I was exhausted and uninspired, and found myself desiring something new and different. "Is this what I'm called to do?" I was asking God. Again. "Is this it? The plan You have for me?" Ever find yourself there? Making sure you're crossing every t and dotting every i just to wonder what's missing?
Earlier on the path, I would have assumed that since I was asking such a question that maybe God didn't care in the first place. Maybe I was alone to figure out this life and job and relationship stuff all by myself. Because there was no loud thunder, no answer dropping in my lap from the sky, I would have felt lost and aimless.
Thankfully, instead, now, even when I feel too tired to think straight, I look for the many ways God shows up. What is He saying? What does this all mean? He gives the dots but we have to connect them. It's art we are creating with our life and God is the master instructor.
God makes known that the Guiding Presence is available and that His plan is perfect even before we get to the "Ahh, that's what that was for" part. How? By the "small" things that alone we may see as coincidence or blow off all together. But they are dots He's giving for which we may use to grow and create our life in harmony with the Holy Spirit.
Example. Last week, in the midst of my exhaustion,
1) On Day 2 of the 3-day marathon, God showed up through my friend, Jennifer, who, days before suggested we get together to catch up after months in our own worlds. We met at a local artsy spot where she shopped and we had wine. She shared her faith journey and how God has led her to a higher place -- both physically (she left her job here and moved to the mountains) and spiritually (where she now works at a Christian camp/retreat facility--one she spent time at as a child). Her testimony gave me chills. As she spoke I could see how God was using her to shine light. Dot.
2) Then God showed up when I read an article by Hannah Morgan where she wrote, "If you haven't already admitted you're an introvert, you may need to recognize the characteristics of one. They prefer to think before they act. They regain energy by being alone. They need time to formulate ideas in their heads before talking about them. They prefer depth over breadth; this is true of relationships and information. An introvert prefers fewer deep and meaningful relationships over hundreds of contacts. Introverts also tend to dive deep into topics they're interested in. Creativity, strategizing and remaining calm under pressure are several other strengths not to overlook..." Wow. I knew I was an introvert but somewhere in my consciousness I saw it as a negative and ignored that part of me. Talk about living inauthentically! No wonder I’m spent after work where I feel forced to be an extrovert. Dot.
3) God also showed up through my friend, Cyndi, who's blog post, "It's Time to be Quiet," mirrored my experience and feeling. And because she wrote it before I got to Day 3 but I didn't read it until after my meltdown, I knew it was another dot -- not only for my journey but for those who too are called to walk this path.
(Let me add that dots aren't necessarily the same as support. There are many in my life who are supportive -- family and close friends -- and without them my life would look very different. But dots are those incidences that say to your spirit you should be paying attention. They may not be related to people. It may be something you read or see or remember.)
Plotting the dots
When Jennifer and I talked last week, she shared with me her vision of life being like a radar and how you have to plot out the dots on the paper. Write down the significant moments and signs, even if you don't know what it all means. Just put them down. Eventually, you can see clearly how the dots connect.
It's really about being in tune (which requires that you slow down) knowing that what happens in life isn't by accident. God is constantly trying to get our attention. He wants us to move higher in the Spirit, to stop playing life and playing it small. There are messages everyday, and miracles too, if only we take the time to see them.
It also takes looking at life from a different perspective. Not from the same view of the problems or challenges, but from somewhere higher. Seeing life from a higher perspective helps us to realize that life isn't all about our drama and small, often fear-based, perspective. Doors are opening all around us. Paths are being illuminated. Answers are available. We just have to access the wisdom, be still and not anxious, be open and release our ideas about what it should look like.
Meaning shows up in our life if we take the moment to open our eyes -- spiritual and natural -- to it. Clarity comes when we observe, in truth, who we are in our moments and what those moments have come to show us.
Connecting the dots
When I looked at these dots that had come within days of themselves and my question, I could see that God was calling me to a deeper place in my authenticity.
My demanding job was tiring me because I was operating outside of who God created me to be. Since I was doing so well in the eyes of the outside world, I was ignoring the small voice inside telling me to slow down. (Oh, to learn how to be in this world and not of it.) But if I didn't ask, "Is this is, God?", and if I didn't look at the dots that showed up, I would have missed the opportunity to finally fully embrace that I'm an introvert and to begin operating in the fullness of that strength.
When you think about it, it’s not the job we do but how we do it that's meaningful to our soul. It's how we move through the world, how we touch others that provide meaning and purpose. It's being able to answer, "How is who I am helping to heal the world?" to speaks to creating a meaningful life.
We may find ourselves from time to time questioning our life and its meaning. I think that’s fine. I think it shows our desire to be open to God, to want to hear and be provided direction, to be a part of something greater than ourselves. I also think though, even without our asking, that God is providing signs everyday. Our job is see them and learn how to read them. Our job is to connect the dots and see what they create. And yes, even exhausting, frustrating moments are dots worth plotting and examining!