"Somehow," notes Os Guinness, "we human beings are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us. . . God has created us and our gifts for a place of his choosing," says Guinness, "and we will only be ourselves when we are finally there." (quoted in Desire , John Eldredge, p. 152-54)
I read this today in the devotional I receive by email each day from John Eldredge's ministry, Ransomed Heart. Much of what I've been learning about desire these past few months, has been strongly influenced by his writing. In fact, reading this book, Desire, and another (The DreamGiver by Bruce Wilkinson) triggered my exploration of this topic.
Often, our truest desire shows itself in some way when we are very young, too young, perhaps, to interpret it correctly. I've contemplated this much the last week or so, as I recalled my desire as a teenager. More than anything, I wanted to enter a covent where the nuns had a mission to the disabled in Bogota, Columbia. It was for this reason that I studied Spanish back in high school. For a variety of reasons I never finished my candidacy, and, in a secret place in my heart, have always wondered if I somehow "failed" God by not becoming a nun.
I do know, in retrospect, that I believe if I had stayed in the convent, I would have been richly blessed. However, as a married woman, God has also richly blessed me, especially with my four children and two grandchildren. I've been blessed by my years of teaching in the public sector, and even more richly blessed that I've been allowed to serve His people for the last (almost) 9 years at Westside. Through this journey, I've learned to view God's will as much more of an invitation than a rigid command to do something. He offers us blessing in where He calls us to be, and, should we not respond, we do miss the blessing. But I believe God's will is somewhat like a dance--when we make a mis-step to His lead, He compensates and brings us back. And once again offers us the blessing, perhaps, though, in a different "package."
All this to say, I believe my basic gifting, the gifting of all of us as Christians, is to love Jesus uniquely as He created us. I believe, though, He uses our natural giftings, to move us strategically into the place we will feel most fulfilled in the use of our gifts. Though this may sound secular and selfish, isn't He the one who gave us those gifts in the first place? How can we not be giving Him glory when we are expressing the person He created us to be?
So, did I "misinterpret" God's call all those years ago? Or was He planting the seed of the desire to serve the disabled in Latin America, which only now He is bringing to fruition? I don't begin to have the answer. But I do know that He is faithful, and will, eventually, get us to the place of using our gifts for His glory, if only we allow Him. Embrace the gift that is you. Consider how He is calling you to use your gifts, right here, right now. And to God be the glory!