A few weeks ago I watched an episode of Gray’s Anatomy. Meredith is sitting there talking with the therapist who has to clear her to return to work after she was brutally beaten by a patient. The therapist is preparing to sign the papers she needs when she says she doesn’t feel better any more. He responds by telling her more or less that as she put it “Any day you don’t die is a good day” and to get on with having a good day. She argues that she doesn’t know what to do. And the therapist responds “Well, the truth is a little scary. The truth is you can do anything you want.”
Oh, that just hit me in the gut! As I sat there reviewing the then recent events of my life, I really comprehended that feeling of “What now? Who will I be and where will I go?” I was at the beginning of the process of job seeking and not weeks deep in reminding myself that if the door doesn’t open, then it’s not my door. Then all of a sudden every door was available for me to reach out and give the knob a little jiggle. Maybe this one or that?
I opened myself up to the options and got real with myself about some things God had been speaking to my heart about. I’d had asked friends to pray for direction for me. I got up and had this discussion with God where I said “Look, I don’t know exactly where You’re taking me, but if you’ve put boots outside my door I’m going to step into them and then I will ask You to tell me where to put each step. Give me tasks that lead me in the direction that You want me to go.”
I could feel the warm leather slide over my feet and felt the heaviness of the footwear. I didn’t sprint with runner’s well laced lightweight sneakers or flit on pointe like a ballerina. I lifted one foot up and tried it out. I was asked to sit at the front desk at our church and greet people as they came in one morning. Task. Step. I was asked to help stuff Easter eggs and tidy a storage closet. Task. Step. I was asked to meet kids at the bus for a few minutes. Task. Step. I was asked to wrote a letter to someone. Task. Step. I was asked to paint a set. Task. Step. Stay home and write on a concept. Task. Step.
I am open to say “Yes” right now. To not limit myself and to open my eyes to those around me. If I can help someone then I will. This has been a really enjoyable time. When I approach these little tasks I find myself praying the same prayer, “Lord, give me the conversations You want me to have. Put the people in front of me today who You want me to be with.” I’m listening and I’m available.
While I’ve been listening, God has been talking to my heart about invisibility. I have for many years seen children who are trying their best to hide or who have invisibility thrust upon them by adults who are incapable of caring for themselves let alone a child, but now I am beginning to see invisible people everywhere. And the more I see these people who are putting on this front, to try and make their struggles, their insecurities, the parts of themselves that they think make them less than, to make those things invisible by dressing up the outward appearance, the clearer the vision becomes. Each task and each step has placed me firmly in the path of seeing the invisible.
To you, that might not sound like much, but to me, it’s heavy. For years I felt invisible, hiding what I thought made me unworthy until I was seen, visible to God, someone who mattered, someone who not just the skills and talents I could boast of were glorious, but even the messy unraveling bits as well. In the Old Testament, there’s a lady named Hagar and she is running in desperation until she comes face to face with the angel of the Lord. He speaks to her and tells her all about who she is and her deepest struggle and she is changed. She says “I have seen the one who sees me,” and named the place Beer Lahai Roi “the well of the Living one who sees me.” She is able to go back and face abject misery because she was no longer invisible. She mattered and she knew there was a plan in her misery bigger than her own.
A few days ago I talked with a friend and I heard myself looking forward to the future with so much excitement about which way my boots have been taking me. I still feel the weight, still feel the steadiness of each step without intense need to be at my destination already, but I heard myself say something to the effect of “Well, hopefully God wants to do more with me than have me be just someone who washes dishes and I don’t know, putters around.” There it was, “just someone.” Even when I’m doing well with patience and deliberation in my steps, there is a small part of me that wants the cake without the baking.
I can honestly say, that if what Jesus wants for me is to spend the rest of my life doing what I have been doing in the past few months, serving where I am tasked and maybe those tasks will never be more showy than painting or sitting and visiting with someone, then I am ok with that. He’s going to have to drop a winning lotto ticket in the mail at some point if that’s the goal, but if I am always stage crew and never the diva, then I’m happy with that.
Everywhere we go we hear messages about being all that we can dream and anything is possible. Alongside the message that Meredith Grey can do anything she wants, is the presumption that that is truth and that it is what will be best. She will chase her dreams and her children won’t suffer for it and her friends will all honor her and her business pursuits will be successful. It lines up next to the reality that sometimes we were not made to be president or the star of the show. It fosters an attitude of discontent. Is all the lady who checks me out at Kroger’s dreams to be a store clerk? What is wrong with her? What about those with limited abilities, someone who may dream night and day of walking, but for whom that will never be? We’re not all history makers and game changers. Some of us are floor sweepers and coffee makers.
I listened to a talk this week where Louie Giglio spoke on passion and purpose. He spoke at length about how we are designed to do and be who we are and when we line up our passion with our purpose then we will be contented. He pulled from Collosians 3 “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it unto the Lord, not for man.”He challenged that to be our purpose. He went on to assert that if our purpose is to please God, then whatever we are passionate about will bear fruit and that it is his goal that his purpose should always outplay his passion.
That really resonated with me. If my purpose is to glorify God, and I work to that end, then every point where I meet with my passion is all blessing. Obedience to that call frees my path so that when I come across that which I am passionate about I will see that those moments were designed to be all joy and thanksgiving. This is what gives freedom to opportunity in my life, not the concept that I can be or do whatever I want, but rather, I can do what is in front of me to do to the glory of God and trust that my dedication to that purpose will allow the joy of passion to increase.
Today I am “just” doing small things. However, I am beginning to change the word “just” to “simply.” I am ridding my language of limiting the importance of my tasks so that I can see them to have the value that God sees them to have. If I am just going to be anything, I’m just going to be doing what God has for me to do, and there is nothing small about that.
I would ask that you look around you today and see someone who is making themselves invisible because of “just” who struggles against the concept that they should be anything they want, but instead they’re doing something that feels menial. Look in the eyes of the person handing you your food. Fill the silence with pleasant conversation. Give a compliment that sends the message “I see you.”
Simply do it.