I have been very thankful as of late in terms of overcoming the challenges that 2022 had thrown at me earlier in the year and particularly last week when I truly was able to ‘catch my breath’, being able to pause and stop to enjoy the things around me.
So it came as some surprise when towards the end of last week, culminating on Monday (which was a Bank Holiday in the UK), I woke up a little perturbed. As I sat up in bed, I reflected on what in actual fact am I doing with my life. Procrastination had now become my middle name, in fact, if you were to look up that word in the Oxford dictionary, you would see me. Well you wouldn’t really…. but well you know what I mean! I had slid back into a little nasty habit of comparing myself to others which typically sends me into a spiralled sense of not bothering to do anything since there wasn’t much point. Now that Mum had stabilised and was more stronger, I could not longer use the ‘excuse’ that after working a 5 day week, I had neither the energy nor time to devote any time to anything else (including this blog). And yet there I was lamenting on the fact that I hadn’t devoted any more time to anything else.
So last week, I was sat at my work’s laptop having completed a meeting, I muted my mic and switched off my camera. It was just me and God. Whilst here I quietly asked Him, why am I here? Now I hasten to add, it wasn’t a doom and gloom, “why am I here” but more of a “what is my purpose because I seem to have forgotten” kind of question.
An overwhelming flood of love washed over me (which I’ve not felt in a long time) and I was quite taken aback by its strength. Immediately afterwards I was reminded of the things I had done thus far last week which pointed to my purpose – the Executive PA who was stressed out/close to tears, that I quietly listened to and helped so that she could set up her Teams meeting for her Director, the laughter and time spent with my kids and the group hugs, the singing in the car when I thought no one was looking (to the amusement of a passing driver who was looking), the 63 year old administrator tasked with building her department’s web pages again close to tears but who nonetheless was able to build her web pages while on a call with me. Essentially I was reminded of all the times I had just done – what I perceived to be – just normal day to day things. But looking back what I saw instead was the ‘thank you’ emails, the remarks thanking me for being that listening ear, the smiles. I hadn’t noticed them in the moment but looking back I realised the impact I had on those individuals in just that one week.
I had read somewhere that what we believe about ourselves will have a massive impact on how we live out our purpose. If a person doesn’t think much of themselves or loses sight of who they are, they run the risk of grinding to a halt, slipping into a sense of apathy. One of the Bible verses for Monday was taken from Ephesians 2 verse 10 which says:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”(NIV UK)
Now the Greek word for ‘workmanship’ or ‘handiwork’ is Poiema and I hadn’t realised this but it is where we get the word ‘poem’ from. In the context of the verse above it means we have been made by God himself. It’s who we are and beautifully crafted we are too. To dig a bit deeper (this was me on Monday) – whenever I see the beautiful creations that writers do when they compose poems, it struck me how intricate and beautiful we are.
But the answer to my original question followed – my purpose in Christ was to do good works. Simples! Especially when it was in front of me in black and white, but yet I hadn’t immediately seen it in myself. Now, this is not a green light for me to purposefully run outside and help that little old lady across the busy main road to gain brownie points somehow. But quite literally to just keep doing me – the things that I hadn’t considered to be important but which had impacted on those around me and was important to them. I was never meant to start that remote missionary somewhere in a deepest darkest Amazon jungle, I just needed to continue to make a difference in my home and workplace.
That was what God had prepared me in advance to do.
So the next time you pick up that kid’s scarf from the ground and place it on a garden fence for that Mum on a school run to see, that quiet nod of good morning to the bus passenger on the No 55, the word of encouragement to a stranger not realising just how crappy their day had been – you know those tiny acts of kindness that we don’t think about when we do it? Keep doing those things.
That’s part of our purpose while we walk on this earth.