I've been thinking a lot about purpose lately. College does that to you...or maybe growing up does that to you. I don't know, but I want to know my purpose. I don't mean whether I'm going to be a doctor or a philosopher or a politician or nurse (hopefully I will do none of those things)...I mean my purpose-where my gaze is fixed. My end goal. My aim. I want to know my all-consuming all-encompassing drive.
You see, I think, the moment I surrendered to Jesus, confessed my sin, and admitted that He was God it was a wonderful moment, but it wasn't the end. There will be times when you will have to decide again. No, your eternal destiny does not ride on these moments, but your contentment on earth does. Life is a series of decisions.
If you're like me then, when you're in your twenties, there will be time when the world is REALLY loud. There will be a time when you realize that non-Christians are not necessarily mean and you have a gay guy friend who you love dearly. Maybe you'll like a man who doesn't love Jesus. There will be a time when you're mad at God because hell doesn't make sense and doesn't seem fair. You'll be mad at God because you feel lost-like a little girl who loses her Dad's hand in a crowd and then grabs the wrong man's hand, only to look up to see a stranger's face peering down at her. You'll feel like he has left you alone to figure it out. Nothing seems to be making sense and He doesn't seem to care. You'll feel abandoned.
SO. Here is my note to you during those times....
It is easy to become numb-- numb to curse words, numb to drunkenness, numb to being degraded as a woman, numb to the homeless, numb to the suffering around you, numb to the Holy Spirit speaking to you each day. At the same time, it is easy to become disillusioned-- disillusioned with other people's goals for you, disillusioned with money and school, disillusioned with other people's priorities that lead you to question your own.
This is hard, but necessary. You see, I don't grow up in the world my parents grew up in. Yes, they still had to chose to follow Jesus, but it was more the status quo. The insults of "bigot" and "intolerant" and "ignorant" were far less common. You, I fear, will grow up in an even more hostile environment. I find myself being so weak...afraid to stand up for the relationship that I claim is most important.
As I've questioned God and my priorities I've realized that I have to choose. More and more each day I have to choose. I have to choose him- to be sold out, surrendered, ready, actively laying down my life, all in. Living and walking with Christ is not one moment with tears kneeling beside your bed. It is a lifestyle that cannot be half-assed (sorry for the language...) . The world doesn't allow you to truly follow Christ and fit in at the same time. This I have realized to a greater degree than ever before here in Oxford. I don't fit in. I just don't fit quite right....and that's okay. I look around and I see people searching for worth in knowledge, in love, in achievement, and in their own abilities. What freedom there is in admitting that I am weak! For freedom Christ has set us free! He is our righteousness, worth, and hope, and He never changes. Do I still question? Yes. But I know that a life spent following Christ is the most fulfilling. I know that He hasn't left me even when my emotions tell me otherwise. He isn't about conventional religion. He is about glorifying Himself through displaying his power in our weakness and bringing us ultimate contentment in the process of surrender.
All this to say- the more I surrender, the more freedom I experience. I'm not sure about anything at this point (I'm only 21 for goodness sakes) but I THINK that your
purpose is found in the surrender.
P.S. Oxford is nice. It rains a lot. I sprained my ankle badly. The accents are wonderful. I study a lot (as expected) although probably not as much as I should. The architecture is breathtaking.