Philippians 2:12 (AMP)
12 So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ].
I’ve been looking for my “Why.” Why? It is what leaders tell you to do when you’re operating and growing a business. It is really something everyone needs to do to live the life that God designed for them. We need a bigger reason or motivation to get up in the morning. We need something outside ourselves. If the obvious answer to you is God, I agree. But we need to flesh that out in our own unique ways.
Many people say their family is their “Why.” That makes sense. We all want to help our families. And if that means focusing on making an income to give things to our families, that’s okay. God likes to give good gifts to His children; and as His children, we like to give good gifts to ours. And young families especially feel this passion toward helping their children grow and become even more than they are themselves.
But for me, even feeling all those things, I still didn’t feel like I had the right answer to my “why.” Perhaps it is because my children are grown, and I’m not living that day-to-day life of raising children anymore. Of course, I want good things and opportunities for my grandchildren, but I get to add the perks in their lives. Their parents are responsible for the basics. And I still want things for my own children, but I can give too much if I want them to rely on God and their own gifts. I am not their provider.
So, what’s my why?
I kept looking at my gifts trying to find my passion or my “what.” And that led to another dilemma. What are my gifts? I don’t mean to say I don’t have any. In fact, I feel God has blessed me with many gifts. I love many things—maybe too many. How do I narrow it down?
Well, that’s an exploration for another blog, but the short version is this. After writing down all the things I love, narrowing it to those I can see myself doing daily, and eliminating those that are more hobby or rest oriented, I had these left: writing, creating (graphics, plans, etc.), reading, teaching, talking. My “aha” moment came when I realized these are all the same thing—communication. You would think that would be obvious, right? The problem is, I was trying to isolate one as my true “passion,” but constantly coming back to others. They are all pieces of the same pie.
Once I had determined that my “what” or my passion is communication, I circled back to re-evaluate my “why.” And I discovered much the same thing in my next “aha” moment. I had been praying and exploring this for several days when I came across an interview someone had with one of my former students. He discovered his passion early in life. His passion is helping others. He actively seeks to help someone every day. He also actively seeks to help others by taking on things that are bigger than he is. In this way he draws in others to help. And because he draws in others, he is able to accomplish things far beyond what he imagined. That interview came to my mind when I was looking at my why. I realized all of my “why’s” fell into a broader category, just as all my “what’s” had fallen into a broader category.
My why is people, and like my former student, helping people. When I talk to people and teach them about essential oils, I help them to consider and evaluate their own health and well-being. This frequently leads to conversations beyond essential oils to diet, exercise, and healthful lifestyles. When I write my blog, I hope to help and encourage others by showing them that we are all on this journey to grow into who God designed us to be. When I write fiction and work on revising my novel for publication, I hope to help and encourage young people to read and to discover God for themselves. When I talk and listen to my family and friends, I help to meet their needs by doing whatever I can. When I spend time with my grandchildren—talking and interacting with them—I help them learn and know about God and our family. And when I study, rest, meditate, and pray, I help myself to grow so I have more to offer others.
It may seem crazy to be trying to evaluate all these things at my age. But when you transition out of a full-time career into a new area of business and a much freer schedule, you are constantly evaluating whether you are using your time effectively. You have to find or clarify your life purpose. You ask, “Is there balance in my life? Could I or should I be doing more?” I knew I needed to answer my “what” and my “why” before I could hope to evaluate or prioritize my schedule.
So, all the studying and writing and soul-searching I have done over the past month have paid off in some answers. God is faithful. I will take what I have learned and continue to walk it out by looking for new opportunities to help others with the gifts and passions God has given to me. Nothing has really changed but my focus. I knew all of these things about myself before; but my soul-searching has shown me how all of the things I love to do can work together. I don’t have to choose. God means for me to do all of these things. My “why” in this life is helping people. My vehicle for doing that is communication. God will guide me to the people He wants me to help, and I will communicate His love to them through my writing, creating, talking and listening, and teaching. And I’ll keep on reading and communicating with God to learn more and grow in Him.