Hi friends, it’s been a while. March was a long month, filled with trips home and big decisions, lazy days and crazy weeks, naps and tests. I started two blog posts that were never finished, I struggled to hear God in the selfishness and business of the everyday, and I filled my time with fleeting pleasures (Downton Abbey, I will always love you). March was an odd transition into my last sliver of time at Baylor.
I have five weeks left in Waco, Texas. Five weeks to find out why the Lord led me here, who the Lord led me here for. As easy as it is to sink into a pity party of student loans and homesickness, there is a purpose for my time here.
Purpose. A drive, a motivation, a meaning. The heartbeat of the human race, quite arguably, is to find one’s purpose. What mark can you leave on the world? How are you going to establish a legacy? Why do you matter in this mass of cosmos and infinite space? The easy answer to these questions, the Sunday school answer, is Jesus. As a good, church-attending Christian, you are here to WWJD your way through life. That answer feels oddly dissatisfying though, as so few believers seem to actually do what Jesus would do.
The only reason I feel slightly worthy of shedding light on our calamity is because I fall short of this too. Every day, nearly every moment, in fact. My thoughts are filled with the future, with pretty dreams and a well-organized five-year plan. I snap back to the present just long enough to complete an assignment or engage in conversation with a friend over lunch. As I walk to class, as I drift in and out of the present, I am focused entirely on myself. That, readers, is a perfect strategy for losing one’s purpose. See, I am not a big deal. I am not enough to orchestrate a life around. I am a shell of flesh, with a beating heart and fluttering soul, desperate for deeper meaning that can only be found in Jesus Christ. Trying to survive each day is not enough, orchestrating a picture-perfect life is not enough, living for my own ambitions and pleasure is not enough.
For weeks now, I’ve been puzzled by my relationship with God. The Lord felt further away from me than my family and home (200 miles), yet I was reading my Bible and praying every morning as usual. I was even allotting 45 minutes of my day for the Lord, rather than 20 minutes like last semester. Shouldn’t that be enough to see the Holy Spirit in my day? I never considered that I wasn’t leaving room for the Holy Spirit, not until a sermon from Church Under the Bridge this past Sunday. Church Under the Bridge is a unique collaboration of homeless and privileged, believer and skeptic, that takes place every Sunday morning at 11 am, right underneath the I-35 bridge across from Baylor’s campus. My experience there was easily the best Sunday experience I’ve had in Waco. As Jimmy preached on Pentecost Sunday and the early church, I was convicted of my own selfishness and foolishness. I realized that the emptiness I felt at Baylor wasn’t the university’s fault, or the distance from home’s fault, or the honors program’s fault. My emptiness was a result of me filling myself with my own desires and crowding out the Holy Spirit. I was so focused on achieving a perfect future that I neglected the opportunity for the perfect present. I’ve made plans, back-up plans, strategies, and Pinterest boards for my future, without stopping to notice that there are people around me who need Christ’s love.
Purpose comes from the Lord and His plans, not from our own achievements or appearances.
Acts 1:8 promises that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere.” The Holy Spirit is our power, and witnessing is our purpose. You may not be called to missions or pastoring, but you are called to love others and represent Christ. You are called to ask the girl down the hall or down the street to lunch, for no reason. You are called to put the phone down and engage your cashier in earnest conversation. You are called to buy groceries for the person behind you at HEB. You are called to serve in your church on a regular basis. You are called to invest your life into your relationships, to make sure that people know they are loved. You are called. We, as the body of Christ, share a united purpose to live for a cause greater than ourselves. Our purpose is to witness through inconvenient kindness and counter-cultural selflessness. If you’re feeling purposeless, search your heart for selfishness and bring it to the Lord.
The Holy Spirit needs room to move, y’all.
Photo Courtesy of Brandon Morgan via Unsplash