“The dreams we have in our heart were not put there by us. They were seeded by God.”--Mike Kai, Hope Chapel West O’ahu For months I had been struggling to see my purpose, to make my dreams fit into a perfect little box. In my inbox sit several drafted emails to admired professionals that I never sent out, asking how they found their calling. I’d been thinking, and praying, and stumbling over the fact that I know I want to help people, and I feel like as a photographer is where I am called to do it, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around the big picture. How in the world can being a WEDDING photographer possibly give glory to God? It’s not like my images are enlightening the world to what’s around us--I get to be around gorgeous, happy Brides and eat wedding cake on Saturdays for crying out loud. I know that photography matters, and I am honored and ecstatic to provide fabulous experiences for clients, make them look and feel handsome and beautiful, and provide images of their memorable day that will last for-e-vah, and I sure do love it, but how was this giving glory to GOD? I had it stuck in my head that the way to use my talents MUST be directly related to the church--mission work, speaking, or through service and witnessing, and I couldn’t find my heart directly invested in one of those. But photography, and encouraging, and believing--now that’s what I feel most compelled to do. *Cue Journey record*.
Over Friday night fireworks, I lamented to Alyssa how I couldn’t see how being a Creative was a service to God, I enjoyed it so much in fact it almost seemed selfish and silly, so I hoped that God would soon show me what my purpose was. Soon after, I began to pray a with a term I heard Marshall’s mom request, for God to “spotlight” what I was here to do, and how photography fit in. (And the irony of the term spotlight isn’t lost on me). Several weeks later, it was through both Pastor Mike Kai at Hope Chapel West O’ahu and John Bevere’s series called “Above the Mundane” where I got my answers.
I scurried in late, notebook in hand, glasses on, and found my seat next to Alyssa. I usually head to Sunday service by myself, so it was nice to have a friend to save me a spot so I didn’t get stuck squinting in the back of the packed out sermon. Guest speaker John Bevere had just gotten into his word, and I was lost in thought. Was he from Colorado? Or Tennesse? His accent sounds southern...where is he from?!?! And with a few small words, he brought me back and made everything click. I frantically began scribing notes.
“How you live life now determines how you spend eternity...God gave us talents, use them....multiply your talents, have good, true motives.” And then he went into an real life example that almost brought me to tears, shining light on every doubt I was currently buried in. “Let me tell you a story”, he proclaimed, his strong voice echoing throughout the room. He described the account of a good friend who owned an automobile service station, but wanted to teach the bible. The mechanic was convinced that simply owning a service station wasn’t serving the Kingdom. “That’s the lie of the enemy” John commanded. The man told his Pastor his plan, and the Pastor advised him against it. The man was determined, and despite much resistance gave up his business in efforts to teach the bible. A year later, he returned to his Pastor and said “You were right, I shouldn’t have left my shop, that was not God’s intention for me. I see that now.” Shortly after, the mechanic was given an idea of a new diagnostic tool that would save vehicle owners time and money, and from then on he knew that to serve others as a mechanic and give to the church with his financial successes was what he was called to do. Not everyone is supposed to be a preacher, or a missionary, or a life changing Christian author. Hearing his story I knew I was meant to be at that sermon.
A week later, toes in the sand, I poured effortless thoughts. “You know, money has never really crossed my mind. It probably should, but it hasn’t. Is that silly of me? Marshall and I realized we both just want to help people. I want to help people find the seed that was sown in them by God”.
Boom, there it was. I had said it. In a conversation by a sunset with Marshall’s roommate Frady, my purpose washed out of me without an extra thought. I plan to motivate others through encouragement and faith to live their dreams to their fullest potential. We are all given talents by God, things we are good at, we just have to find our way to use them. Like Joseph we all have dreams, they are in fact our purpose, and we are meant to share them, talk about them, and help each other's flourish.
Amen amen and all the people said? AMEN!
I have also always dream of being an expert yogi. With hair like that, I doubt that will happen anytime soon. Guess I should focus on one dream at a time, Ashley.
Sidenote: Have you seen "For a Good Time Call" where the undercover Christian phone sex operator pretends to want the job but turns out to be damning all of the customers who call in? Ha. Pretty hilarious, actually. That's not an example of the Christian purpose I had in mind, though.
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And if you want to hear the series of sermons, they are AMAZING! Listen here with free itunes podcasts. But when you want to move to Hawaii to go to this church, don't say I didn't warn ya! ;)