God's Destiny for Me on the Hamster Wheel of Life

What's the meaning of life?

Why am I here?

What's God's purpose for my life?

Why was I created?

These are questions we often regularly ask ourselves. Surely there is more to life than the never ending routine of eating, working, sleeping, and paying the bills.  Surely God put me here for a greater purpose than just jumping on the never ending hamster wheel of life, right?

The longer I live, the more I begin to think the answer to this question is "no."

I don't have a purpose for which I'm here. I don't have a destiny I'm trying to fulfill.

Rather, I have a thousand and one purposes for why I'm here.  Rather, I have a thousand and one destinies that I am pursuing.

And those purposes are fulfilled as I carry out the everyday things of this life.  Life is far too rich and complex and beautiful, and filled with too much variable and nuance, for me to ever begin to think that God has just called me to do one or two things with my life.  Rather than a handful of things to do before I die, God has called me to do a vast multitude of things. 

When I was younger, God put me in this world to be a student, to learn as much as I could so as to prepare me for the rest of my life, so that one day I might be able to get a decent job, to help take care  of my family, to serve my employers, to contribute to the world economy, and to be a blessing to others.

And as I've grown older, I've seen those purposes expand. God's purposes for my life have changed from season to season.  In different seasons God has made me to be different things, and I expect He will continue to do such.  I've seen that time and again, that one thing leads to another, and to another, and to another.  Things I never even dreamed of for my life have come to pass.

My life has too much going on to be reduced to merely to one or two purposes. And so does yours.

Our lives have so many purposes, and so many different callings. So many in fact that you and I will never know the full purpose for our lives on this side of eternity, and exactly why God put us here.

Yes, I may be conscious of a few of those things along the way, as I see the hand of God working in my life, and as I respond to the leading of His Spirit.  But God has put me here to be much more than what I do between nine and five, or what I do on Sunday mornings in church, or to relentlessly pursue some single focused calling.

I'm a son, a husband, a neighbor, a friend, a banker, a minister, a giver, a citizen, a stranger passing by....

And while my focus shifts throughout the day, and some of the things God calls me to do receive more attention in certain seasons of my life, I'm never just one of these things. My life is too big to be just that.

Yet how often do we obsess over our perceived sense of "calling?"  How often are we afraid to let go of the things that God given us to do, in order that we might now embrace a new calling and purpose in our life? 

How often do we fight against seasons spent in the proverbial wilderness, feeling like by entering into such seasons that we might somehow be missing out on our callings in this life, and doing nothing more than wasting away? 

How often do we feel like a library book, shelved with no purpose other than to sit around and collect dust?

How often do we feel like our current situation in life is holding us back from fulfilling God's "real purpose" being fulfilled in our lives? 

As a Bible college graduate who has spent much time in ministry and serving the church, God only knows how often I feel that way today.  I spent years in school studying theology, learning Greek, reading books, honing my preaching craft, serving the homeless and the poor, driving the church bus, teaching, leading small groups, preaching on street corners, visiting people in the hospital, and a million other things. 

Yet where am I today? 

I'm underwriting mortgages for a living at a big bank, working 60 hours a week, and I'm not even leading a children's Sunday school class in church.  I blog from time to time. I share my faith with others when opportunity presents itself. I chime in something edifying when I get together with other Christians. I encourage my wife.  I post things on Facebook.

Yet, I'm not anywhere near to where I thought I would be at this stage of my life, in spite of all my training and time spent in preparation for "the ministry."

Needless to say, the opportunity for feelings of doubt, self-pity, and loathing are huge.  I could be jealous of others, and angry.  I could be bitter and resentful.  I could be entering a mid-life crisis where I chase the dreams that got away by chasing things that would only destroy me.  I could be angry at God.

I could do all those things and more... that is, if I saw my life as having only one primary purpose or calling. But I don't. 

Instead, I embrace where I am at in this life.  I look at the plow set before me, and instead of figuring out the unholy mental Trinity of would've/could've/should've, I prefer to figure out how I can best be faithful to the task God has given me at hand.  Such not only helps me keep my sanity, but it actually allows me to find a great sense of joy and purpose in what God has me doing in the right here and right now.

And it is from being faithful to the task God has given me in the present that will truly allow His purposes to be accomplished in my life.  It's in the little things I do time and time again, day in and day out, things destined to easily be forgotten by me, but warmly remembered and honored by God, that when faithfully carried out, will ultimately constitute the "purpose" in my life.

And that purpose is to ultimately make me more and more like Jesus, no matter what I do to occupy my time between the date of my birth and the date of my death, even if all I did was eat, work, sleep, and pay the bills.  For being faithful to the task Jesus has placed in your hand, that is no small thing.  That indeed, is the greatest thing you could ever hope to do with your life.  It was the purpose for which you and I were ultimately created. 

And until we learn to be happy in that, we will never be truly happy in anything else. 

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