By Debby Hudson
I keep trying to know who I am. Now. In this part of life that is leaving me feeling stranded on a dirt road with nary a sign in sight.
Writing helps me process. It often reveals answers or offers a glimpse of possibility. In seeing the words spelled out, black on white, 14-point font, I may see answers, if only for today. But with retirement less than two years away, I want answers for the life ahead.
What will I do? Who will I be? I want to know with certainty, “I’m going to be an artist”. Something – anything.
I grew up in a Christian home with parents who had felt a calling to serve in full-time ministry. In my youth, I thought callings were only for pastors. I didn’t spend time praying that God would reveal specifics to me. Jobs opened up, and while I didn’t realize it until years later, God was always preparing the road ahead for me.
Life continued to unfold, and I followed.
Ten months after the first date with my now husband, Henry, we married. Thirteen months after our wedding, we had our first child. As we celebrated our daughter’s first birthday, I was pregnant with our second child.
We hadn’t set out to live life at this breakneck pace, but we kept running.
I relished the role of mama and knew this was where I should be. Looking back, I see this was part of my life’s calling.
My adult life has been focused on family and serving alongside my husband in full-time ministry. We’ve been the ones people come to. We’re the helpers, the providers, the fixers and listeners and planners. We’re bosses and pastors, speakers and leaders, and it feels full with purpose.
We are hardwired to find purpose. There is a deep need to know we were created for more than eat, sleep, work, repeat. We need to contribute, participate and find meaning in our days.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks and answers, “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
In Isaiah 43:10 (VOICE), the Lord God tells us himself that we’ve been chosen for a special purpose: to know him, trust him and be faithful to him.
And still, I want more. I want that proverbial sign in bold type that says, “I want you to _____.”
That blank stares at me like a two-year old defying authority.
I don’t like this in between, this feeling of limbo. Of wondering and wandering, of feeling like my purpose is no more. Or worse, as if my purpose isn’t important.
In the meantime, I scrutinize everything. Am I good at this? Can it be a career, of sorts? Can I at least make a few bucks doing this to pay for that?
I stare at the words on the screen. The black print against the white. And again, writing helps reveal the real issue: Me. If I search to feel valued and important then I am merely searching for me and not God’s purpose for me.
I will still get restless wanting to know tomorrow’s answers today. And I’ll remind myself of the words to one of the hymns of our church:
“I’m in his hands, I’m in his hands, whatever the future holds, I’m in his hands. The days I cannot see have all been planned for me, His way is best you see, I’m in his hands.”
How do you discern God’s direction? What do you do with those feelings of uncertainty about your purpose and future? Do you employ practices such as writing to work out your thoughts, doubts, and dreams?
Debby Hudson and her husband are ordained ministers working with men in a residential recovery program. Walking the beaches of South Florida restores their souls. Debby finds herself in many creative pursuits. She and her husband have two wonderful children and one granddaughter princess, none of whom they get to see often enough. Follow Debby on her blog: debbyhudson.com; Twitter: @debby_hudson; or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbyhudsoncreative