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“Looking Back, Living Forward” by Kathleen Wilson

“Looking Back, Living Forward” by Kathleen Wilson

Christmas – “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” as the holiday song truthfully proclaims. In December we celebrate one of God’s greatest miracles – the union of heaven and earth in the God-Man Jesus. Fallen humanity can now be reconciled with their Creator. “Good Tidings of Great Joy” indeed! The huge gap between a Holy God and sinful humanity is now bridged by the birth of the Christ Child. Emmanuel – God with Us. 

This amazing event is totally incomprehensible to my feeble brain and limited understanding – but that doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate the joy and contemplate the wonder. 

Looking back over 2019 I see that God has been teaching me about purpose and calling. He has renewed my mind and provided insight into His Truth through facilitating book studies of “The Calling” by Os Guinness and “The Search for Significance” by Robert S. McGee.

I realized that I have spent most of my adult life thinking I had to do something “BIG AND IMPORTANT” in order to feel successful by the world’s standards. I am guilty of carrying this same obsession into my walk with the Lord. I felt that I had to do something “BIG AND IMPORTANT” in order to gain His approval and earn His reward. I found too much of my identity was still determined by who I was and what I had accomplished. Even after retiring from full-time employment, I was still driven to “succeed” and too heavily invested in a worldly view of my value, importance, and significance. According to Robert S. McGee, I was still operating in the Performance Trap and Approval Addiction. I had been allowing what I do and what other people think of me to determine my value, importance, and significance. God showed me these are lies of the Enemy. These lies are the foundation of a worldview that encourages us to constantly compare ourselves with others and sets up a hierarchy of value and importance based on external and material criteria. 

God has been slowly, but inexorably, changing the course of my life and the direction of my thinking.  For one thing, He reminded me that my value is not determined by WHO I am, but WHOSE I am. I am significant simply because I exist and have been created in His Image. Everything about me is important to Him and my well-being is His highest priority. This He has clearly shown by sending Jesus to live among us as our Brother, die for us as our Savior, and now intercede for us as our High Priest. 

I’ve finally realized that it is not WHAT I do that determines my importance, but rather WHY I do it and WHO I do it for. 1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds me, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God.” Also, Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” God has shown me the holiness of the ordinary and every day. Whether I am reading a book, preparing a meal, teaching a class, driving my granddaughter home from school, watering my plants, or reaching out to a friend, if I do these tasks in obedience to God’s call, for His glory, and to expand His heavenly Kingdom on earth – it is work that is important, significant, and of great value to His Plan and Purpose. 

So, I have a choice – will I continue to seek human approval that is fickle and support that wavers?  Will I continue to care about man’s opinion that blows like the wind first this way and then that?  Will I continue to compare myself to others, ignoring the fact that God made me unique and one-of-a-kind and no one else has a calling or purpose in His Kingdom exactly like mine? 

Or will I remember that God’s judgment is infallible? That His attention and affection never waver? That my righteousness is in Christ? That God’s love is eternal and unconditional? That His support is reliable and consistent? That He is trustworthy and faithful, even in the face of my doubt, sin, and selfishness? That His power never fails, His purpose stands, and His will prevails?

I know what I would choose? How about you?