Ask a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, and the answers range from hilariously entertaining to terrifying. A different times in their lives my oldest was determined to join the CIA (she would have been good), my son talked about joining the Israeli army (he is only about one-eighth Jewish), and my youngest was either going to be a nurse or do hair, (she chose nursing).
I cannot recall ever telling my children they could be anything they wanted to be, because the truth is most things require you to have some kind of minimum qualifications; a natural ‘bend’, inherent talent, or giftedness that can harnessed and honed. I will never sing like Alicia Keys, run like Usain Bolt, or do a Biles like Olympic gymnast Simone – not without serious damage to my body parts.
However, I believe in the omniscient God who has placed within each of us “gracious gifts” which cannot be earned, bought, or sold. They light up the passion and fire in you, and you would do it for free if you could. In the middle of activating and exercising your giftedness you know you’re ‘in your lane’; feeling energized, exhilarated, and anxious all at the same time. That is how I feel when I am writing alone, or speaking in front of a group of people; excited, fueled by passion and nervous energy.
But sometimes it also feels like life, or people in life, are orchestrating to douse every inner fire with buckets of fear; fear of the toll failure would take, or the cost of successfully ‘doing you’, or the pain of judgement.
“That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the GRACIOUS GIFT OF GOD, THE INNER FIRE THAT IS IN YOU… For God did not give us a spirit of timidity; of cowardice, of craven (weak spineless, gutless), – and cringing and fawning fear, but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” II Timothy 1:7 Amplified Bible
Five years ago Os Guiness spoke at our church and with a single phrase from the Bible lit an all-consuming fire in me and changed the direction of my life forever.
“For David, after he had served God’s will and purpose and counsel in his own generation, fell asleep…” Acts 13:36a Amplified Bible.
The decision was immediate and final; THAT is what I want said about my life.
At 55 years old it is both sobering and motivating to acknowledge that more than half of my life is over. I refuse to let fear of anyone or anything stop me from ‘stirring it up’. Along with His gracious gifts, He has given unconditional love and access to His infinite power working in and through me. So with everything to gain, and nothing of eternal value to lose, I’m …just living the thing.