Fear or Fulfillment

Posted on: August 29th, 2016 by Michael Larson

Fulfillment. It seems illusive, something impossibly out of reach, something seen or heard of in movies where millions are made, or lives are saved, or man lands on the moon. But to us, those of us living normal lives, in normal homes, driving normal cars to our normal jobs, eating normal dinners and watching Netflix on our normal TVs, fulfillment can seem depressingly distant at times. And often, too, we remove ourselves from the pursuit of that idea, the concept that through this change or adjustment, our life can all of a sudden seem full of purpose and passion and pursuit of great things. We say we are too busy, too stressed, too ill-equipped. We say we lack the talent of that guy or the paycheck of that girl or the opportunity of everyone else. Yet at the root of these excuses, buried beneath the seemingly legitimate reasons for our hesitancy to step towards something eternally satisfying, lies our fear. Our fear of our lacking, our fear of trying and failing, our fear of simply taking a step in a direction that turns out to require a U-turn down the path of life. And so our fears, powerful as they often are, remove us from attempts at that idea, that hidden hope, that somewhere a place of purpose for us exists. We can often disqualify ourselves simply by believing that we are unqualified.

The past year has been one of significant change for me and my family. God answered a prayer that I uttered countless times over many months. It was a prayer for a ‘calling,’ a ‘purpose,’ a prayer to be fulfilled and satisfied to the point where I knew I was standing smack dab in the middle of God’s grand plan for my life. Pie in the sky? Maybe, but I was optimistic. Months went by, turning into a year and then a year flowed into two and while my desire for a clear and specific calling did not fade, my hope that God would give me the answer I was so seeking was starting to wane. I thought that maybe it was just about obedience, that maybe doing the things I had always done without passionate energy, but with disciplined consistency, was going to be the extent of my very own purpose driven life.

But then I decided to take a step. And then another step. And another. I decided to accept the (sometimes scary) responsibility placed on me to lead in different areas in my life. I was called up by a few patient people, who knew my potential and the next bend in the road of my journey better than I did. At first these steps didn’t reveal a larger picture, they didn’t give me a blueprint for the next thirty years, but they were like a breeze, fanning away the fog and ushering in wisps of clarity. But over time, the satisfying weight of an emerging calling began to settle in. Beginning to operate in an area where I was equipped and gifted by God, felt like hammering confidently with my right hand instead of my weaker, ungraceful left. So a gradual change has continued to take place. My perspective has slowly, incrementally changed from one where I was floundering, ill-equipped, a bit aimless even, to feeling the emergence of a core of intention in leadership and life. With this, I have become more focused, more excited, more alive as I not only want to engage where I feel I am personally sensing fulfillment, but also want others to taste it, to experience it, to excavate this internal gem of their own.

And so today, I picture sharing this story with you not through a screen, but over a cup of coffee at your kitchen table, or across the glowing embers of summer’s last bonfire. I picture, for someone out there, the longing in your eyes, as I had such a short time ago, for that precise position of meaning, that ache to feel settled into a place of natural gifting and talent. My encouragement to you would be this: you have it, its there. In you, albeit ever so slightly hidden, is a niche, an area of this world unreachable by your neighbor, your spouse, your parents or your kids. Its your niche, your calling, your place of perfect qualification, of phenomenal fulfillment. So if you haven’t thought about it, start asking God what it is. If you’ve been asking for it to no avail, hang in there, keep knocking on that door, begging him to reveal it. If you’ve found it, then share it, dig in, throw off the weight of anything slowing you down and run towards God’s purpose for you in His Kingdom. The idea that God’s fulfilling purpose for you is elusive is a farce. The idea that the ’normal’ that we so often experience is the full extent of our existence is, thankfully, just a lazy lie. You are more than ready to seize what God has set before you, you are more than qualified to experience fulfillment and the world can’t wait to hear about it when you do.