Henry David Thoreau observed, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” While I differ greatly from many of Thoreau’s Transcendentalism-informed conclusions, this observation is noteworthy. It is apparent that many of us do indeed lose sight of our hopes and dreams as we age and are bombarded by the many unexpected challenges life brings, and the surprising speed by which time passes.
While lost dreams of cars, houses, boats and other “stuff” may be disappointing, there is far more at stake when it comes to the failure to fulfill God’s call upon our life. We are placed here to be a gift and a blessing to others. While it may feel a little weird to think about, you really are God’s gift to the world. He placed you here for a purpose. He gave you talents and abilities. He made you unique. Why?
First of all, He did it just because He desires a relationship with you. He delights in your enjoyment of all that He has created. He is saddened when those things are corrupted in a way that takes you away from Him. Secondly he made you who you are to be a blessing to others whom He also cares about. You are created in His image, yet you have unique finger-prints, personality, talents, and much more. Each of your unique assets come together to distinctively qualify you for the purposes of which you were born. In short, though some may come close, no one can do “it” exactly like you. Whatever “it” is.
I believe the biggest challenge to becoming all that we were meant to be lies in the concept of Calling and Commission. I have met so many people who feel called by God to do something great but fail to understand that the calling is only the beginning.
Suppose a person feels called to serve the United States as a Naval Officer. While this is a noble and respected calling, it will all come to nothing if there isn’t a period of adequate preparation. It must include years of preparatory work to earn a spot at Annapolis, an ROTC program or Officer Candidate’s School. Once a spot is earned, a great deal of effort must be expended to learn all the things that an exceptional Naval Officer must know. Only after this work is adequately completed does the person receive their commission as a Naval Officer and can begin carrying out their calling.
Even when the commission is granted, work is just beginning. Ensigns don’t command Aircraft Carriers or determine military strategy. Though they have begun to work in their calling, experience and more hard work is needed to open doors to greater opportunity and responsibility.
I have seen far too many Christians misunderstand this process. They feel called to preach, start a business or do some other significant endeavor, but fail to adequately prepare. Some learn by their mistakes, make corrections, and precede forward. Others go dangerously rogue leading weak people into bad doctrine and seeing the Church as against them because they were not accepted as they were. Others quit and question whether they were ever really called at all.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to stay that way. No matter where you are in life or what mistakes you have made in carrying out the unique call God has on your life, it is not too late. Find a mentor, take some classes, and get involved with opportunities to serve in your church. As you prove yourself teachable, hardworking, and submissive to God, and the people He has placed over you, God will open doors and redeem the years that the enemy stole.
You no longer have to live a life of quiet desperation. Get out there and show the world that there is joy in being used by God according to his purposes and your unique design.