Recently, the subject of living a life of purpose came up in a conversation that I was having with a friend. She just couldn’t see how her life was being lived for God when it seemed so ordinary and plain. This is someone who has seen suffering around the world firsthand and yet is living in the here and now of her life, just following God everyday, as best as she knows how. She was wondering how she is making any kind of difference whatsoever.
Her questions and concerns struck a nerve within me – like, I almost couldn’t respond to her without bursting out into tears myself. This is my heart. I also want, more than anything, to live a life of purpose. I want, more than anything, to change the world. I want to bring healing and hope and love and joy to a desperate, broken people. But you know what I do? I change diapers all day. I comfort a crying baby. I undercook cookie bars. I watch Elmo and Mr. Rogers. I play with singing caterpillars and disturbing little glowbug creatures. I read the same book at least 20 times a day. I clean toilets and wash dishes. I lose my patience. I cook chicken till it’s so tough that it’s hardly edible.
Looking at my everyday tells me that my life is small. It’s such a far cry from changing the world. But this is where God has placed me right now. My sphere of influence consists of my husband, my children, my extended family, and the people I come in contact with everyday – the grocery store clerk, the single mom living next door, the Starbucks lady (okay, so I wish I could see her everyday, but I’m trying with all my might to reduce my drive-thru brews.) By the way, is it fairly obvious that I think about coffee all day long? It’s got me reeled in, I tell you!
Anyway, God has asked me to be faithful in the here and now. I need to love my Jesus and my sphere of influence with everything that is in me. I can’t judge how effective my life is from my vantage point. My eyes are so not observant, my vision so small. I just have to trust that God is building something in these days that will be beautiful in the long term – that all of these seemingly meaningless tasks -the burnt oatmeal, the vacuuming, the scrubbing- and all of these days sitting on the floor and playing with baby dolls – are maybe not so little after all. When I live in God, for God, and because of God – than no thing in life lacks purpose, meaning, or substance. Somehow, God will love people to Himself and He will change the world, even with what I deem as a small life. And it would be really cool to see Him use Elmo, dry chicken, and potty training stories in the process.