small group studies
“I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me” Philippians 1:23-26
All Paul is saying here is umm, yeah. Sure I’d rather be laid back in heaven, but I have a purpose here. My time is not over and my purpose is necessary.
We talk about spiritual gifts a lot at my house. I think it’s important to teach my babies what it means to be set apart, that all of God’s people are made different- each one with something special about them. Once my oldest first told me my gift was dancing and being nice to people, once it was coloring, and this week it was hair and cooking. I love these discussions and seeing their answers change; I love watching their minds move, but always comes down to this: God made us different, each one of us serve a different purpose.
Paul said of course I’d rather… but instead this is what I do- I’m here to help you. Heaven is better but this is now.
Y’all I have so many “I’d rather(s)”
I’d rather be skinner, I’d rather not have Mondays, be more athletic, I’d rather stay home for work; rather not be sick on vacation, rather not have so many responsibilities, rather not feel like I carry the world on my shoulders somedays… be a better wife, a better mother… but why? I mean sure Mondays suck, but what about a lot of those “rathers”? Who picked the standard? Who’s line are we trying to get above but constantly feel less than?
Until you lay down the dispiriting throb of comparison you will never feel at home in your own purpose. Paul knew what He was here for, but us? We spend so much time trying to live up to the placebo that we forget to be the person. YOUR person.
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12
Sometimes I look at girls and I’m just like “gah, how can see eat six brownies and still weigh some zero pounds while I can smell one and gain six?? I mean I know we live in an uneven world but geezz, give me something Jesus. But He did… I like to tell myself I don’t have abs because God didn’t intend on me being a swimsuit model, but it’s likely because I’m just lazy. The point, though, is this- your gift isn’t what you envy over, it’s what your good at- it’s where your purpose is.
I would have never imagined my life to be what it is. When I’m not throwing the scale across the bathroom- I’m so satisfied with my life, but it looks nothin like I imagined it would. I picked a lot of things for myself that never added up in so many different ways; things were so forced. Simple things, easy things. This is what it feels like when we live for our own purpose, not Gods. I had a girl ask me a week ago ‘how you get your life turned around; how did you get to such a good place?’ And as I sit here in my living room floor, my hair on top of my head, an unpainted face, and a very toy-decorated floor… I can’t help but think oh, so this is what together looks like?
I told that girl just because I have a very worn and colorful bible does not mean I have my life together. It actually means the opposite. I can’t hold it all together so I run to the One who can. I run there everyday, all week long because it’s always something. Ain’t it?
One girl may look at my life and say Wow, she has a love for the Lord and it has completely transformed her life, like that girl..others say i’ont know who she fooling, she’s a divorced, remarried mom and I heard her say piss last week- she hasn’t changed nothing. Some girls may envy my body while other girls criticize my cellulite-they zoomed in on the picture just to make sure I had it. Some people say I’m a pretty girl and there are others that will tell you quick- she ain’t nothing special.. and I’d be lying if I didn’t say some of those things don’t hurt my feelings. They do, but where I used to cry and cry after a trip to the school to pick my son up because ‘they were staring at me, I wonder what they were thinking’ I just don’t anymore. We have to stop letting people determine what we’re worth. I didn’t turn my life around, I just changed its direction- I stopped chasing who others said I was and tried to find who I should be. I guess my life did turn a little, just not around; it turned over. It turned to God.
I say that so casually as if it were just as simple as, I don’t know, socks.. pretty basic. Just turned it to God. Y’all, that direction change, something so basic, turned out being so so big.
I don’t know who drew the line on ‘perfect’ that we constantly try and climb but hear this: God made you on purpose. He made you separate, He made you different, He made you- You.
Your purpose will not look like my purpose nor will mine look like yours, but you have something to do, something to be- just like I do. Luke chapter 11 verse 33 says “no one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden or under a bowl.” We are little lamps given specific gifts to fulfill a unique purpose. Just like you wouldn’t light a candle to stick it in the sun, you also shouldn’t take your light, your unique gift, and try to make it blend in. Lights shine the best when it sits alone- set apart, remember?
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” Romans 12:6
The very hairs of your head are numbered; you are worth more than many sparrows says Luke12:7 so the next time you find yourself sitting in the “I’d rathers” or comparison- change directions and sit in purpose. Be who God says you are, not who people say you should be!