Wisdom from friends

Em's latest creation, this one for Maddie's birthday party on Friday night. She wrapped the doll's body in plastic wrap and then molded rice crispies/marshmallows on in the shape of a skirt. Then she "dirty iced" (new term for me!), made marshmallow fondant (she learns all of this from youtube videos, NOT from me), colored the fondant, wrapped it around and made a bow in the front, and last made cute little flowers out of regular icing using the icing tip kit my mom gave her last year for HER birthday. Tonight she'll be busy with Jake's cake--which, of course, is Star Wars!

A while back I asked for responses to these questions: What if the dreams/passions you have—that you think are given to you by God—aren’t working out? Do you continue to pursue them? Do you set them aside?

Two friends gave some very wise answers. I asked their permission (and they both said “yes”) to include their thoughts in a post.
Anne wrote: I think sometimes our passions match God’s desires. I think that we are given talents and abilities and that those gifts match what God has planned for us. My talents and abilities led me into theatre and into teaching. It has been my mission field for 20+ years now. I love every minute of it.
But I think we can also have passions and desires that God says no to because they get in the way of what He needs us to do. I have never married and have no kids and that is certainly not how I would have planned my life. Perhaps a husband and children would have kept me from working a particular job with a particular person who needed to be touched. Who is to say? I certainly don’t know the maze of God’s plan. It is a struggle learning to be content where we are placed. It is sometimes a struggle learning to be blessed by where we are if our passions lead us in a different direction.
Sometimes passions don’t get to be fulfilled for whatever reason. I don’t know that God so much cares if we feel “fulfilled”. I think He cares that we are obedient and that we find contentment in that.
I’ve been thinking about her last line—that phrase about contentment—for a couple of weeks. I’ve realized I don’t think too highly of “contentment.” I want happiness and a full sense of satisfaction. I want to feel like I’m “in the zone” of my own abilities and that others recognize me for what I’m doing. Contentment requires me to give up my sense of control, to accept the role of being a part of a whole—and never the focus of it, because the focal point is Christ.
Contentment is not necessarily about my feelings.
Contentment is hard.
But it is also very, very good.
And I think it may be a prerequisite (it and the thankfulness that is inherent in true contentment) for the joy we want to skip ahead to. Hmm. I want to think more about that.
My friend Holli wrote this: I feel as though our passions play a very integral part of God’s plan for our lives. When you are young you have this ideal for how your life will be (how wrong we often are!). You dream about it and that “passion” or drive is usually the central picture of those dreams. And when you are young you just don’t know yourself or God, really. So when you are young it makes sense to follow the path where your passion may lead. But then reality hits and you start to see just how much you need God. That is where you can decide to follow your passions or God. Sometimes they line up, but I do think that other times God uses these passions as a way to learn about yourself, Him, and your relationship with Him. If you continue to follow a passion that is not leading to a “success” (whatever that means to a person), then you have to start questioning what it is that God wants from you. He may want you to continue on that path. The way you can start to stray from His plan or path is to continue to tell yourself, “This has to be what He wants for me because… it’s my passion!!” How we can fool ourselves on this one. Sometimes your passions can be the jumping off point from God. If you keep yourself stuck in the ideal image of your passion then you may never reach the potential of the true gifts God wants you to use in this life. We have such a small view of God and his plans. We are not infinite like him, so for us it is easy to say that He has given me this passion within my heart and so I must continue but when we let go and let him lead us he is amazing. He can show us so many amazing things about ourselves that have nothing to do with our ideals and dreams. Also we can waste so much time chasing a dream or passion, which I am sure makes God very sad. But wonderful God uses that too! When you have moved beyond a path that is not in line with His intentions, the perspective you gain can bring it all together. I am thankful we are not bound to these self-dreams and passions that we create. God is so big! Sometimes God is very clear to people and he gives you a yearning that He wants you to follow. But he is very complex and so our passions must morph and gain in complexity so that we can serve Him in the most fulfilling way.
I love what she wrote about our passions having to “morph” (what a cool word!). I think of it as holding onto my dreams loosely. I can easily get a death-grip on my dreams. “It has to look like THIS!” But for one particular dream of mine, THIS hasn’t yet happened, and I have to continually pry my heart’s fingers loose from their grip. That doesn’t mean I don’t still pursue this dream, but I’m learning how to hold it loosely so I see other opportunities God brings my way, so my dream doesn’t become an idol.
Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate your comments, and I learn so much from them. What a great way to remember that we are all “pressing on” together.
Jen
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2 thoughts on “Wisdom from friends

    • No kidding–still thinking about it. And Holli, who wrote the second comment, is only 30 years old! At least Anne is right around our age!

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