I was cold, distant and angry. On the surface, everything seemed fine, you’d get a smile and greeting, but inside my head, I was waging a battle. Everything appeared wonderful: house, cars, kids, and great career. Why then did my heart tell me that it was all a waste and I was a complete failure?
This past weekend I turned 37 and once again, I struggled with my own inner demon called Noise (See Ephesians 6:12). I reflected over the past 15 years of my life. I’ve spent that time providing for my family, defending my country and rising to the top of my career. Most people would feel content but my heart and emotions screamed that I had missed my calling.
I’ve made many mistakes in life and most certainly did not take the easiest path. I’ve overcome educational, financial and marital issues and rose to the top 1% of my career field. Most of my colleagues love their job and feel complete satisfaction knowing that we are secure in a six-figure income and will always have job opportunities waiting for us. Despite obtaining the world’s definition of success, my heart felt empty inside and I feel like these accomplishments will ultimately end up in God’s dumpster because God doesn’t care how much money we’ve made or the titles we’ve obtained. He looks at how we’ve loved others and used our lives to glorify him.
My heart lies in ministry, working with families and making a difference in people's lives. But my day job is light years from that calling. I work with 98% atheists and agnostics who are happy and content living in the world’s definition of success and only seeking personal pleasure and gratification. For me, the Christian anomaly who has a heart for God and true greatness by God’s standards, it feels like I’m stuck here in purgatory for the next 6 years. I’ve turned down ministry positions in the past and each time, I’ve regretted it. Each time I wonder if the grass is greener on the other side and my heart would be filled with joy living my calling each day.
Before I continue on my pity party let me stop right here and offer some logical advice that I’ve heard multiple times and my brother Dante reminded me of this past weekend. The grass is not greener and God uses us wherever we are. If I’d spent the past 15 years working in ministry, I might be burnt out now. If I hadn’t chosen the path I did, I would not have the life stories, experiences and trials to share with others and may not have a passion for this ministry at all.
God is shaping us wherever we are in our lives. Right now, I’m digging ditches and waiting for the time when He calls me to full-time ministry. I have 6 more years and I can continue to listen to Noise and feel like I'm wasting my life or I can choose to use this time wisely and my current place as a way to minister to others and glorify God. Maybe I haven’t experienced something yet or God has some more molding to do with me before I am ready? Whatever it may be, I need to use everyday and every situation as a way to learn, love, grow and reach others.
Will my old friend Noise be back in a few days to once again start playing my emotions and pulling on my heartstrings? Probably. But I’ll continue to put on my armor and wage this battle with him because I know that for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7) While God continues to reveal and refine the storyline of my life, I can rejoice because I already know the closing scene. The good guys win, Christ returns and at last I will get to bask in his glory and love for the rest of eternity. Thank You God!
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.