Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Living with Freedom and Purpose

Every culture has a worldview. For instance, North America’s culture is focused on the individual, whereas in Africa and the Far East, the family or community is the centre.

But what of the Kingdom of God--how does the worldview of the Kingdom fit with the culture we live in? Do we even realize they are different?

Our culture highly values achievement, setting of goals, accomplishing numbers of things in all areas of life. This seems so plausible and productive—what could be wrong with it? After all, aren’t hard work, discipline and productivity worthy virtues? Of course they are, but sometimes my own life feels as if it’s spinning so fast that I could be in danger of missing something far more important if I don’t take time to consider what I’m doing—and why.

Jesus said, (John 10:10 (New International Version)) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The thief is Satan, the one who was set against God from the beginning. He steals many things from our lives and not always in obvious ways. Things that appear on the surface to be good, may draw us away from God and his plan for our lives.

I’ve lived my life in a struggle to do more in less time—convinced that if I only arranged things in a different order, perhaps I’d be successful—blind to the fact that there is a finite amount of time in each day and some of it needs to be used to rest. Is this the way God wants us to live? I don’t think so.

I’ve found myself living under the tyranny of the “To Do” list. I will always be a list maker. A list helps me to focus and get things done—and I love crossing things off when they're done. But I’ve decided that mentally I will no longer call it a “To Do” list, but a “Possibility List.” I want to be open to the possibility that God might have a different agenda for my day—and I don't want to feel frustrated or guilty if he does.

Another key to a lifestyle more in keeping with the Kingdom of God is to spend some time discovering who God made me to be. Ephesians 4:11 says that, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” I believe that we are all born with a purpose a reason to “be”--one that we are uniquely crafted for. As someone once said to me, “Writers write.” It was a statement of fact.

The enemy’s strategy is to dilute our uniqueness and blur God’s vision for our lives. In our childhood we reflect the seeds of God’s purposes more clearly—and it is as we get older that they are forgotten, set aside for the duties of life. There are some good books that take the reader on a step by step process of rediscovering the things that made our hearts sing as children—and then through a process of considering how to fulfill the calling for which God created us.

Once we discover who we are, we are freed to “be” that person and to make choices to focus more deliberately in those areas, and just as importantly, to say no to things that are not in line with our strengths and passions, confident that God has gifted others in the areas we lack.

To make the switch from “doing” to “being” is a radical change. The focus is less on activity and more on letting our actions flow from our unique identity in Christ. We lose our joy in life when we spend time in guilt and condemnation over what we should have done—another trap of the enemy. Act 17:28 says that “In him we live and move and have our being.”

There is also contentment and peace in giving up expectations—mainly those of ourselves. I don’t mean to give up all motivation, initiative or energy but to relax into life in partnership with God. Jeremiah 45.5 says, “Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not…” It has been my experience in life that God’s plans for me exceed any that I might have for myself and he leads me on adventures I could not have imagined. If he has done this while I still had one, and sometimes two, feet in a world so different to his, I can hardly wait to see what is in store as I yield my life more fully to simply being—and being available—for his will.

5 comments:

Susan said...

Wow. This is Belinda Burston at her best. Very inspiring! Thank you.

Angcat said...

Yes and Amen Belinda,
Life it too, too busy and it's not of God's making, it's of ours. This week I have had to choose to drop some commitments and I have had some removed from me. I know that God is taking away what I'm not called to do, so that I can be a present, energetic Mom for my kids and then I hope to have room for callings. But it will be up to Him to rebuild this in me. Sometimes we still buy the lie that just being a Mom isn't enough. I need to realize that it is...and God will shape the rest of me from there.
Thank you for your honesty!
Love Angela

Belinda said...

Another friend, Sue, said:
"I heard someone on Christian TV say “If you want to destroy a person with a dream; give him three other good ones."

How true that is hey?

Brenda said...

Belinda, I believe God has called you to write! Your blog feeds my spirit every time I open it up.

Brenda said...

p.s. I think you are a very good teacher as well!