Do you ever dream or envision a life different than what you are currently living? Is this new vision a reality or a pipe dream? Are you totally unrealistic in your wishes or just afraid to try? Is this vision a calling? Does it comprise of your talents, gifts, abilities, desires?
I have enjoyed the musings of author, Jennifer L. Scott and her blog, The Daily Connoisseur. At that site she expounds on living excellently. She touches on topics like dressing appropriately, the ten-item wardrobe, practicing poise in one's daily life, home organization, simplicity and in general, how to live life well.
What I like about her is that she is unapologetic in her opinions. For instance, she will comment on the unmannerly use of inappropriate language or the benefit of dressing well in public. For her, there is no shame in enjoying good things. Her rationale for doing so is not so much for hedonistic pleasure but a philosophy on life that good living is honorable.
She has disclosed that in the next year she, her husband and three children will be traveling throughout Europe visiting family (her husband is British) and having experiences with her children. In order to prepare for a lifestyle like this, she and her husband have made choices to be debt-free. They have made sacrifices for this plan.
Kudos for her for having an idea on how they will live their life and then have a plan and discipline to do so.
It inspires and encourages me to re-think the direction I am going. As I have been considering work/life balance, I have been reevaluating purpose and plan for my life. My musings are not such a major re-consideration or adjustment in my life, but just a fine tuning. Through much of the process I am just validating and regrouping what I already know.
Do you know where you are headed in life? Do you feel a calling for a certain profession, a way of life or even a specific activity? Ms. Scott's example is not a big passionate lifetime calling like being an overseas missionary but it does follow the desires of her and her family's heart. Not all of us are called into the big visual ministries. Yet all of us are called by God to live the life He has designed us to live.
There are steps to fulfilling our call in life which includes many choices on our part. For me it comes down to my interaction with God and my election of free-will throughout those choices.
1) God has a plan for each one of us. Our journey in life is discovering the call, listening to it and obeying that call. That plan generally includes the people in our lives (spouse, friends, children, grandchildren, etc.) because we do not go through this journey alone.
2) God has given us gifts and graces in order to carry out that call. He doesn't give us an assignment without giving us the necessary tools to do it. It may be that we need to practice our talent, learn more about a subject through education or through the wisdom of others.
3) God will give us the details of the plan. This can be the troublesome point. God will unfold the details for the plan, but generally not all at once. In our "need to know all" mentality, we have to trust that God will tell us as we "need to know just this much. For now".
4) God will give us the discipline to continue through the call. If we ask. This is our active part of trusting in God. I have found that as I grow in my faith (through Bible study and prayer), He is shaping me through discipline. He gives me the strength to keep going when the times are tough. He reassures me of His plan when I doubt if the call is real. Sometimes, I need physical discipline (like Ms. Scott learned to be debt-free in order to do her travel) and "bottom" (as they say in the UK) to make hard lifestyle choices so that I can follow the call.
5) God will redirect us when our call is complete. I do think that we may have a lifetime call or we may have a call for "such a time as this". Our calling and plan may be short lived but that doesn't mean that it wasn't significant nor impactful.
Our call doesn't have to be mutually exclusive from our heart's desires. If there are activities, situations or things that bring us joy, it can all be part of the plan. Whatever the future holds, it should be weighed against what God has planned. Just ask Him.
What about you? Would you be able to follow your heart's desire? Have you asked God for guidance in your overall life? In your day-to day?
One life on this earth is all that we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can.