The thought occurred to me this morning, in only the way that God can lead my thoughts, that I have been given an amazing opportunity to influence people and encourage people. And I’m not alone in this – we all do.
Take a step back from your situation for a minute – & try to look at all that is in your life right now, job, hobbies, activities, relationships. Think about the people you come in contact with everyday. What if the purpose for all of it is to make sure you’re standing by Joe at Starbucks on Thursday morning at 8:06 to smile and say good morning. What if it’s about the people that God has placed in your life that are so difficult, that if you were to be honest, you try to avoid when possible – but what if there was purpose in those encounters as well – to mold and make you, but also to sharpen that other person by your lifestyle.
I just think that I miss it, being so focused on the details, that there is this whole mesh of events intersecting in my life to fulfill exactly what God wants to do – and it’s my choice whether or not I’m willing to be used by Him, aware that its even happening, or to stick my head back into the sand of details and issues. Of course – there needs to be balance in this, but if you’re like me, you just swing between extremes most of the times that that this is what I need to hear to re-correct my perspective.
But so often, I personally get caught up in my routine, being the detail-oriented person that I am, and get so focused on the obstacles and issues in my life that need to be worked out that I forget that all around me are people that I could be used to encourage, to challenge, to point to God.
What is it that God has uniquely designed you to do? Do you make people laugh easily? Do you draw people out in conversation by your willingness to listen and ask probing questions? Do you have this quirkiness about you that inspires others’ creativity just by the way you express yours? It’s not there just for you to enjoy – God’s placed it there to connect you to those other people, to encourage and influence them for His purpose – and He’ll use them if we let Him. If we’re willing to be aware that He’s already at work all around us, and is inviting us to join Him.
Scripture says that we long for Him, whether we see it as a longing to be comforted or to be rescued or to be affirmed- He is the sum total of all that we need and could ever want. AND when He uses what He has given us to reveal Himself to others, they will be drawn to us – and what will be give them in return? Where we will direct them from there?
In college, the analogy came to me of an arrow and a roadblock bench (is that what they’re called – those things they set up in roads to block the path – like on all the flooded streets in GA at the moment). I was walking on-campus at UCF, which at the time was always under construction, and had been struggling with yet again another failed relationship. By this time, God had gotten a hold of me enough to have at least dated a Christian guy. But it just didn’t seem to really have a different outcome than the rest – disappointed expectations, going in different directions, etc.
Anyways, as I’m walking past these roadblock signs, it occurs to me that this is what I felt was happening symbolically when I entered into these relationships, that as I’m walking with God and trying to follow His lead, I was getting distracted down these relationship paths that ended up at a dead-end, an impasse. And so being the black and white thinker that I am, I immediately concluded that this was God’s sign to me that He was calling me to singleness in my life. (yeah, dramatic, i know) – But then He continued to speak, which is often my problem, i jump to conclusions before He’s had a chance to finish communicating His thoughts to me.
He told me that I could find an arrow, someone that I could be in relationship with that would continually point me back to Him. That is wouldn’t be about someone ever fulfilling all my needs, or me theirs, but that it would be someone that God used in my life to remind me that He is my Source, and if he chooses to use that man to meet some of my needs, great. But if not, He is still my Source and it’s not the purpose of a relationship, anyways.
All this relates in that it’s stuck with me – not just in the context of romantic relationships – but in who I want to be to other people, and who I ultimately want to be around. Those individuals that are used by God to reveal more of who He is, and then continually point you back to Him. It means that they don’t go glory-seeking for credit, or try to even meet/fix your problems themselves, but they recognize their own depravity & need for Christ, and encourage you to go to Him as well. And it means being so filled up by God, allowing Him to teach me that my worth is in Him, that when I am used by God, it doesn’t become a threat to me – that I don’t start thinking that my ‘usefulness’ to God dictates my worth now.
So – that is what I want to be – an arrow – and that is who I feel challenged to be this morning, if God chooses in His infinite grace and mercy to use me to reveal more of Him to someone else, that it wouldn’t really be about me at all – but just pointing people back to their Maker, their Lover, their Redeemer, their Friend, their Comforter – to the One that is able to meet whatever need drew them in in the first place.
And we have that opportunity, even today, to point people back to Him!
Ephesians 5:15-17 –
Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.