I’ve been writing this post in my head and heart for too long.
It’s the byproduct of so many late night wrestlings, so many journal entries and tweets and long-winded conversations with the people closest to me.
It’s those texts we send our friends about waiting for the next thing to happen – about anticipating the answers to our big questions, about finally finding that thing after waiting so long, hoping so desperately.
It’s the prayer we pray of God, just show me where to go and I’ll go, what to do and I’ll do it, who to be and I’ll be that person.
I’ve been there so many times, and honestly, I’m often still in that boat. Most of my daily prayers close with something along the lines of, “Lead me, Lord, to where you want me to be, who You want me to meet, to the future You have planned for me.”
And over the years, as I’ve grown as both a young adult and a Christian, I’ve often been so focused on that next thing, that I haven’t embraced the space where God has put me.
See, something that I’m ever-realizing is this: God doesn’t need us to be anything extraordinary in order to be used by Him; He uses us right where we are to fulfill His purposes that are so much bigger and more beautiful than just ourselves.
That’s not to say He doesn’t lead us ahead – simply that sometimes, the place He has for us is directly in front of us.
There’s a saying that’s been on my mind for a month or so now, that came to me one afternoon and stuck with me ever since, and it’s this: God wants willing hearts, not just loud voices. I’ve found a misconception among Christians regarding leadership, that only the people that are truly serving God are these bold, extroverted, popular, I’ve-got-my-life-together, vocational-ministry type of people. And as much as I’ve grown into a lot of those things, the times in which I’ve seen God work most in my life weren’t always when I was on a platform. They were in the times where things were tough and all I had to give was myself.
Because God uses us in our weaknesses and failings.
He uses us when we’re quiet and humble. He uses us in our vulnerability over our strength.
He uses us when we make things about HIM before we ever make it about our titles and positions.
He uses us when we’re scrubbing floors and painting walls and hanging lights and writing cards.
He uses us when we’re serving our families and communities, even when other things seem so much more glamorous and exciting.
He uses us in our singleness just as much as in our relationships, in our suffering just as much as when life’s carefree. He uses us in our doubts and in our frailties and in our mess-ups, just as in our victories.
Here’s the deal: God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses. When we acknowledge that we are nothing without God, and that we can achieve only things that are ultimately insignificant on our own, that is when we can allow the Holy Spirit to accomplish the most through us.
We are vessels of His glory, objects of His affection and expressions of His grace because of the holiness ascribed to our accounts through Jesus.
There’s a beautiful truth here, in that right where we are, with all of our quirks and our struggles and our limitations, God loves us. He sees the righteousness of His Son in us because of what He did for us on the cross. And He chooses to use us, right here and right now.
It’s good to be striving for more than complacency in our lives, of course it is. But when we trade in our complacency for discontentment, that we’re always waiting for a bigger audience and a fancier position and a holier-looking life in order to serve God, we’re fooling ourselves.
God qualifies us to do what He calls us to, not the other way around. He uses the small, seemingly insignificant things in our lives as we submit to Him to prepare us for what will come next.
But when we’re always looking ahead to where we think we want to be, and overlook where God has placed us now, we often miss out on the joy of serving Him right where we are, messiness and all. It’s all too easy to look to the future as the time where we’ll be serving God in an important way, and now as just the awkward in-between – yet He has us here for a reason.
I think it’s time we turn our dreams of serving God someday into living for Him today.
Because, friend, there is so much fulfillment found in that – in living for Him right where we are, watching Him work in everyday ways.
There is so much joy to be found when we make our lives about Him, and not us. So much joy to be found in trusting that He has us here in this town, in this job, with these people, for a reason – and that He wants to work in our lives now.
He wants to work in your life as a middle schooler – or a high schooler – or a college student – or a young adult – or a single, or a spouse, or a widow, or a parent or grandparent, brother or sister, daughter or son, aunt or uncle, or whatever else you may be.
He isn’t waiting for you to do anything more than wake up each day and say God, my life belongs to You. My day, my dreams, my plans – they’re Yours.
So today, Lord, may our heart-cries be “Grow me. Teach me. Renew me, fill me, mold me, and as You see fit, use me.”
Right here. Right now. In the mess, in the ordinary, in the right-here-right-now, all of it – may we let Him work in us exactly where we are – for it is His goodness and power in us that make it possible for us to have lives worth living.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. – Philippians 2:12-13