I recently read an article by Joyce Meyer that someone published as a LinkedIn Blog. The article was titled “Life Beyond Abuse,” and although it wasn’t written by me, it could have been. There were so many similarities in what Ms. Meyer experienced and what I experienced growing up. What caught my eye in the article was her definition of Abuse: “Abuse is defined as ‘to be misused, used improperly or to be wasted; to use in such a way as to cause harm or damage; to be treated cruelly.’ Any time we are misused or used for a purpose other than what God intended, it’s damaging.”
That last sentence is what struck me as powerful: “Any time we are misused or used for a purpose other than what God intended, it’s damaging.” I too have experienced that, and, as she goes on to say, God uses those difficult times in our life for our own good. (Romans 8:28) It’s not that period of my life that I want to focus on however. I want to focus on the “Life beyond” part. There was a time in my life when I was being used for a purpose other than what God intended, but there has also been in my life a time when I wasn’t using my life for a purpose in accordance with what God intended.
There was a time in my life where I felt God leading me to share my testimony. I did what every steadfast, faithful, trusting, grounded Christian does when God reveals a purpose for our lives – I ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction! Ok, maybe that’s not what everyone else does, but at least it didn’t take a whale to change my mind.
My point here is that six month period where I refused to follow God’s plan for my life was a time where my life wasn’t being used for God’s purpose – and therefore I was misusing the resources God gifted me with. I’m in alignment now and I have a peace about that. I’ve met so many people who don’t have peace in their life however. Perhaps they too have felt a “nudge” to be using their time, talent and energy for a specific purpose and yet find themselves facing the fear of making changes. Maybe they are facing the fear of leaving people behind in their life as they grow and follow the path God puts them on. Maybe they fear stepping out in faith that God will provide or fear the sacrifice of material things.
Perhaps its the fear that some of us hold deep inside, that we aren’t “good enough” for what God plans. I know that was my biggest fear for a long time, and to some degree I still struggle with that. I’ve come to realize though, that God doesn’t need us to be perfect. Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
All things. Not some things, not the good things, not the perfect things. All things.
Life beyond abuse, for me, is about focusing on the “Life Beyond” part. It’s not a question of how hard life has been up until this point. It’s a question of, where will you go now? Are you fulfilling YOUR purpose? Are you using your resources or misusing them? Those choices are the ones that define us and define the legacy we leave behind. The choices we make each day, great and small, in how we spend our resources. If you feel like you are out of alignment with your purpose, take one small step today in that direction. Just one….As Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step.”