The Bible’s Christmas story introduces us to all sorts of people-with-purpose. Their purposes seem well-formed – by birth, natural gifting, education and Divine Providence. The Magi, wise guys who discerned the coming king through astronomy from way over in Iraq and brought well-thought-out gifts, are a good example. The shepherds, whose lot in life was set by birth and for whom the revelation of God was pure grace and wonder, are another. We meet Zechariah, the priest, John the Baptist’s father; Joseph, in David’s line, a righteous man who was open to God’s voice; and Mary, a young woman uniquely gifted to take on the challenge of out-of-step motherhood.
We don’t get purposeful just by clicking our fingers. There is a whole story behind each life that gets us to where we are. Some of that story of formation has to do with being ill-fitted as well as well-fitted.
Since we moved to Coolbellup, Cheryl has had two hydrangea plants in pots. She put them on the south side of the house in the shade because hydrangeas don’t like too much sun. But these hydrangeas just looked sick. Now you hear about people who talk to plants. Well, Cheryl threatens them. [Jesus did that sometimes, specifically to a fig tree with no fruit.] These plants were on their last warning.
My mum had hydrangeas. They lived in the dark on the south side of the house and every year she’d cut them down to the ground. They thrived on neglect and a brutal prune annually.
In disgust, Cheryl moved her two hydrangeas out the back, where they got the morning sun and afternoon shade and she had to walk past them when she watered her seedlings each morning. They had a new location – a bit more sun, a chance of getting a bit of fertiliser and greater access to water. . . a new place and BANG! Cheryl says they have found their happy place.
Instead of criticising yourself for failing in things, or excusing yourself for being unsuited for a particular purpose [especially a spiritual purpose], perhaps there is something to be said for seeking your ‘happy place’ – not your lazy place, or your self-excusing place, rather the place where you thrive, where you are doing the most good and where you are most spiritually alive.
Don’t know how to do that? A tip: Don’t ask just anyone’s advice. Do ask your Christian friends where they see you being most fully alive.
Blessings [Just 3 more sleeps!]