I'm a quitter.
Yesterday I attended a conference in Nashville that ended up being some of the best, most insightful, God-honoring, hilarious 8 hours I've spent: The Quitter Conference. Jon Acuff (of the hilarious "Stuff Christians Like" fame) wrote "Quitter" -- his book about having 8 jobs in 8 years and being the perpetual quitter because of the tension between what he was doing, and what he was hungry to do with the gifts and talents God had given him.
But in the sea of all that quitting, he began to glean some insight. He realized that when you're waiting to do what you really, really feel called to do, you don't have to see your current circumstances as prisons from which to escape. They can be platforms from which to jump. And you can--and should--hustle while you're waiting. He talked about how to pursue a calling while honoring God, your spouse, your family, even your current employer.
One of his excellent insights--and one worth sharing--is the idea that "discovering" what you really want to do isn't so much an act of discovery, like some a-ha/lightbulb/walking-down-the-street-and-I-suddenly-realize-I-was-meant-to-be-a-beekeeper moment, but rather an act of recovery. So rather than the overwhelming "What do I want to do with my life?" question, we can start to ask, "What have I done that I've loved?"
I am passionate about being a wife and mom and communicator of truth. My heart longs to be the wife Justin deserves, and the mom who makes much of Jesus in such a way that it's real for my kids. And if being a wife and mom was all there was to my life, I know I would never look back and say, "That's all there was to my life?" This part alone is so precious, so real, and it matters so much. I'm passionate too about speaking truth in a way that brings clarity and stickiness to the truth of God's word. Getting to do so makes me feel like I am really using all God has given me, kind of like someone who had spent their life in a wheelchair dreaming to walk, and then one day getting to stand and take steps. It would feel like, for once, they were getting to use all of the parts God had given them. That is what I feel like when I write and speak. The amazing thing is that what I am doing right now IS connected to what I want to do long term. I am a tutor, and I use all my gifts to make information clear and memorable to students. What a blessing to have the awesome privilege of serving my tutoring students while practicing making it clear and making it stick for all God has in store for the future. Awesome! All I'm saying is that what you're doing right this moment probably does have tie-ins to your future dreams, even if you've never yet been able to make those connections. I love how our God is a tie-it-all-together God; There's peace in knowing that none of this waiting time is wasted time.
God has woven these longings and gifts into you and to me to use for His glory. It's about choosing to be a faithful steward of these things by using them, and giving them back to Him as an offering.
But it's more than just a "do what you love" thing. It's an obedience thing to use what God has given you to use! For a long time I've been compelled by the story of the talents in the gospels. Jesus told of a man who entrusted talents to three of his servants. When the master returned, two had used them and had returns on their investments. The third buried his talent. And his master did not take that lightly.
This parable compels me to write teachings before I'm booked to speak. It compels me to write blog posts even when I wonder if it matters. It compels me to pray for favor and opportunities, and for the diligence to pray and prepare in the meantime. It's what I can do now. I can't speak before I'm asked--but I can get ready. And I really feel called to get ready.
Why would we not, and how dare we not intentionally consider how God has so wonderfully and purposefully made us? Imagine Him fashioning and forming you in your mother's womb with great intentionality and purpose. He did so that you might use those things to point to Him. If you love photography, why not use that talent? If you love writing, why not write in response to the gift He's given you to do so? If He has gifted you to teach, why not teach?
Consider your life as it is right now. Are you doing what makes you feel like you're getting to use all of you? If your current job situation is not in line with the gifts and passions God has given you, by no means should you turn in your 2-week notice tomorrow. But you should--today--consider making individual actions and taking individual steps to prepare you for when God calls you out. Our days are numbered. Why not live them using our talents?
I'm a quitter, too--a quitter of an ordinary life void of the use of my God-given passions and talents. And I think this sign I saw in the snack room yesterday really summed up why:So what would YOU do? If the bills didn't have to get paid (and yes, they do have to get paid), what would you want to do? Would you still do what you're currently doing?