Here I am sitting in front of a computer thinking, “Why did I ever say yes to Cheryl when she asked me to be part of a blog and write something on a regular basis?” Then, if I get really honest, I have to admit that I know the answer. I’m here because this is where God’s preparation and leading have brought me.
I know, because over the years I have learned to recognize His voice—just like He said I would. I also know that His voice, or to say it another way, His leading, doesn’t always mean words. God doesn’t ask us to do something without preparing us beforehand–think about Moses, or David or, to get a woman in here, how about Esther? God placed each and prepared each and continued to lead each throughout their lives. The wondrous thing is, He does it for us too! Our job is to learn to listen and follow His lead.
This sounds really good, but how do we do it? How do we learn to listen? How do we recognize his leading? This morning as I was commiserating with Him about writing this, I got to thinking about how I got to where I am today. I started looking back at my life and some major factors became obvious. My journey is not yours, but I believe that the broad picture, not day to day specifics, has basic principles that will hold for you as well.
God forms us with certain abilities and talents. Personally, I am an avid reader for whom school and study are pure pleasure. However, I am much better with concepts than with details. God tells us that we are to renew our minds through the Word. My inability to remember specific scriptures could have been a real problem. But God…
I had learned to play guitar a couple of years before I was saved and music was a major factor in drawing me to Him. He took my love of music and the ability to remember lyrics extremely well and used this gift to plant scripture into my memory. The timing was perfect since back 40 years ago most of the renewal songs were scripture based. Coincidence? Don’t think so!
I used to bemoan the fact that I could not go to seminary or even Bible College but, looking back, I suspect that I got the best of the best in instruction because it was through His provision. I devoured the Bible, and read and read. By God’s grace it was mostly good solid stuff and the discernment was there to tell the difference. I listened to a wide variety of teaching tapes. (This was back before even CDs.) The excellent teachings were similar to what we can find today on podcasts or YouTube. He promises that if we trust He will lead. He did and He will because He doesn’t change.
God not only sent books and tapes, He sent real live teachers. Very early in my walk there was a guy name Jeff something who came out to our little town from Church of the Redeemer in Houston and taught on Genesis. He showed how Genesis was a foundational book for other parts of the Bible and taught me to see connections in scripture. Later a beloved teacher, Bill, taught me about scriptural patterns and symbols. We need this in-depth teaching today. It was during the early years that I first heard Him say, “Feed my sheep.” God was preparing me for a lifelong calling.
In 1984 I took an administrative position at the local community college and shortly thereafter my boss ordered us to learn to use desktop computers which were just becoming readily available. Then in the early 90s a friend of my husband asked us to help him start a website business. It was so early in internet usage that the business never succeeded, but I did learn to do websites and reduce picture size for download speed.
I had no idea how instrumental administration and computer knowledge were going to be for sheep feeding until both were needed to put up God’s Word to Women, an egalitarian information website developed to advance biblical equality. Writing came into both, and continued after retirement as I wrote grants for various ministries and Cheryl and I developed the course, She Shall be Called Woman. All this to say, God prepares us for the calling He has for our lives.
God forms us with abilities that fit His plan. Take a look at where you are. What do you enjoy? What do you do well? What are your talents? Ministry is not just getting behind a pulpit. Ministry is doing all that you do as an offering to the Lord. What a gift an honest skilled mechanic is to a community, or a Christian teacher who lives the faith. How has God prepared you?
I love what Jesus said to Peter when he asked about what was going to happen to John, “What is that to you? You follow Me.” John 21:22. He creates each of us for a purpose and then prepares us to fill it. Our job is to develop a relationship with Him and learn to recognize His voice and leading.
One other thing, purpose in life is an ongoing flow. It isn’t static. Scripture says I know the PLANS I have for you—notice the “S.” As we grow and mature the fullness of His plan for us unfolds. It is one life with many facets. I love the analogy of a tapestry where we see the back side and it looks a mess, but when we turn it over we can see the beauty of the finished work. However, this is enough for one day.
If you have questions or comments on this post, we’d love to hear from you.