How can I accept less exciting times in life?
When I was younger, I dreamed of doing something important with my life. When ATI newsletters arrived in the mail, I pored over the pictures of smiling young people involved in exciting ministry opportunities, and I longed to be in their shoes. I would read the stories and marvel at what God was doing “out there,” while I was stuck at home.
I grew increasingly dissatisfied with my mundane life. It seemed that I faced a continuous cycle of doing chores around the house, caring for my siblings, and learning how to homeschool and run a home. I wanted to be out there somewhere, doing something really big for God.
The Real Cause of Frustration
Deep down, what frustrated me was the fact that I knew that I was not mature enough for God to use me as He was using other young people. This underlying feeling of inferiority pushed me to attempt achievement in my own strength. In an effort to escape monotony, I decided to try to make myself the kind of person I thought God would want to use for something “big.” In my mind, this qualification meant becoming perfect—right now.
I determined to be the model Christian and tried to act accordingly. It usually took only an hour or two before I recognized I had completely failed in my quest for maturity, and I was still my regular, sinful self. This realization plunged me deep into despair. For solace I resorted to the comfort of food, an unreal world of books, or the relief of hard work. I was trapped in a cycle of discouragement.
Submitting to God’s Best
One day I was talking with the Lord and telling Him about my desire to do something “important” for Him. He asked me a question: “Do you want your idea of what’s important and best, or do you want MY best for your life?” I immediately responded, “Of course I want Your best, Lord!” His answer startled me: “My best for you is at home.”
I understood then that while He might call others to more prominent, seemingly more important areas of service, He was still going to use me at home in ways that were just as powerful and important. He brought this truth home to me with this poem:
I wanted to go; He said stay.
I wanted to do; He said pray.
I wanted to work; He said wait.
I wanted to live, for His sake!
“Love Me, Child,” He softly said.
“Oh yes, Lord,” I bowed my head.
“I want your way; I am your son.
“Not my will, but Thine be done.”
Even though I did not completely understand God’s plan for my life, I was finally able to accept it. I became free from the excruciating trap of trying to make myself perfect in order for God to want to use me, and I realized that God was already using me right where I was! I needed to stop despising the ministry opportunities I was already participating in and wholeheartedly give myself to Him through them.
Benefits of Acceptance
Looking back, I can see many reasons why God wanted me at home during those years, including the following:
- Learning to Trust My Heavenly Father
- God taught me to have faith in His timing through the blessings and difficulties He brought into my life. Many times it looked as though God and my parents were making a mistake, but I found out they knew a lot more than I did. When I saw how well things worked out when I followed my parent’s wishes, I learned to trust even when I didn’t fully understand.
- Building Christ’s Character
- The Lord used my time at home to develop more of Christ’s character in my life. I learned patience from working with and teaching my siblings. I learned endurance by taking major responsibilities in the home and faithfully doing them. I learned to enjoy hard work and to be content with what I have. I learned that diligence makes a job small, and procrastination makes it big. I learned that love is an action, not just an emotion. All these things came from patiently serving the Lord with my whole heart in the place where He planted me.
- Nurturing Family Relationships
- My focus on serving the Lord at home radically affected my relationships with my family. Close relationships take work, and I am so grateful I’ve had this time to invest in my three siblings. We’ve become close friends and co-laborers. Being at home has allowed me to have more open communication with my parents and to be involved in their ministry.
- Preparation for My Life Calling
- Another benefit of this time of serving that I did not realize at the time was the value of learning how to manage a home. One of my heart’s desires is to assist mothers with large families or children with special needs. Experiencing all the pressures involved in managing a home and homeschooling prepared me to fulfill this calling.
God really does know what is best for us. Nothing He does is wasted. As He did for me, He may have given you desires that you haven’t seen fulfilled yet. We need the eyes to see that God is always at work in our lives, making us into the people He wants us to be. If you choose to trust in who God is and commit to making the most of the opportunities He gives you, He will bless you and fulfill the deep desires of your heart.
Related Command of Christ
This testimony illustrates the command of Christ to Seek God’s Kingdom. (See Matthew 6:33.) As Sharon sought to serve God with her whole heart, she discovered that some of the roles in His kingdom are much closer to home than she had thought! She now rejoices in the path God wisely chose for her to take.