For the past seven months, I've been on a journey to find the answer to those questions. I'd moved from Borger, where I'd lived for 26 years and was very comfortable with my role there...to Groom, where I was experiencing being a senior pastor's wife for the first time. It was forcing me to press in to God for answers.
Recently, Jay & Amy (son-in-law & daughter) were here and Amy showed me a book they were reading for their book club. I was very interested. It was "The Person Called You" by Bill Hendricks (son of Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological, for those who knew him). Bill Hendricks is a member of All Saints Church of Dallas where Jay serves as assistant pastor and worship leader. In fact, I met Bill when Jay & Amy were moving into their house. Bill and his wife, Lynn, helped them move. When we ate lunch that day, Jay invited Bill to share with me and my mom what he does for a living. Bill is a consultant who helps people discover their giftings and helps them make critical career decisions. He is President of The Giftedness Center which he founded. I was fascinated by what he told us that day. So when I saw the book, I had to have it. I cannot recommend it enough! Get it for yourself, your spouse and your young adult children...you won't regret it. It would also be the perfect gift for someone beginning their career search. All you need is the book, a notebook, a good friend and an open heart to begin to understand who you are and what you are called to do.
And then I went to hear Beth Moore in Lubbock with some women from my church. She spoke on, "Know Who You Are....and Who You Are Not!" Because of a homework assignment she gave us that first session, I began to see who I was not. I also began to realize at that conference that God was pursuing me. He was pressing in so that I would press in to Him.
After that conference, someone who knows me well and has the gift of mercy combined with a gracious spirit asked if she could be my "Jethro" and speak into my life. If you knew her, you'd know this was so out of character for her, you'd have to (and want to) perk up and pay attention!! Her advice to me was to find what I should do and let the rest go. She told me I had to learn to say "No." I was burning myself out...and I knew it.
But the reason I was burning myself out was because I wasn't even remotely involved in anything that included my giftings. I wasn't being fulfilled. I was giving out of areas which were work to me. It's ok to do that as a sacrifice and service to God and the body of Christ, but if that's all you do, you'll burn out...quickly!
God in His great mercy and grace began to unfold through these things (and a lifetime of events) who I am and His purpose in creating me. Oh! How He wants us to know! He desires for us to fulfill the purpose for which He created us. He has GIFTED us--for the body of Christ. The body could potentially miss out on something wonderful if we never discover our purpose or our giftings. He wants us to experience as much pleasure as He does over who we are and what He created us to be.
My life has been a journey. As I've sat and journaled where I've been, who and what God has used to shape me, who I am not and what has become a burden to me, a beautiful thing has emerged: Me. A person uniquely gifted for the body of Christ. I would have felt presumptuous saying that even a week ago. But in the unwrapping and unveiling of who I am, God has also shifted my focus from me to Him. I'm not beautiful because of anything I've done or created. I'm beautiful because of God's unique design of me. And I'll be even more beautiful as I fulfill what He has created me to do.
"You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore."