I’ve spent the entire weekend glued to a computer screen, keying in numbers and watching for results. I’m working on the last phase of graduate school, a Ph.D. research project at Tennessee State University. I see it now - a light at the end of the tunnel!
This intensity will steadily increase in the coming weeks as I try to take in excess of 100 bits of information and weave them tightly together, trying to find a “level of significance.” Scientific studies have a pre-defined level, usually 0.05, that tells you that you’re research is “significant”. I was relieved after 16 hours of work this weekend and 600+ pages of printed reports to find at least a couple of things that the statistical software deemed “significant”.
Wouldn’t it be great if the events in our daily lives came with scores too? We could easily see what events required our time and attention and then receive a score to indicate the level of our performance; similar to the score a figure skater receives at the end of a performance!
Up until three years ago, my life was similar to my research project. I never said “no” to a request, didn’t set boundaries with others or myself and tried to please everyone. I wanted everyone to like me and pleasing others seemed to be the way to get the attention that I craved. It was a lot like my research study: stay constantly busy, find new activities, meet new people and maybe I’ll get lucky and find some significance in my busyness, or even find a significant person in my life.
Hopefully, my research will be complete in the next six weeks and I’ll graduate this summer; but what about my life? What lessons have I learned?
No longer can I simply be hopeful that some combination of events will magically occur to bring significance to my life, constantly begging for approval, love, and direction from others. Instead, I’ve developed some disciplines that allow me to determine what God has asked me to do and then to follow that plan:
- Reading the Word and praying every day
- Seeking the wise counsel of close Christian friends (my Circle of Twelve)
- Worshiping in a loving community that embraces the hope, mercy and love of the resurrected Christ.
When I have clear direction, the rest is easy: I stay focused and rely on God for my resources and my strength. I trust Him completely. The most important lesson I have learned is that sometimes the answer is “No!” I can’t be “all things to all people,” and God doesn’t expect me to be.
So instead of a shotgun approach, running around wasting my time and talents on things that don’t matter, I rely on God first to show me the “significance” in my life.
I pray that you, too, will stop today and ask God to first show you your purpose in His kingdom.
Blessings, my friend,