How this simple two-word prayer has the power to draw you closer to Christ, give your life purpose, and help you leave an indelible mark on planet earth!
Purpose Driven Depression?
I’m ashamed to admit how much time I’ve wasted chasing that big thing in life. It’s so huge. It’s absolutely amazing. It is the very thing I’m sure will bring me fulfillment. It is my purpose in life. My calling. It’s the mark I’ll leave on planet earth. My legacy.
And yet it’s always just a tad bit outside of my reach.
To be honest, I don’t have a clue what it is. But I chase it anyway. How do you chase something you can’t even describe? I’m not sure. I just know that I do. I am compelled to chase it. I chase it like a dog chases its tail or a hamster spinning around and around on its wheel going nowhere. I think a lot of people chase it. Let’s just call it, “Purpose Driven Depression.”
Outside of a chemical imbalance, some say the root of depression is feeling like your life is meaningless. There’s no sense of future, no purpose to give you hope and pull you back to an active life.
I’m sure there’s a lot of truth to that. The problem is we think of a singular purpose -that ginormous thing. Trying to figure out that big thing can leave us forever stuck and drive us mad in the process. If we don’t get off that merry-go-round, we could go our entire lives tired, frustrated, and depressed. Why? As I heard one wise pastor say,
“Purpose is not a destination it’s a journey.”
Purpose Driven Prayers
That was one of the most liberating statements I have ever heard from the pulpit. I’ll never forget it. A million light bulbs went off in my head. I’ve been chasing the wrong thing! I could spend my whole life going after that one great big purpose and never ever reach it.
I’ve been chasing the wrong thing. I’ve been reading the wrong books. I’ve been running down dead end paths. What I’m looking for is in plain view. It’s right in front of me. It’s well within my reach. It’s right in front of my face.
My purpose is found in everyday moments.
That’s where the joy is — everyday moments and obedience to Christ. We hear His voice and we do what He says in real time. These moments are well within my reach. Finding them begins with the same conversation Isaiah had with God back in 701 B.C. – let’s just say a long time ago.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?
Then I said, Here am I! Send me (Is. 6:8 NKJV).”
I’m ashamed to tell you how long it has been since I’ve had this conversation with God. I’ve been too busy chasing that big thing. But the nice thing about being a believer is we have this still small voice inside of us that just won’t let us go. God is relentless in helping us find our way back to the life we’re meant to live as Christ followers. The life where we anticipate God doing miracles everyday. The life we hear his voice and experience the thrill of Emanuel in our daily grind. The life that fills us with wonder as He chooses us to be His hands and feet on planet earth. The life that makes us want to jump out of bed, charge the hill, and shout,
“Here I am Lord, send me!”
Three Profound Purpose Driven Moments
Beth Moore told a story that just sort of unnerved me. She describes a man in a wheelchair at the airport that had really long hair that hadn’t been brushed in who knows how long. God tells her to go brush his hair. She didn’t hear Him say, “Go share the gospel.” She heard Him say, “You go brush his hair.” So she did. And then shared this,
“I brushed and brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this sounds so strange but I’ve never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I, for that few minutes, felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God.” Beth Moore
God used Beth’s purpose driven moment in a thousand ways we’ll never fully understand this side of heaven. He had purpose in Beth helping this Christian man reunite with his wife after being separated through illness. He used it in Beth’s life to experience what it’s like to be His hands and feet and pour out His deep, deep love on another human being. And He used it to as a witness to at least one woman observing.
I heard that story and I couldn’t get it out of my head. What would I do if God had told me to brush that man’s hair? What would you do? I don’t know that I would have been so bold.
So now instead of me chasing my big purpose, God?s purpose begins to chase me.
Stephanie, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
Before I respond, He brings two more stories to the door of my heart to seal the deal.
A co-worker is struggling to have a baby. She?s forty years old. For months she circles in prayer pouring out Hannah?s pledge found in 1 Samuel 1:27-28 (ESV),
I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.
The clock is ticking. Door after door after door closes until one day a door opens. She’s sitting on a bench pouring her broken heart out to God. She is having a very private heart to heart with God almighty in a very public place. She asks God one more time, “Please God.”
At that very moment, a woman approaches her and asks, “Have you been waiting for something for a long time?”
On the inside she’s thinking, “Yes, yes, yes!” On the outside she skeptically responds, “Maybe.”
The woman proceeds to tell her that she felt prompted by God to tell her that whatever that thing is she?s waiting for is going to happen. One week later my friend took a pregnancy test and found out she was pregnant! Her son is now 16 months old and he is the light of her life.
God sent a woman He knew would be faithful to His calling to encourage my friend and forever be reminded just how amazing our awesome God is. And oh don’t miss this, the best part, that woman’s name was Hannah! I just got goose bumps, how bout you?
Stephanie, “Whom shall I send, and who shall go for Us?”
Oh I want to be as brave as Beth and Hannah but… One more story.
I was at a women’s retreat recently and the worship leader shared that she had taken someone to the emergency room. While sitting in the waiting room a woman was crying uncontrollably. She heard God tell her to go and pray with the woman. While she pondered the request, another woman walked up to the woman and said, “May I pray for you?” Immediately after the woman prayed, the other woman stopped crying and said whatever was hurting stopped hurting. She got up and went home.
That is it! Put a fork in me, I’m done! No more excuses. No more hesitation. I don’t want to be a bench warmer! I can go through life sitting on the bench or in His strength step up to the plate. It’s time. It’s time to get back in the game.
Purpose Takes Practice
Those three stories hit me in the heart one right after another within the span of a few months. I know God is working hard on me. The third time was a charm. I became willing. I mean something in my heart completely changed. With all my heart and soul, I want to be that woman that steps up to the plate. I want to experience God in my everyday moments.
So with shaking knees I have started to pray daily, “Lord send me.”
I have taken baby steps with text messages and phone calls to people He puts on my heart in real time. Not tomorrow. Not later. Now! And there’s something about looking for and anticipating God’s purpose driven moments that is completely invigorating. I feel more connected to God and to the people He’s placed in my life. I guess you could say I’m in purpose driven soul training. It takes a lot of work, perseverance, and practice. It’s never too late to get in the game.
In a few weeks I’m heeding the call to go on a short-term missionary trip to Haiti. I’m excited for my purpose driven moments in a 3rd world country. And I’m excited to know that when I get home my mission trip continues, one day at a time, one purpose driven moment at a time.
When we become willing to listen hard for God’s voice in a very noisy world, carry out whatever marching orders He gives us, we find these are the moments that make our cups overflow. These are the moments that bring Christ and His amazing love for us in full view. These are the moments that leave an indelible impression on this world, and on us.
This is our purpose.
Lord, send me!