December 12, 2011

What am I made for?


The boys have a yellow dog. He started out a gangly puppy that loped around not quite able to control his body. They threw the rubber training duck and he stumbled over his giant paws to run for the dummy and bring it back. There was no training for retrieving. Running to fetch things was what he was made to do.

Working with him daily, they taught him things that didn’t come quite so naturally, like sitting and waiting to be released, and walking beside them at the curt command to heel.

Finally, with enough encouragement and reward, he learned to wait for minutes after his “prey” had flown over the rock wall and into weeds down below.

A few weeks ago, the boys took the yellow dog to the delta to give him his first shot at the real thing.

Just after the sun broke over the horizon, sitting in metal pit camouflaged with rice straw and reed mats, Drake got to be in his element, a working dog, retrieving from the cold waters of a rice field made duck pond.

I have to admit--- I wasn’t there. I am only relating what the boys recounted with enthusiasm about how quickly Drake found his place in the blind awaiting his cue. They talked with excitement telling me the details of the yellow dog taking off for the real thing splashing through cold water among the decoys and rice stubble.

“He’s a natural,” they said. 

I was happy for them, happy for the yellow dog.

Still a pup, there is little doubt that yellow dog knows what he was made for.

I have been asking God to reveal to me lately what I was made for. I am notoriously bad at self-evaluation and have a hard time understanding what my passions are.

I see others pour themselves into following sports teams, hunting the elusive prey, going to auctions, refinishing furniture, scrapbooking.

None of those passions are mine. Like the yellow dog getting the opportunity to retrieve, I wonder if putting myself in the right situations might reveal my passions---the things that make me come alive.

I began writing more intensely on this blog back in the summer.

I never dreamed I'd hold a computer in my lap. Long before that was even a dream, I wrote page after page in journals, processing life issues after my depression. I worked a lot of things out with God in those journals. Often, I wrote prayers.

Now I find myself  near the end of  the commitment I made to myself, and before God, to focus on writing blog posts to the end of the year.

When that commitment to write began this summer,  I was in a dry place. I heard only silence from God.

Silence or revelation, I didn't stop seeking Him. He was there. He never leaves his children.

To be honest, it was unnerving for a few days, but life has taught me that God sometimes speaks in silence. What was the silence about? There was a reason, because there is always a reason. So I waited. No new revelations came. There was the hope that putting things down in words would give me new perspective and give God the opportunity to write on my heart as I wrote here at this place--- my little corner of the blogging world.

Like the boys practicing with Drake in the backyard before taking him to the field, I have been practicing tapping away at the keyboard.

I described my writing to a friend as having been like practicing the piano. I don’t always play the same kind of song (and if you are a reader you know that.) But my commitment to write to the year's end keeps me coming back to tap way, expose parts of me regardless if the post works or not.

I have had no grand revelation from God that blogging is a calling in my life. I believe it is an opportunity he set before me. And I have learned many things from it (that's another post).

He has given me other opportunities as well.

One is to go to Haiti for a week to celebrate Christmas, to live with and to love the children at the Canaan Christian Community. I leave in two days to go to the “Promised Land.”

The other opportunity is two serve with a team in Ukraine in early February for two weeks. I will teach conversational English, make new friends, and be able to share Hope with them if the opportunity presents itself.

Though I may not feel like these opportunities are my passions, I am beginning to understand they are His passions. I am learning that when I risk being where I feel I unsuited, I am most blessed---- and so is God. God is taking me out to the field. I pray I will find that I am doing what I was made for.

Drake didn’t stand in the middle of the yard or the duck blind wondering if he might be a retriever. When he had the opportunity, he went for it. 

The blog will go silent for days to come---- maybe a couple of posts before years end. Then I will consider with the Lord if I should keep practicing on this keyboard or place my energies elsewhere.

Thank you for your prayers as I travel. I am anticipating new perspectives away from the safe place behind this screen. I give God my hands, my feet, my heart to serve those whom He loves and in turn serve my Savior.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.  (James 2:26) 
_______________________________________________
Counting graces with Ann:

praying for my friends’ fathers
praying miracles for a child sick with e-coli, kidneys failing
hearing a young boy pray for a miracle for his sick friend
hugging, a mother teary at the football team banquet
packing up my carry-on and my heart to take to Haiti

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