Thursday, October 29, 2015

What is YOUR Quest?


Pondering my Purpose
What is more, I consider everything a loss 
because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.   
I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, 
but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  
 Phil 3: 8-9 NIV

I'm not sure if you've ever watched the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but one of my favorite parts is when they are trying to cross a bridge and there is a man drilling them with questions before they are allowed to pass.  The man standing guard always asks the person who is attempting to cross the bridge, "What is your quest?"

As parents of children with special needs, we may find ourselves engaged in a daily battle to determine our QUEST, or our PURPOSE in life.  I know that I do!  


I look at ALL there is to do around me…all of the “causes” for which I need to fight; the IEP meetings to attend, the support groups to connect with, the doctors appointments to schedule AND keep, the family and friends who need me and I them! 

  • My daughter’s a cancer survivor, so for 6 years we had a Relay for Life team! 
  • She was granted a wish from Make-a-Wish, so for years we participated in fundraisers for Make-a-Wish Wisconsin.  
  • She has a rare disease, so both my husband and I serve on the leadership team for the nonprofit organization for her syndrome (www.wagr.org).
  • Our daughter is also legally blind, so I have participated in events with the National Federation of the Blind. 
  • I’m trying to encourage schools here in our district to rally to End the R-word, and have more inclusive school environments.   
  • Last year I was the person who got the Nevada governor sign the proclamation recognizing Rare Disease Day in Nevada, and I hosted the State Event at the Capitol. 

My Cat is Certain of My Purpose in Life

Yet, I try to find my PURPOSE.  I try to figure out what exactly God wants me to do, because there is SO much to do that I can’t imagine he intends for me to do it ALL!!!


This past weekend at our church, the sermon was “What is God’s Purpose for my Life?”  I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the message because not only did Pastor Justin talk about ways to help identify if the “purposes” that God might intend for you to follow…but he also narrowed our focus down to the ONE overall purpose for our existence. 




We EXIST to have a relationship with God.  


He created us to DELIGHT in us. 


So, when Paul wrote to the Philippians that everything else was GARBAGE in comparison to his relationship with God, he meant it!  That whole list of things I just wrote above as my "quests" or "accomplishments" mean nothing in regards to my salvation; because God’s OVERALL purpose for our lives is to accept Christ’s redeeming blood-which makes us righteous-so that we may live with God forever.  


Now, that might be the ULTIMATE goal, (and let me tell you, that takes a LOT of pressure off my daily life, because when I feel overwhelmed by my obligations I can step back and say, “Do you know God, are you delighting in Him?  How is your relationship with Jesus?  This is what really matters.”);  BUT, we do still want to be disciples while we are here on earth, and that means being active in our communities and REFLECTING Jesus to others. 
 

So, how do we KNOW if God intends for us to:  take that new job, volunteer for that committee, move across country, buy that house?


Pastor Justin gave us four simple questions to ask:


  • Is there anything about this that would be contrary to God’s character?
    For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galations 5:17 NIV  God will never ask you to do something that is in conflict with His commandments...He will never ask you to sin.
    How Do We Know Our Purposes Here on Earth?

  • Do I have an internal desire for this?
    Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 NIV  We will have a desire, sent by the Holy Spirit to DO this work that God has purposed for us.
  • Is there external confirmation for this? 
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.  Proverbs 15:22 NIV That doesn't mean just surrounding yourself with "yes-men," that means asking people who KNOW you and KNOW God.  
  • Is there opportunity for this to happen?  Well...that's pretty much what it means.
For example...

I'd been bothered by the amount of times that I hear people use the R-word since we moved to the Reno area.  We just didn't hear it in our small town in Wisconsin.  Our schools were against it, and celebrated End the R-Word Day every year.  People wore t-shirts advocating to end the word, and they signed pledges not to say it.  Hearing it around here just grated on me.  So, I sent an e-mail asking the school district to participate in End the R-Word day next year.  I said  that I would be happy to help.  I thought it would benefit the schools on so many levels, most of which by creating a culture of respect.

As a result of my e-mail, I was asked to join a committee of people who are working to re-write the district policy for students with disabilities. Well, hot-diggity!  Sign me up!!!

  • Is it contrary to God?  No!  God wants us to love ALL people...respect them, cherish them, and celebrate them.
  • Is there a desire within me?  Aaaahhh...YEAH!  Clearly!
  • Do others think it is wise for me to do this?  That's a resounding "yes."  
  • Is there an opportunity?  If I were still working in a an office full-time...it might be more challenging.  But, my husband is supportive of me going to these meetings, and he will take our daughter to school on the mornings when I have to meet with the committee.  I'm a substitute teacher, so I don't have to take days off, I just don't take a job that day.  YES!  There is opportunity!
I think this is a lovely template for making big decisions.  I look at our decision to move to Nevada and realize how it fits so perfectly into this template in hindsight.  This template will help me when I'm choosing when to volunteer for something...when to invest in something...when to advocate for something...

So...
What is YOUR quest?  

But, ultimately...don't let all your QUESTS stress you out!  Your ultimate QUEST is to live in HEAVEN with God, the father~and Christ, the son.  So, in the end...it's all garbage compared to where we are heading.  Our temporary quests here on earth are just to shape us and make us more like Jesus. 

Pray:  Heavenly Father, thank you that this world is temporary, and my final destination is in Heaven with you.  But, while I'm here, help me to seek your will and to see your desires for me.  In your Holy name I pray.  Amen.

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