This weekend was fantastic. The weather was cooler, the leaves are turning and I got to spend it with a pile of friends at a camp in southern Missouri. Our church family held our annual weekend away, it was very refreshing after the last few months of heavy workload and stress.
The speaker for the weekend was Jim Newsom and his focus was on finding the purpose in our lives and living that out. I have heard many descriptions of purpose, destiny, giftings, etc in my life. This time Jim presented concepts that were new and expanded my perspective. The following really struck me and has caused quite a bit of introspection.
He talked about the story of Eric Liddell, a world class runner in the 1920’s, of “Chariots of Fire” fame. Jim focused on how Eric described feeling when he ran. In order to have proper context, I did a little research and found the following to likely be the most accurate quote.
“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure.” Eric Liddell
Jim made an excellent point that a good indicator of working within the gifts God has given us is when we can sense His pleasure. This makes perfect sense to me, he made me, he would feel pleasure when I operated as intended. I have certainly felt it in the past, to me this is a real and tangible thing I can look for. So how did God make me “fast”?
Using this new context, I then took on the challenge of identifying when I had felt God’s pleasure at my actions. What was I doing when I felt that way? Was there a pattern? Particular outcomes? It was quite an intriguing exercise and took a little time, and some prayer as well.
I started coming up with a list, but a pattern was elusive. Because some of it is quite personal I am not going to list all the steps in the process, suffice it to say that I got a little frustrated. I could not quite put my finger on an answer that rang true.
This next part will be a little theologically challenging to some that read this. I would ask for an open mind here because I have no idea how else to communicate this. See this article on AOC (Adult Onset Calvinism) if you are curious, and need a good laugh.
I was thinking about all this, dealing with my frustration, processing and praying when God simply stated the answer to me. It was one of those moments of relief where I had the answer, the whole storm of thoughts in my mind simply evaporated. It made perfect sense and in a few moments He showed me probably 100 situations where it had been true. It made sense in all contexts of my life: personal, professional, all of it.
The answer I received, one of the ways God made me “fast”, was helping others find their way. Whether it is helping a young person overcome great difficulty or simply aiding someone who was lost with directions, I could see the pattern in my life. I would encourage anyone who reads this to take a few moments and ask God about yourself. Over the last few days this concept has been honed and shaped a bit more for me through prayer and talking with key people in my life. It is important not to stop with the first defined bit of information, it is the start of a journey, not the end.
I am excited to continue to pursue understanding of what God has for me and those that are a part of my life.
Jim’s message was based in Isaiah 35:7-9 and the message can be heard here.
The scorched land will become a pool
And the thirsty ground springs of water;
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place,
Grass becomes reeds and rushes.
A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it will be for him who walks that way,
And fools will not wander on it.
No lion will be there,
Nor will any vicious beast go up on it;
These will not be found there.
But the redeemed will walk there.