A Page from My Prayer Journal

What am I supposed to be doing with my life?

I remember my Pastor Etzel of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, Michigan is telling our confirmation class that God has a plan for each one of us. I have been thinking a lot about Pastor Etzel’s words a lot since I lost my coveted job in 2009 and now that both my sons will be in college this fall, I wonder what God’s plan is for me now.

Since 2009, I have had a few jobs, but mostly I have been self-employed. I had attended college after high school, but I never completed my degree in business and journalism. I recently took a technical writing class this past winter with the notion of completing a degree in Professional Communications. At 55 years old, I contemplate whether I should continue this educational journey. A friend asked me at the time, “Okay, what you are planning on doing with that degree?” I guess suggesting at my age that it was a nice endeavor, but what for?

Perhaps this isn’t God’s plan for my life. Maybe it wasn’t His plan even back in 1980. College tuition is NOT cheap! Retirement is just around the corner. WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?

Did I screw up Your plan for me, God?

Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

My heart says, “Never quit! Never give up!” But my pulse is getting slower and weaker as time marches on.

Since 2009, I have been lost. Now that my sons are in college, I feel even more lost. A couple of weeks ago I completed a predictive personality test to help determine if I fit a particular employment position. Here is a summary of my strongest behaviors:

Relatively quick to connect with others. She will build and leverage relationships to get work done.

Fluent, enthusiastic, frequent communicator – a motivator who pays attention to others points of view.

Focused on team cohesion, dynamics, and interpersonal relations.

Careful with rules, she’s precise, by the book fast-paced, and literal in interpreting rules, schedules, and results.

Detail-oriented and thorough, she works to ensure things don’t fall through the cracks and follows up to ensure they’re done properly and on time.

Driven to achieve operational efficiencies: thinks about what needs to be done and how it can be done as fast as possible while maintaining a high-quality outcome. Impatient with routines.

And there it is, the truth in the very last sentence. Impatient with routines.

Without a job I can be passionate about, and without my sons to daily focus my energies, I am looking at routines. God, I know when I defeat myself, I defeat Your plan for me. Yet, I am not sure what Your plan is for me.

Let God Be Your Guide

God, what are you enabling me to do?

I know God you don’t play favorites. I do believe You have given each of us our own spiritual gifts and talents. I know that Philippians 4:10 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And it isn’t that I can do all things through You because of my spiritual gifts and talents, but because of my relationship with You. Assume all my inadequacies Lord, and help me to understand Your Will and not my own for my life.

“But please listen to my prayer and my request. I am your servant, and you are the Lord my God. Hear this prayer that I am praying to you today.” 2 Chronicles 6:19

“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:4

 

(The Blogging Owl boldly posts a page from her prayer journal. If you would like to start your own prayer journal, please visit www.theprayerjournals.com and follow The Prayer Journals on Twitter: @PrayerPrompts.)

What Kind of Tree are You?

What Kind of Tree are You

When you reached a popular milestone in life didn’t someone inevitably ask, “Well, how does it feel to be (fill in the blank)?”  Perhaps it was your 18th, 30th, or 40th birthday – did you feel differently on your birthday than the day before?  How about your confirmation day when you affirmed your faith in front of the church – was it your expectation that you would somehow enter into this greater sense of spiritual enlightenment?  Did you think you should feel different somehow?

I know I didn’t feel any differently, but I did pause to think, “What now?”

If you are older than 40 years of age, you may remember the infamous Barbara Walter’s interview of Katherine Hepburn in 1981.  Katherine Hepburn had described herself as a very strong tree in her old age to which Barbara Walter’s asked, “What kind of tree are you?”  Ms. Hepburn’s answer was an oak tree rather than an elm tree so as to avoid contracting Dutch elm disease.

What kind of tree am I?  An oak, an elm, or maybe a maple?

There are probably over 100,000 types of trees around the world.  Trees are common, average, nothing particularly unique (unless you are an arborist).  Yet, there is one tree that stands out. The common, ordinary tree which hung our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Who his own self-bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes (you) were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 (KJV)

For some people, a tree may be a run-of-the-mill kind of thing; but for those who belong to Christ, it is the tree of life.  We may be feeling average when others ask if we feel any differently when we come to those milestones in life, but we need to take heart.  Average trees or as in 2 Corinthians 4:7 describes us as, “jars of clay,” however, we are ordinarily described, God uses the common, mundane things of the world to show His immense power and goodness.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

 As a Christian, I know I have been given my mind, gifts, talents, and skills from God to exhibit His power, wisdom, creativity, and beauty. It is when I use those things that originated from God to shine the light of Jesus Christ that I feel different.  God used a common tree to give us His grace – the tree of life. 

What kind of tree are you?

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)