Last time, I wrote about my novel and how important it was to follow your dreams and find what God wants you to do. This time, I will share with you what helps motivate and inspire me to do that.
Every now and then, I need a little reminder that it’s OK to take a chance. By nature, I’m a pretty cautious person. I’m much more likely to look than I am to leap. I’m not sure if that’s just because I’m a first-born child or just a part of my personality from birth. Whatever the reason, it can be very hard for me to go out on that cliff and jump. There’s a big part of me that wants to be able to just take a running start and feel the wind roaring around me as I extend my arms and legs and freefall toward the earth. I see other people doing it and I think, “I can do that.” But more often that not, when it comes time to make that leap, I am inching forward at a snail’s pace. Checking the wind, gauging the distance, making sure my parachute is secure, over and over and over.
I am constantly praying and searching for reassurances from God that what I am doing is what he wants me to do. Unfortunately, he doesn’t call us or send us a text message and tell us what we are supposed to do. There’s no billboard posted along life’s highway telling you that you are doing the right thing and there aren’t any road signs saying “Success … 13 miles this way.” Instead, God speaks in the quiet, in His still, small voice. Knowing that you are on the right path is more a feeling – a peace; a calm assurance. He will open doors to help you down the path He intends and shut doors down roads you are better off not following. He will send people into your life to help you down the right roads, if you just watch for them. A passing comment, a short note, a phone call. Any of those things can be used by God to help assure you that you are on the right path.
Music is one big way God speaks to me. I love all kinds of music – rock, hip hop, classical, dance, r&b, easy listening. Check out my iPod sometime and among the 10,000 songs on there you’ll find everything from Beethoven to Aerosmith, from Usher to Chicago, from Michael W. Smith to the Beatles. Some of the artists that most inspire me and speak to me are Jeremy Camp, Todd Agnew, Third Day and Switchfoot.
Switchfoot especially inspires me to make change and to live life to the fullest. On their 2003 CD “The Beautiful Letdown,” making a difference and living a life of purpose are two overarching themes. This is one of my favorite CDs of all time. The song lyrics just speak to me, almost as if they were messages just for me. “Meant to Live” says “We were meant to live for so much more/Have we lost ourselves.” On “Dare You to Move,” Switchfoot lead singer Jon Foreman sings “Welcome to the fallout/Welcome to resistance/The tension is here/The tension is here/Between who you are and who you could be/Between how it is and how it should be/I dare you to move/I dare you to move/Dare you to lift yourself up off the floor.” And on “This is Your Life,” Foreman sings “This is your life/Are you who you want to be/This is your life/Is it everything you dreamed that it would be/When the world was younger, and you had everything to lose.” The song “Gone” says, “She said he said live like no tomorrow/Every day we borrow/Brings us one step closer to the edge (infinity)/Where’s your treasure, where’s your hope/Forget the world and lose your soul/She pretends like she pretends like she’s immortal”
These are four of my favorite songs off the CD because they speak to me about taking advantage of every day and being who you want to be and who God wants you to be. They remind me not to put off for another day making a change or taking a chance or stepping out in faith. We can’t change what happened in the past. As Switchfoot sings in “This Is Your Life,” “Yesterday is a kid in the corner/Yesterday is dead and over.” But we can grab hold of each and every day and make the most out of it. That may mean different things on different days. You can’t save the world every day or write a blog post that will change the world every day. But God has a plan for each of us, on as small of a scale as a daily basis and on as grand of a scale as a lifetime. Our lifetimes are made up of those individual days, individual moments even. Those individual moments and days all add up to make our lives, yet our lives are also more than just the sum of those individual days. If you are open to what He wants you to do, you can make a difference in someone’s life every day. It may be your children or your spouse or your best friend or someone across the planet that you may not even be aware that you are touching their life.
So ask God what He wants you to do today to make a difference in someone’s life. You may be pleasantly surprised at the answer.