Sunday, September 05, 2004

Anyone see my map?

" We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

When I read this verse, I wonder, did I misplace my blueprint? Did I have a map for my life that I lost? Where did I stray? What wrong turn did I take in life that I don't exactly know what it is that I was "prepared in advance" to do? Based on all of the books out there written to deal with finding one's purpose in life, I can only imagine I'm not alone.

Do I believe that my existence is amazing? Of course! As Psalm 139:14 says: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well." I can't help but be impressed by the intricacies of the inner workings of our minds and bodies.

But at some point along the way, it seems that in my mind I lost the confidence in my natural inclinations. At some point, I abandoned those things that I loved most. This does not seem to happen to everybody. I've come across plenty of people who have been able to say things like: "I've always known I wanted to ______." You fill in the blank. I envy their conviction, their confidence and their contentment in doing something that they feel is their calling.

However, there are an equal number of us, we may even be the majority, who no longer have a clue. What are our strengths? What do we love to do? What gifts did the Lord install in each of us when we were still in our mother's womb?

It seems that we each come to a crossroads, of sort, sometime in our childhood. Some children cling to their dreams and follow them. Many others of us seem to have abandoned our desires of the heart as being frivolous, child-like or unreasonable. We abandoned our dreams along the side of the road of life for something more reasonable or rational. We started thinking in terms of what will provide for a steady and predictable life according to what our families, our friends and society consider to be good.

In other words, we stopped thinking in terms of what can I do if there were no limitations? If I could be assured that I wouldn't fail, what would I try? As children, we consider ourselves to be fully capable , even indestructible. Children aren't born with the fear of failing. The Bible tells us in 2TI 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

The baby that takes it's first step doesn't think to herself: What if I fall? And when she does fall, she's not concerned about what others thought about that fall. She concentrates on what she can learn from that fall and how she can improve so that she can succeed the next time she tries.

A child will try over and over again until she succeeds in mastering whatever act she sets out to conquer. She never questions her ability to succeed. Lack of fear allows her to believe that she can and will achieve.

Fear is something we learn. It is those fears that drive us away from our God given talents, strengths and abilities. If we believe that God has crafted each of us "wonderfully", then we also know that we become flawed in our walk on this earth. Our faith becomes speckled with doubt. Our confidence becomes clouded with confusion.

When I think about the dreams that I abandoned, I can remember a few instances when someone told me that my dreams weren't possible. Their reasoning seemed so correct, and so I accepted it as true. I feel my job as a mother is to cultivate my children's dreams. I may not want my daughter to be a circus clown. But if her desire is to bring a smile to people's faces. If she's not concerned about the unsteadiness of such a career, then I have to be careful not to trample on her dreams.

I feel my job is to observe her, study her and encourage her God given abilities and strengths. I want her roadmap to remain as much intact as possible so that she'll have it to find her purpose in life. I want her to have strong convictions and I also want her to be open to continued learning and to taking on new dreams and goals to pursue.

Thomas Jefferson once said: "I did not have my mother long, but she cast over me an influence which has lasted all my life. The good effects of her early training I can never lose. If it had not been for her appreciation and her faith in me at a critical time in my experience, I should never have become an inventor. I was always a careless boy, and with a mother of different mental caliber, I should have turned out badly. But her firmness, her sweetness, her goodness were potent powers to keep me in the right path. My mother was the making of me."

Even if you cannot confidently identify all of your strengths and talents, there's one that I believe we all can claim to be true: our ability to love our children. So if there is no other strength you can wholeheartedly identify to foster within yourself, let it be that love for your children. Your love may just raise someone who will change the world - for the better.

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