people to reach the world in unique and beautiful ways.
The Spirit of God has dreams for you.
And He has given you an abundance of gifts, resources, people, and vision to accomplish His dreams for you. If you do not feel that way yet, you will.
- What if the things you love to do collided with the plans God has laid out for you from before the foundations of the earth?
- What if the random relationships and activities in your life all of the sudden had a focus and felt intentional and meaningful?
- What if the things that have caused the most hurt in your life became the birthplaces of your deepest passions?
- What if you could get past your fears and insecurities and spend the rest of your life running your guts out after His purposes for you?
The beige sofa upstairs is unthinkably dirty with the stains of over a decade of beautiful messy life, my quiet sleeping baby turned into four big kids and my minutes are overflowing now, filled with it all. Life. But I still feel it sometimes… a whisper of more. Not more because what I am doing isn’t important, but because I so rarely believe that it is.
Watch the Restless Video
Excerpted with permission from Restless by Jennie Allen, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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Do you relate with Jennie Allen’s restlessness? Does your life sometimes feel wasted? Are you ready to dream? Are you ready to ask the What If’s? Come join the conversation on our blog!