Are you trying to give the world energy you don't have?
Maybe you do have it, but it's misaligned.
We often tend to live against the grain of who God created us to be, even when we're doing the things we think He wants us to do. At times a realignment means a change in circumstances, but often it's an internal shift that changes how you approach those very same circumstances. It's a process of uncovering the "created you" you were meant to be and can be, which in turn means personally unearthing what Jesus meant when He said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)
One of the biggest culprits is in thought patterns we live by. For some strange reason even Christians will say we will do something because "I have a peace about it." Strangely, God didn't call us to feel at ease with what we do. Our ministry on earth often means doing whatever will bring life to others, for often the Lord calls us into chaos to bring peace.
This is why your quiet time with God matters more than you give it credit for. Especially in today's culture, you're likely more "active" than ever before, often at the expense of the ancient practice of contemplation. Parker Palmer, author of "Let Your Life Speak," shares this great thought:
True self, when violated, will always resist us, sometimes at great cost, holding our lives in check until we honor its truth.To clarify what this means, Palmer has stated, "I would be lost in the dark without the light Christianity sheds on my life, the light I find in truths like incarnation, grace, sacrament, forgiveness, blessing, and the paradoxical dance of death and resurrection."
Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about quite apart from what I would like it to be about – or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.
Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live — but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life. - Parker Palmer
If you resonate with how your life needs to resonate, here are some key questions to ask to better align your life "as is" into what you were actually created for:
Where is the life/joy?
- What are your reactions to life?
- When was the last time you felt joyful, be it through an experience, conversation, event, movie, etc? Did you pay attention to it at the time?
- When does a surge of energy/enthusiasm come into you? (Pay attention to it next time.)
- Where are you assuming you are doing the right thing because it feels peaceful. Might you have settled for false peace versus working toward a peace beyond understanding that might require doing what's difficult?
- 1 Peter 4:2 clarifies that our lives are not merely for ourselves, for a Christian "does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God."
- Jesus reminds us in John 15 that what is publicly birthed out of our life is directly related to what we do behind closed doors.
- How have you avoided fruit in one area of your life because you feel productive in another area?
- Who is someone who speaks into your life and won't tell you what you want to hear?
- What are the projects or places you are at ease with what needs to be done?
- How are you able to do things others seem unable to do?
- Where are you bumping into God on things He is resisting you on?
- You have cracks in your character. What is the break-up in your make-up?
- Where are you demanding people just need to "understand you" instead of you doing the hard work of growing up?
- When you're sitting around waiting for the next "battle," what's happening inside of you?
If you want to become clearer on the path God has you on, take those questions in personally as well as with others who will share the journey with you.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)