I have just started the book Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters by Jon Acuff.
In Chapter 1, I was a bit worried because the author kept talking about becoming awesome instead of average. While I understood the spirit of what he was saying, it still bothered me that I was being encouraged to pursue being awesome. No one is awesome except God; and the only way that I become awesome is by allowing God to work through me. Even then, while I might at some point be considered awesome in the eyes of others, I am not awesome. God is awesome in and through me. It’s all Him. Not me. I can only take credit for surrendering and allowing Him to use me. No, not even that. Because without God’s help, I can’t do anything—not even surrender. He is All in All. But I do aspire to allow Him to use me for the purpose I was created, so I continue on.
Recently, I began a new home business as a distributor. That’s why I am reading the book. I want to be good at what I’m doing and learn new things. The leader of my team is a dynamic young woman who is clearly achieving the purpose for which she is called. She has not only been successful in this business in a relatively short period of time; she also has developed strategies, training, and leadership to help others be successful. Many of these team members are young. They are building their lives, dreaming their dreams, and looking at the future with unlimited possibilities. That’s great.
But I am 60 years old. I am a newly retired teacher who “happened” upon a new business and felt God opening a door. And I have dreams. But I’m not looking at a limitless future. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not depressed by the fact that my projected life span is more than half over, while these younger people have twice as many years ahead of them. I’m just in a different place. And, I’ll admit, all this talk of going after your dreams has had me a bit conflicted. I’m not sure I have one, overarching dream. I have lots of dreams, and some of them may not be compatible. Some of them may require choices, and at 60, the reality is, I probably won’t get to do all of them.
I have been seeking God’s direction since I retired (well before that, too, but you know what I mean), and so far I haven’t felt led to take off in any particular direction, other than to keep trying to work this new business. But I have had lots of ideas and things that I feel God is leading me to. People have said to me that I should just rest. And that’s true. After thirty years of teaching, a little rest is probably deserved. I really don’t have the energy yet to take off on some new project or life goal that is going to absorb my every waking hour. If I wanted that, I could have kept teaching. But I can’t rest forever. So, in reading further in Start, by the time I hit Chapter 3, a few things Acuff says resonated with me.
1. Live with purpose and enjoy a thousand different passions as you continually walk the road to awesome.[i]
Since I have a lot of interests and passions, I like the “permission” of enjoying and pursuing them all. Additionally, I have confidence that eventually God will let me know if one of them is going to standout.
2. Whatever you’re going to do, do it with purpose Not purpose as if a key you’re going to find in the bottom of a trunk of old sweaters, but rather as if purpose is an approach to life that can shape everything you do![ii]
Yes, yes, and yes! Brings to mind Colossians 3:23. My purpose is to please God and to walk in His truth. I can do this no matter what else I’m pursuing. I also like that he says there is no key—no one magical moment when you say, “Aha, I’ve found my purpose and now I’m done.” Purpose isn’t a destination.
3. . . . purpose usually finds you. Purpose is attracted to motion. Purpose is attracted to momentum. Purpose loves to surprise you mid-stride.[iii]
I love this. It means I don’t have to sit around waiting. I need to be doing something. I have been trying this, and it’s nice to have some validation. Every time I think I should just sit back and watch it happen, I can’t. I realize I have to keep things moving. Even if the things I plan aren’t great or don’t succeed, I have to DO something. And while I’m doing it, maybe, just maybe, some larger purpose of God’s will present itself to me.
So age is not an issue. If purpose isn’t a destination, then we are all on a journey. We are just on different parts of the road. The scenery may vary. The road conditions may vary. The speed may vary. But we are all on the journey.
In the last two days, I have had two new ideas of things to do. One of them is related to this new business, and one is related to another passion I have, writing. I want to jump in and watch success happen. It’s not that easy, as Acuff points out. So, I will continue reading and writing and doing things. I will stay in motion, trying to move forward. And eventually, I will find God’s dream for me and, hopefully, discover more of His awesomeness shining through me.
[i] Acuff, Jonathan M. “Chapter 3.” Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work That Matters. Kindle ed. Brentwood, TN: Lampo, The Lampo Group, 2013. Loc 508+. E-book.