By Hannah Sweet
If you are anything like me then you have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about what you want to do with your life, and no, I don’t mean that thought limited to the scope of a career. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want from my family; what I want from my personal, and private life; what I want from a career; what I want from the relationships in my life. Let me tell you spending all that time thinking on these things used to stress me out, like to the point where I couldn’t even lift my head from the stress. I was trying to force my life to play out in the frame society had set for me. College, career, marriage, children, house, etc., all of these things I tried to do when I was “supposed to”, and then I would feel useless because somehow my life didn’t seem like those of my peers, like I had failed. I would call my mom and I would cry into the phone because I felt like I had failed, that I had no direction; and as always, my mom had the best advice. Let’s face it, moms usually have the best advice. She told me instead of asking God when these things would all pan out, to pause and thank Him for the man of God He had planned for me, the children he had planned for me, the spouses he has planned for them, for the career he had planned for me, to thank Him for all the things he has planned for me. Then she would quote Jeremiah 29:11 at me:
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I took my mother’s advice. I pray thankfully, daily. I thank God for all that I do have and all that He has planned for me, and let me tell you, prayer works! I will be the first to admit that sometimes it can feel like God isn’t listening, that the things I have planned aren’t important to God in the ways that they are important to me. For example, I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. I didn’t know if I would ever be someone’s wife, but I always knew that one day I would be a mom; and so, when God took my baby to heaven before I even got a chance to know him, I felt betrayed. However, in my heart of hearts I knew and still know that God’s plan is so much bigger than any I could have ever dreamt for myself. Instead of getting depressed and turning my back on my faith that has carried me through every difficult time, I was reminded of a song from Broadway’s Crazy for You, “Could You Use Me.”
“Do you realize what a good man you’re getting in me?
Tell me, could you use me?”
And although the song is between a pair of romantic interests, the question is one I hadn’t thought to ask God before. Yes, I was very thankful but I had never outright asked God if he could use me. Turns out He could use me. He led me to take on leading the youth fellowship. What do you think God could use you to do if you asked? It’s like my dad always says, “God is a gentleman, He doesn’t go where He isn’t invited.” That has always stuck with me, because like anything else we want in life, you won’t know until you ask, and why wouldn’t you ask? Think about your life right now. Have that mental image? Good. Now imagine what that could become if you asked God how he could use you, in addition to your thankfulness for the things you do and don’t have. Can’t imagine it? That’s okay. Let’s try praying and asking God how best He can use YOU! The changes in your life may not happen over night but God works in mysterious ways. The results are sure to surprise you. Just remember
Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Thank you for all the blessings you have given me and for all those you have yet to bless me with. You know the plans and desires I have, but Lord how can you use me and the gifts you have so graciously bestowed upon me. My heart and mind are open to your will, please use me. Amen.