"Redemption comes in strange places,
calling out the best of who we are
We come with beautiful secrets,
We come with purposes written on our hearts,
written on our souls.
We come to every new morning,
with possibilities only we can hold,
that only we can hold..."
- Sara Groves
A friend and I were emailing one another about the discovery of our deeper spiritual purposes. It was a conversation that left me pondering the mixture of deep content, and the demand for self-surrender, I feel in knowing what God wants of me. Sara's song, "Add to the Beauty," sings to me of my purpose. I want to add to the recognition of divine beauty, wholeness, and grace that is constantly coming to bloom in our lives, moment-by-moment. I want to tell a better story. No matter what "script" we have been handed, and might seem to be playing itself out in our lives, there is a better story beneath the surface of things. And when we keep our eyes keenly focused, looking for God, good, in all things, we can find it. It is always there.
"...I want to add to the beauty,
to tell a better story.
I want to shine with the light
that's burning up inside.
It comes in small inspirations.
It brings redemption to life and work.
To our lives and our work..."
Our conversation gave space to ideas that I'd been cherishing for the past few months. The questions pouring from my friend's heart: Why does this longing for personal direction almost feel like a physical tightness? Will I ever be able to really know, and let myself surrender to, God's purpose in my life? These questions, gave birth to the dialogue thread she has given me permission to share, in part, here:
Tightness and letting go...tightness and letting go...this is birth. This is mid-wifing the best in yourself, bringing your divine purpose forward into the light.
It may look like contractions...a tightening, or seizing up...but it is really an expansion. Much the way a balloon seems to return to a smaller size each time we take a deep breath while blowing it up. But it never, ever returns to the old form...the one it held prior to that very first expansion. It is always stretched a bit more with each breath so that the next expansion comes easier.
I know that you wonder if you will ever see that larger sense of purpose in your own life...whether you will discover those bigger dreams, higher aims. Whether you will ever be new and alive with passion and divine direction...different from old forms and out-grown desires.
But, you are already different...you already have different dreams, different questions, a different vantage point than you had...even a week ago. It's not something you have to decide to embrace or pursue, it has already embraced you, and this fresh breath of Spirit is blowing Its new life into your being, changing you...moment by moment...forever.
This wildly, passionate you...the one who now loves to dress in bright colors, the you who is eager to try new foods, and paraglide from the edge of a cliff... this you, is already alive and in formation...one beautiful, extravagant, exotic moment at a time.
Let it happen. Let Spirit, Pneuma continue to breathe Itself into your being. Let it blow you, bear you like seed on the wind, carry you into your next chapter of holy labor, or time to be "at play in the fields of the Lord." This is not a choice or a decision. You don't have to go looking for your divine purpose. As the Bible says, "canst thou by searching find out God?" Nope! It comes to you and fills you with divine inspiration. Those ins and outs, that feeling of ebbing and flowing urgency, passionate vision and then quiet contempation, they are the breath of God expanding and preparing you for a larger sense of life. Or as Jesus said,
"I have come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly."
You asked me if this moment-by-moment embracing of a divine calling, a holy purpose, is enough for me? Have I given up dreaming and desiring, wanting and needing? I think I can say that what I have surrendered, is not a hunger for something more, but the fear that I might never find what I am looking for.
What I have given up is all the searching. I am beginning to realize that I am really not a searcher, but an observer. For the observer, there is no pursuing, no strategizing, no imagining. As an observer, I watch to see what each moment includes, and how it will carry itself out. If it includes a "dream," fine, I will dream it. But it is no longer a down-the-road, someday-when kind of dreaming. It is not "out there."
It is my truth. It is what I am, right at that moment, embracing as conscious reality. It is, right then, a PRESENT thought, idea, image, concept. It is not a future "imagining." It is, right now, a gift of beauty and wonder to bless me in the now of my conscious consideration...in my reflecting of Soul, my deep pondering. And it is in the now, always, ever and only, in the now.
But to answer your question: I am no longer searching for a dream to build my hopes on. I have stopped trying to track down the perfect life. I am trying to live in perfect contentment...right here, right now. I am discovering a peaceful sense of freedom from decades of "want."
It has come on the heels of a long chapter, one that has been filled with salvation-focused prayer and surrender. It has not been any more pretty, planned, harmonious, desired, or less uncomfortable than the humbling posture of any birth. But like birth, it doesn't wait for us to say, "I'm ready now, go ahead,." It moves in us, and through us, and can be neither resisted, or sought out. It is simply to be yielded to, with complete abandon.
I am still, very much, in the throes of that self-birthing. But I no longer care if it ever really ends. I am realizing that this just may be the holy position, stance, and posture I am being "called" to, according to Her spiritually designed purpose for me.
I am aware that it really doesn't matter if I know who, what, where, or when the "child" will come, it's going to happen anyway. And just like with birth, it will come step-by-step, moment-by-moment. I can only hope that I will breathe through each expansion (not contraction) with a sigh of grace, a exhalation of kindness, a breath of patience, meekness and non-judgment.
I am realizing now that I can always entertain myself by imagining how I would want to give birth, what I might want to wear to the hospital, the relaxation techniques I will use to get me through the contractions. I can imagine when the due date will be, and what that date might mean. I can dream about who will be there with me, and what music I will have playing on my ipod to distract me from discomfort and worry.
But when the birth happens...it happens. And when my child, my growing and evolving divine purpose, comes forth, there is no stopping, designing, or controlling it. In that moment, I can only decide what I am going to focus on. And I am choosing, with each expansion of my purpose, to focus on the face of the One who made me, and loves me. I am choosing to remember the look of love in His eyes. All the dreaming, wanting, or imagining on earth...or in heaven...cannot change His purpose for me.
As we weep our way through our moments of self-birthing, perhaps it is those very tears that are the gift of "purpose" we are being called to...to cry, cleanse, purify...to surrender. Our spiritual purpose in life is not a noun. It is not this job or that dream, a particular guy, business, mountain, town, or title. Our spiritual purpose is always a verb, an action. We are purposed as verbs...to do something. We are verbs needing no condition, geography, person, address, or circumstance to be ourselves...ever unfolding, ever evolving "from a boundless basis." For me it was the end of seeing myself in terms of a job, a career, a title...and the beginning of simply showing up each moment according to His, God's, purpose for me.
"...It comes in loving community.
It comes in helping a soul find it's worth.
This is grace, an invitation to be beautiful.
This is grace, an invitation.
And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
I want to shine with the light
That's burning up inside..."
You have a divine purpose. Let it be born in you, let it bear you up, let yourself be borne...carried on the wings of the morning...into a higher and holier space. The space that is your calling. A calling...a purpose...that is, and always has been, yours, eternally yours.
Kate Robertson, CS