Sunday, April 20, 2008


This morning in my quiet time, I asked God to speak in our worship today. And speak He did! Our pastor has been preaching a series on Nehemiah and rebuilding the broken walls in our life. Today he was focusing on the plans and preparation that Nehemiah made before undertaking his project. He challenged us to seek God's plan, God's vision for our life at whatever stage we were in and then to begin to plan and prepare to carry it out. Like the saying goes..."if you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

So my mind took off! Last month in our Christian Writers Circle one of our guest speakers said that if our dream was to write, then to keep the dream alive you must have someone to share your dream and be your cheerleader or support person along the way.

All of these thoughts center around one thing: what is your dream and what are you doing to live out that dream? Or, put another way, what on earth are you here for??????

Most people seem to find themselves just plodding through their daily life, just trying to survive.
When I was a kid and I called my mother at work, I'd ask "Whatcha doing?" She always gave the same reply "trying to make eight" (just trying to get in her eight hours so she could come home). How many of you are just "trying to make eight" or twelve or twenty four? Or said another many of us are just killing time til time kills us?

If you are in your twenties or thirties, you are probably trying to get your career off the ground and possibly starting your family. As the kids grow and get more involved, the crazier life becomes. You may feel that you don't even have time to dream, that all you can do is figure out how the bills are going to get paid, who is taking which kid to which activity at what time and cleaning up the messes everyone leaves behind.

If you are in your 40's or 50's, you are probably getting tired of the rat race and may even begin to feel like the rats are winning! Maybe your dreams for what you thought your life would be like have not turned out exactly as you had planned when you were in college. The dream job is not as "dreamy" as you thought it would be and the people you are working with are anything but dreamboats. Maybe your dream mate isn't quite as dreamy as he or she was when you fell in love. A few more pounds have been added, a few more gray hairs, too much work, too many demands, too many responsibilities and very little romance have dimmed the flame that once burned so passionately. Not quite what you imagined married life would be.

Maybe those sweet babies have become obnoxious teens and you are worried about how they are going to turn out. Or worse, maybe they have left home and gotten into things you prayed that they never would. How did all this happen?

Or maybe you are nearing retirement and what you always thought would be the time you'd FINALLY get to relax and enjoy a time to travel or do things you'd always looked forward to doing is instead a time of multiple health problems or you've lost the spouse you had always seen yourself spending retirement with. You are alone and life has lost its joy. Maybe financial problems are looming as you realize that you may not have enough to live on in these later years.

Sound like gloom and doom? Well, it doesn't have to be that way. The good news is that God says He has a plan for our lives...a good plan...a plan to give us a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) So the question is how do we get there?

I think we must realize first that we need to consciously SEEK that plan! I think sometimes we miss the plan because we are looking for something that it isn't. For instance, if you are a young mother at home with two or three small children, you have about all you can handle. You don't have time to"dream". But think about it. For this season of your life, maybe this IS the plan. Those children and that home and that husband IS your mission in life! I truly believe with all my heart there is no higher calling in life than to be a mother. You have the awesome responsibility and privilege of pouring good things into the lives of those young impressionable little people. They are watching your every move, listening to your every word. They are wet cement and the imprints you are making upon their lives during these foundational years will last a lifetime. What could be more important than that? To teach them about Jesus. To teach them His word. To show them how a person follows Jesus. As you are taking care of your home, your are providing a safe haven for them and a place of refuge for your husband when he returns from "slaying the dragons" all day. You are there to encourage him, to be his cheerleader and to share life and his dreams with him. All of those things are very important and no one else in his life can do them like you. God wants to use you in his life "at this season" of your marriage. Don't go looking for the Hollywood version of marriage and family life. Seek how God wants to use you right now in the midst of your plain, ordinary life!

Maybe you see your career as boring or as just a job to provide an income to put food on the table and a roof over your head. Nothing exciting. But God has provided you that job. He has placed you there at THIS time for a purpose and with THOSE people for a reason! You are there for "such a time as this". Don't waste it! Ask God how He can use you there and how you can make a difference until He chooses to move you elsewhere.

How about your neighborhood? What are you doing to impact the people who live around you? Have you made any efforts to get to know them? You don't have to beat them over the head with your Bible. Just love them, care about them, reach out to them when they have a need and be a good neighbor. Then wait for God to open the door for you to be JESUS to them!

So you're retired now. What are you doing for the Kingdom? You have all this extra time on your hands. How are your using it for Him? Are you involved in any ministries at your church? Are you reaching out to anyone with the hands and feet of Jesus? Or are you just playing around with your hobbies, "killing time til time kills you"? There was a widely publicized article in recent years that circulated about a couple who made a lot of money, took early retirement and bought a house on the seashore just to spend their days collecting seashells! Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE the beach and I enjoy collecting seashells as much as anyone. BUT....there is more to life than that! And lest you think "Well, they are retired. They've worked hard all of their life and they've earned the right to do nothing but collect seashells." I challenge you to find in scripture where it says God has a social security plan! On the contrary, I believe God expects us to be living for Him right up until we draw our last breath.

I challenge you today, at whatever season you are in, to stop for just a few seconds after you read this devotional and ask God "What is YOUR vision for me right here, today, in the season of life I'm in?" And don't quit asking til you get an answer! Once you determine what He desires of you, then begin to plan and prepare HOW you are going to accomplish that vision. God does not have plans just for a select few. He has plans for each of His children and that includes YOU! What is His vision for YOU?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Pat. Found - and read - your article after Googling "Christian Writers' Circle". I woke early this morning with The Plan for the remaining decades of my life, and your words were like a gentle confirmation.