One woman can wear way too many hats sometimes. And in the week-in-week-out of life sometimes your goals can be reduced to learning how to juggle better…just finding balance…maybe squeezing out time for yourself amid the barrage of constant needs. Surely this is not what we were made for? Or could it be that this strangling urgency that drives us is a noose of our own making? And yet Jesus is whispering, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) It can leave a woman wondering about her purpose in life, and how to find space to pursue the most important things. Maybe at some point, what we need is a complete makeover. Not just renovation, but a tearing down and refocusing on what is True. A calling to something stronger, quieter.
Deep down, I do know this– that I am more than wife/mother/daughter/sister, more than the things I can and cannot do. At the end of the day, I will still be what I was in the beginning: made by God’s hands and God’s heart, adopted into His family, and loved completely. So I take an old picture frame and make PEACE to hang on my wall, a visual reminder of what God is saying to me, these last couple months: “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Often finding our true purpose isn’t something we can grow into gradually. We pursue the things we value most, and we are good at building strongholds to protect our own interests. Sometimes the chance to live new and strong only comes after peeling away layer after layer of myself, and my ideas, like a messy and painful intervention. But the pruning is all part of the process. As the author of the book of Hebrews pointed out about God’s perspective on the things of this world: not only are they temporary, but they need to be battered and broken down “so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:27) If I want the eternal that God is building for me, then I have to be willing to let go of the things I hold onto, no matter how it grieves.
Here at the beginning of the year, there is something fresh and new stirring– a Breath in the middle of us. And women sit around a dining room table late at night over cups of tea, choosing their one word for the coming year– strong beautiful words that peel the layers of hats right off, and get beneath everything we Do, to find who we Are before the Lover of our souls. And we talk about our purpose in life, and the voices that pull us in different directions, and we are all hungry for the same thing: to know God more deeply, and understand His ways, to be able to hear His voice above the clamor, to let go of our own trying-hard and rest in His care and provision. When we start living intentionally, “seeking first the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33), we are finally able to find our true purpose in life, to throw open the doors to God’s plans for us.
It’s a good way to start the year– not with goals and resolutions, but with heart-searching. Jeremiah the prophet wrote down the promises God spoke to His people: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) This we can count on. Because this is what He made us for.
“I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2
“Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think You’re like,
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night;
And You tell me that you’re pleased,
And that I’m never alone.
You’re a Good, Good Father–
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are.
And I’m loved by You–
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.”
(Good Good Father, Anthony Brown and Pat Barrett)