Maybe you have always known what it is you are going to do with your life, maybe you are just that lucky. Perhaps you haven't known exactly, but you were blessed with a good upbringing and learned early how to plan and be organized so when you finally figured it out you were able to dive right in.
That's not my life. None of it.
For 37 years I walked this earth and I never, never, never, never felt completely comfortable in my own skin. A lot of people are surprised when I say things like that, or if I confess to how melancholy I can sometimes be, because I am always quick to laugh and as outgoing of a person as you will find.
I've had little glimpses of what I might like to do, that's how I ended up with a Psychology degree and its why I'm in a sales job right now. As much as I do love my current job though, it still just doesn't always quite fit me.
It's been frustrating living like this, it's been difficult to breathe.
What I just came to realize is that this whole time (and I'm sure it's like this...maybe..... for everyone..?) for a large part, it's been me holding me back.
I have known, and known for a long time what I am meant to do. I just didn't believe it. I just didn't believe it could happen to me. I just didn't believe that I could be so happy doing the thing that I am supposed to be doing. Now I know better.
Psalm 139 says that:
1. God knows us and everything about us. He is an expert in all of our ways, and there is no place we can hide. Most importantly, he has beset us on all sides. (beset has quite a few meanings, but in this case we'll settle for hemmed in, the other definitions bring different analogies to mind, although they describe His perfect love just as well)
2. There is nowhere we can go to escape God, He is always there. Always. It's never too dark, too bright, too deep, too anything for God not to be aware of every circumstance in our lives.
3. He has made us. We were nothing before we were a thought in His head. We are His creation. He didn't make us like you make a pot of coffee either, the only analogy that can even begin to approach the way in which God made us would be to say He created us like the same way that Michelangelo created things. Even then, Michelangelo's greatest work was mere fingerpainting compared to the work God did when He created you and I.
4. Before you lived a single day of your life, God knew what your last breath would be like. He is in complete control of everything, every person, place and thing, at every moment.
5. Most importantly (for my purposes), God's thoughts about us, God's thoughts about you the reader, and me the writer are inumerable. Let me make this clearer, because I don't want to send a collective message when I'm trying to imply a specific one. God's thoughts about you are countless, more than you could ever even fathom. There is not a moment in your life that God didn't already think about a Godzillion times, and it's the same for the next moment, and the one after that, and the one after that.
I know all that and have known it. Psalm 139 is my favorite passage in the whole Bible, and has been for a long time. I know it is a passage meant for me, because it keeps cropping back up in my life over and over again. Considering all of the verses and chapters in the Bible, it's too much of a coincidence for it to be an accident. Even if you take out all of the "begatting" verses and things like that, it would still be too much of a coincidence. it would be like running across the same Peanuts comic once a week for 10 years in different places and publications.
If there is one thing that God wants me to know, it is that He is in control, He has been in control, and He will always be in control.
And still, knowing that, I doubted that God wanted me to use my musical and speaking talents for Him. Still I doubted that something which is both an accident and a blessing could be my purpose, my calling. Why?
Because I love to do it so much.
What's wrong with me??!!
God has blessed me over the past couple of years, because I have been using these gifts primarily to serve Him. I never feel more in tune with God than when I am singing and playing and praising Him. (Conversely, I never feel more out of tune than when I am singing and playing...not for Him.)
Last year after I ruptured my spleen and almost died, I offered my meager gifts to Him for whatever purpose He intended, but I still didn't believe that much would come of it. I began to get an inkling that what He had planned was more than I could fathom because of opportunities that arose for me to use my gifts in various ways.
Still, I would downplay it all by saying things like "I want to play the guitar when I grow up", which I've said a few times over the past few weeks. I meant it to be funny, and it did get a few chuckles, but in my heart I was saying "I want to do this, but I just don't believe it's going to happen to me."
I wasn't completely disparaging God and myself though. I've also had a couple of conversations with people where I've talked about what an accident it is that I can even play the guitar or sing. I do not have guitar players hands, they're short and stubby, and there is nobody else in my family that can even hum well. I wanted to believe that these things were all part of a plan God had for my life, but again, I liked doing them too much for me to believe this was my calling.
What a prideful fool I've been.
I have had an epiphany. I've finally put all of the clues together. First of all, I know God has a plan for my life, and that He has created me in such a way that Iwill be prepared to carry it out. Second of all, and more importantly, I know this plan is a good plan, a plan of peace and hope. So, I know that even if right now I'm totally misleading myself, that this was part of God's plan!
But I don't think I am being misled. I don't feel I'm being misled.
For the first time in my life, for the first time ever, I can say that I believe I was born to minister to other people through speaking, playing and singing, and I believe it can happen. I don't know if God wants me to continue to play for groups around here or enjoy a different level of success, but I know what He wants me to do.
I consider it all joy for every single trial I went through in my lifetime. God has used each one of them to make me steadfast, but He has also used each one of them to purify and refine me, to strip away my hurtful harmful pride that stood in the way of me doing what He wanted me to do.
I can remember specific days in my life when I had screwed things up or failed and how I felt at exact moments. There were moments in my life when I did things that I knew were not part of the plan, but I did them anyway because I wanted to. I can recall intimately the utter shame I felt in those moments. At the time I felt so far from God, so unworthy, and I imagined Him being disappointed with me, so hurt that I would not or could not approach Him.
I don't think that's how it was though. I can hear his voice now, I can hear the echo of it throughout all of those days. I can hear Him calling to me in this moment, and throughout all of my years.
I have a vision of Jesus in my mind, standing on the other side of my wall of pride. He is stripped to the waist, sweat covers his body and each one of those trials that I have suffered through has been a swing He has taken with a sledgehammer at my wall of pride.
Oh, in those moments, when that sledgehammer rang off of my wall the pain was excruciating. All I could hear and feel was the sound of it's smack in my ears telling me I had failed somehow, and the vibration of the impact as it made it's way through my life. I still have some of the scars.
I've taken a lot of hits off that wall in 38 years, but it took that long, and it took that many blows for me to finally be able to hear something else over the wall.
Now that the wall has come down some, I can hear Jesus, as He swings away at that wall. I can hear Him calling to me throughout all of my years, saying:
"I'm coming Randy. I'm coming and I hear you crying." His words echo. " I will break down this wall and set you free"
"I have a plan for you."
Today I feel very blessed, very grateful, and very humble, because I believe I know what God has called me to do. Finally.
Do you know? Have you submitted yourself to God, to the King of all creation? Or are you behind a wall? Whether you can hear it or not, He's calling you. Whether you can hear it or not, I'm praying for you.
Some of this stuff isn't easy to admit to, but now I have a sledgehammer too.