Everything is always leading up to something.

That is, if you’re in tune with that leading.

This morning, for example, it was the alarm clock. Except it wasn’t my alarm clock. I woke up and grabbed my phone to silence the noise before it woke up the Hubs. Yep, that’s when I realized it was his alarm, not mine, that was ringing.

I was in tune. To my husband’s alarm clock.

Then it was to coffee and my favorite caffeine delivery device that I moved to–my Child of God coffee cup–thank you, A, if you’re reading this!

Caffeinated and alert, I was writing once again before I knew why.

Everything is always leading up to something.

In those moments that I lay awake in bed deciding whether I was going to get up or stuff my face harder into my pillow, memories from childhood rose one after the other before me. Memories of making earth-fruit, balls of earth that we’d roll into fruit-like shapes and then onto which we’d dust with colorful crushed limestone. The next memory was of cabin-building and my cousins and grandpa and I. We would forage through the woods around my grandparents’ home and build forts and fortresses. Eventually not one but two cabins were built. We kids played in them for years–for some of us, ahem, me, well into college years. Image after image of making things, building things, sketching things continued to rise up before me.

So much so that I rose up.

What is going on? I thought. Why all these thoughts about working with my hands?

Everything is always leading up to something.

And today’s something has come to me from yesterday’s quiet time, but ultimately has stemmed from multiple visits with a recent discovery–I have been gifted in the area of artisanship and craftsmanship, and it’s not only caught up with me, it’s catching on. I’ve begun to realize that all those fun projects and ideas that I had growing up, and even now as a mom, as an English teacher, as a woman–all of these leanings rose out of an inner gift that has been seeking outward expression. All my life. 

Each of us is unique with our own preset interests and drives, yet not many of us can identify or articulate those gifts. Its not always easy to recognize what’s in our own face, our own passions and gifts. If we are so lucky, we struggle with a battle to apply those gifts, to use those strengths, because there is always some kind of real-life opposition to utilizing those things! I don’t think that is coincidence!

As a child and teenager and young adult and now thirtysomething, I’ve battled the fear that I won’t figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Every time I’ve thought I’ve landed on it, every time I’ve found that treasure-at-the-bottom-of-the sea, I’ve felt a little shortchanged. I struggle to feel settled.

I’m learning though that part of that unease is for a reason. We never really finish growing up or developing or evolving as people. That is, until we complete this life-journey.

Which leads me to deciding that this is the wrong question altogether. It’s not about what I want to be. Rather, it’s about who I am already and how God has designed me. It’s about listening to that leading and learning how to apply myself in the areas I’ve already been set to flourish in.

Can you imagine an person directed and developed in any area finding joy in a job where she never could be unleashed?

(My daughter’s current passion is for food! And naming each item she eats. She has been well developed for this. 😂)

While I spent years hoping that I didn’t “miss it,” it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve begun to see that God leads us and guides us in all areas of life through many different ways, but that one of the key ones is in the area of our gifts and passions. When you layer over that a kingdom-mindset, that is, how God calls us to use these gifts and passions, the answer to that life question, cue Rick Warren and What on Earth am I Here for? begins to set in.

If you find you are obsessing over that “job” or title only to discover you are not using your gifts, you’ll not only be disappointed, but also continually drained! And if you’re in a place of feeling continually drained, a good place to look is at how you are using your skills and gifts to carry out those God-shaped passions. And to tune in! Tune in to His voice in developing those gifts–these are the ways He enables you to carry out your purpose!

Everything is always leading up to something.

Sometimes it’s the alarm clock, or that of your spouse’s!

Sometimes it’s those desires to make a difference in a specific area.

Sometimes it’s a cause that won’t’ let you sleep at night.

Sometimes it’s that nudge to explore something new, something old–whatever it is, it stirs something within that you can’t ignore.

But once you see how you’re being led, what those stirrings are, it’s time to tune in.

Tuning in.

As I pondered these memories from childhood of building all those imaginative things, the scavenger hunts, the attempted stick-and-log-rafts, the cabins, even making and piecing together outfits from Goodwill materials and GG–sewn skirts and dresses–I realized with fresh eyes that these were all evidence of craftsmanship at a young age.

With excitement, I stopped and let more images flash before me. I painted. I dabbled in watercolor. The calligraphy pen. The sewing classes. The sketching. Even and especially the hours of writing and poetry–all poetry is is art given life through writing–it all makes sense now!

I’ve been being led and those gifts have been seeking outlets. Yet not until now have I connected the dots.

My gifts and skills enable me to rise to my calling and purpose as illuminated by my passions as a child of God.

And what about now? What is it that I can do with these gifts? I am not making the earrings or jewelry that cover my Facebook page. I am not sewing the frilly dresses I sketched out as a child. I am also not a carpenter putting into play projects by hand or an architect designing those projects. Yet I do practice the art in some ways! My mom pointed out the birthday parties and the decorations–the ways I am driven to pull together color and texture and sparkle to inspire joy in the kids. She helped me see ways that I am already using my hands in many everyday ways.

As I move forward, I plan to think more and more not about what I want to be when I grow up, but what it is that God is opening my eyes to see and to do. With that kingdom-focus and that Spirit-led call, I hear Him saying in a quiet but absolute way, Use the gifts that you already have. As one of my dear friends says, “Nourish what’s there.” Thank you, H.

What about you? What are your gifts and passions? What causes have your heart? And biggest of all the questions, what is it that your everything has been leading you up to now?

Because everything is always leading up to something now.

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