The struggle of my thirties has been trying to figure out the answer to the pesky existential questions of life. Who am I? What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to be? I had always identified myself as a future wife and mother. I saw myself staying at home, raising children, cooking, and cleaning. I didn’t have ambition for a career. When the things that I aspired to failed to materialize, I didn’t know what to do with myself. How was I going to move forward in life when I didn’t know what I was supposed to be?
Surely the philosophers would have some answers. You are what you are. Easy, right? But the Bible teaches me something more profound; I am who God created me to be. What I see when I look at myself, is that He created me to be my parents’ daughter, and to have a unique combination of traits. I have my father’s talkativeness and slightly more outgoing personality. I also inherited from him some stubbornness when it comes to solving problems and getting things done. My mother passed on to me a love of learning and collecting knowledge. She’s the reason I’m the answer person at work. Then, God took me and led me purposefully down a road that was different from my sisters. I learned some lessons the hard way and grew in ways I hadn’t thought I would need to. Somehow, I ended up here at this desk writing this blog, praying that my life can somehow glorify the One who created me.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Around six years ago, who God had made me to be began to come into focus. The crisis of identity turned into a discovery phase. After I began attending my current church, one of the first things I did was sign up for a women’s Bible study. There I was introduced to Beth Moore and her Bible studies. I don’t know her, and have never met her, but she has had such an impact on me. Over the course of several of her studies, she led me deep into God’s word and challenged me to apply it to my life. That was when the Spirit really began speaking to my heart. Leah, why aren’t you writing that book we’ve given so much thought to? Leah, why aren’t you using your time better? What really caught me off guard was that I began to feel a calling to teach God’s Word. I started to sense that teaching was why He had made me the way I am. I also felt like He was showing me that, throughout my whole life, He had been preparing me to teach His Word.
It took me a few years, but I finally wrote the book He had called me to write. In that task, He helped me and prospered my work, but first I had to discipline myself to get to work. It meant less TV time, especially on the weekends. It also required I cut back on my weekend napping and fiction reading. When I started doing some teaching, in addition to writing, preparing meant even fewer of the “pleasures” of leisure time. Now I have embarked on this weekly blog; more leisure time nixed.
Yet, in the past couple of weeks, I discovered something amazing. While I have been busy disciplining myself to do the things I feel God has called me to, peace, contentment, and joy have snuck up on me. And then it hit me: I have figured out who God made me to be, and I have found joy in obedience to Him and His calling for me.
As I look toward my birthday next month, it seems doubtful I will ever be a mother. As for being a wife, only God knows what the future holds, there, too. But, would it be so bad to be like the Apostle Paul? He wrote to the Corinthians, “I wish that all were as I myself am. . .To the unmarried and widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.” (I Cor. 7:7a, 8) It grieves me, yet I find that I am not as grieved as I used to be. To those whom I walk ahead of on this path, I can say that there is hope. There can be an easing of the pain and loneliness. Paul walked this road centuries before us. He would be the first to remind us to “rejoice always.”
I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
I Corinthians 7:7
There are worse footsteps to follow in than the Apostle Paul’s. No, I don’t imagine that I can have the kind of influence on the world that he did. But he was single and a writer. He lived boldly for Christ, so his example seems like a good one to follow. How I long for boldness and stronger faith! I will seek to draw nearer to God, and continue to allow Him to lead me.