DEAR BOUNDLESS ANSWERS
How do I find out what God wants me to do with my life?
As I said in my previous entry, there are three parts to answering your question, and you might visualize them as three levels of a triangle. At the bottom, the foundation is this: generally, what does God want from every person? Moving up one level, and more specifically, what does God uniquely want from males (at least in your case)? And at the top, and very specifically, what does God want from you as an individual? This top level is like your fingerprint, something specific to you as an individual, a person uniquely crafted and gifted by God to perform meaningful tasks of service to Him and to others.
In my first entry I addressed the foundation, God’s call for all people; in my third and last entry I’ll explore a few tips for discovering your unique giftings as an individual. But now let’s tackle level two, what does God want from you as a male?
Excuse the cliché of a sports analogy, but I really think this’ll be helpful. Think of your life as a football game. The first 20 years could be thought of as your warm-ups — you’re getting ready for the game. The second 20 years is the first half of play. During your 40’s you make a few halftime adjustments, so that your second half — 50 and beyond — is strong and powerful. As a male (as is the case with females too), in each stage of the game, you’ve been given unique responsibilities, and you wrestle with unique challenges. A man must avoid the two extremes — “boyhood” on one side (immature and irresponsible) and what I call “achievatron” on the other side (robotic, lifeless, working, bill-paying machine) — and climb to the higher ground of manhood, marked by responsibility and adventure.
What God wants you to do with your life as a male is found in neither boyhood nor dead-man walking, but in a life lived with “the end” (eternity, God first) in mind. This includes accepting the responsibility of leading a family (rooted in a marriage you actively nurture), leaving a godly legacy, and having a great time in the process. He wants you to believe in and fight for a noble cause bigger than yourself, and to proactively craft your life adventure, rather than merely wander through life, even as a so-called “success.”
During the warm-ups you’re going through a few motions, getting a feel for what lies ahead, trying out a few habits, skills and values that will come into play in the first half — such things as purity, work ethic, leadership, service and the importance of faith — while still under the safety, protection and “inspection” of home. During the warm-ups you gradually move out of boyhood and adolescence, typically marked negatively by passivity and irresponsibility, and move into manhood.
In the first half, which is where you are, you should begin thinking more and more with “the end” (eternity) in mind, rather than the “short-term” thinking of adolescence. It’s when you prepare for a vocation and/or ministry that will utilize your God-given skills. It’s where you pursue and become one with a wife and begin leading a family in a great adventure.
God wants you to leave boyhood, reject passivity and accept the responsibility of manhood, while guarding against the trap of becoming a robotic, bored (and boring), bill-paying achievatron, ground down by responsibility and deadlines.
The theme for the male life is being proactive — proactive in nurturing your faith, in your pursuit of and intimacy with a wife, in starting and leading a family, in living with eternity in mind, in creating fun-filled adventures for you and your wife and family, in pursuing a noble cause, and in leaving a godly legacy that utilizes your unique design and giftings. I’ll explore this more in my next column.
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© 2006 John Thomas. All rights reserved. Used with permission.