I don’t rightly know how it happened.
For as long as I can remember, there has been a singular desire- one thing above and beyond all others to which I have devoted my prayer and attention.
Whatever you’d call it. A vague picture in my mind of the person I’m supposed to be. More than what I’m meant to do for a job, who I should marry, what my existence should be about… but a full, framed picture of who and what I was created to be in my entirety. Oh, I may have placed emphasis on one aspect of the picture more than another (during one season of life or the next), sure. But at it’s essential point- it’s foundation and undercurrent- I’ve sought the same resolution to the same question all of mankind has desired. I know my searching isn’t a unique pursuit, of course. Even if I’m looking for the grander purpose- at the basest of levels- it’s the same quest for calling everyone eventually goes through.
The odd and amazing thing recently isn’t a revelation or an epiphany. No heaven-piercing shaft of light. No scattered crack of electricity colliding with my soul. Just a simple, ploddingly slow shift- somewhere deep within. See, I’m realizing my focal point isn’t the painting on the wall anymore. That imaginary piece of 'art' which depicts my truest, most complete persona- the 'aspired image'... Somewhere while growing up, some of us change- the simple Grace given at the cross becomes a starting point, and no longer the home base. We say (internally, perhaps): "Thank you, Jesus, for my salvation. Even though I once simply relished it, simply enjoyed You there... well, Lord... I think we need to move on, now- let's get cracking on that whole 'perfecting me' thing You do. Let's work on making me 'better'."
I’ve always been the sort to receive a task or idea or desire or relationship and run with it at a hundred and twnety-six miles per hour until I make my face 'one' with the metaphorical wall. And this from someone who used to thrive upon spontaneity... sigh. My mother always reminds me “Nothing in this world is static. Everything moves. Everything changes.”
My focus change hasn’t been my own doing, though. Somewhere along the last few years, the frustrations I have wrestled with have exhausted me. As I have walked around my neighborhood at three in the morning for nights on end, frustrated with God, whining at Him, yelling at Him, irritated and annoyed and completely worn down... God has done something in me. My attention has left a little more of the ephemeral behind, in favor of the eternal. My focus isn’t so wholly devoted to that picture or purpose. Instead, I’m finding myself putting Jesus Himself in that frame. And all the temporal, human needs and wants and desired callings have been reduced to moments. Tiny slivers of time and connection. The mundane, day-to-day which has for so long felt like an undue plague has become the platform upon which I build a truer relationship with Him. It’s hard to explain… but that’s about the best I can do.
Instead of looking to God for my purpose, He has Himself become my purpose. And the fierce fights of my heart have moved from the sweeping valleys of change and the crags of impatience- and have become one step to take. One wall to climb. One moment to inhabit. It’s not easy- making yourself avoid eye contact with that imaginary artwork and instead looking into the eyes of the Savior. That patient Savior our selfish childishness has long assumed wasn’t there at all.
But it’s so much more worthwhile.