Shhh. I’m reading a book that isn’t even on shelves yet. Cool, right? At a conference I attended, we scored an entire bag of books from great authors and publishers! I am almost positive that God said to this girl, Jennie Allen, “Marianna needs a handbook for what I am asking her to do. Would you write it?” I just have to share part of it with you. (Cool coffee mug was in the bag too!) 

The whole book is about seeing how God has made you and shaped you for a purpose. She does an amazing job of helping you see the “threads of your life and how to intentionally weave them together for God’s glory and purposes.” She recommends journaling through some amazing questions to see God’s hand in your life.
One question was surprisingly revealing as I thought through my answer. Here’s the question. “Identify and highlight from each stage of life when you felt pleasure in what you were doing.” She had referenced that famous quote from the film Chariots of Fire when Eric Liddell said, “I believe God made me for a purpose but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure.”

As I thought through my life, the times when I felt most fulfilled in what I was doing included the following: writing poetry, public speaking, creative writing, receiving an award in high school for writing, giving speeches in college English class, teaching with my hot pastor, art class, creating this blog.

Before you judge, of course being a wife and mom is fulfilling. Best thing ever, but there is more. God has other purposes for my life, not better, just other. I am sharing this with you because I believe God has specific purposes for you, ones he has specifically shaped you to fulfill.

He wants to use all you. How he has shaped you. The choices you have made. Your dreams. Your mistakes. Your passions. Your joy and your pain. All of it together can fulfill a purpose that all of me can not. 

I am inviting you to ask yourself, “When have I felt God’s pleasure?” As I looked through my list, I got all excited because it was confirmation. I love to write and speak. I do. It has been in me since I was a little girl. I have boxes of journals, pages of poetry, and memories of speaking since a high school students. 

I love to shop for shoes too, but when I write and speak, I feel God’s pleasure. Pure joy. For some of you, that may sound completely boring or terrifying. I guarantee that some of your purposes would get the same reaction from me as well. It’s a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. Each of us are uniquely shaped, wired, and bent. And listen girls, there is no comparing here. Apples and oranges. No gift or purpose is more glamorous than the other. 

God can use your gifts whether it is hospitality, fighting injustice, teaching, defending the defenseless, encouraging the broken, changing diapers of little ones that may one day change the world, or praying for your husband. He may have planted a dream inside of you that you have ignored, pushed to the side.

Go ahead, ask yourself. “When do I feel God’s pleasure?” Feel his love as you step out and fulfill his purpose for you. It may seem a little scary, and you will doubt yourself. You may hear lies inside like, “that is selfish.” Or, “you don’t have time to pursue this.” The voice of the enemy tells us, “God can’t use someone like you.” 

Push through the lies to the voice of your Savior, that whisper deep inside, calling you to do what he has created you to do. 

Ephesians 4:7

The Message (MSG)
7-13 But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is,

He climbed the high mountain,
He captured the enemy and seized the booty,
He handed it all out in gifts to the people.
Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.