Let’s face it: we all want to know that we matter, and that what we do matters. Yet we are so often fooled into thinking that who we are and what we do is inconsequential, or that we are too broken or ordinary for God to work with. Don’t believe the lie.
Every person is created to do something great with his or her love. Now, greatness isn’t measured by how prestigious our job is, how we dress, how much money we make, who our friends are, or where we live. Greatness is measured by how deeply we let Love live in us and radiate through us. The basic difference between a life of greatness and a life of mediocrity? A “yes,” hinging on a willingness to step out, to be vulnerable, to encounter the other, to be made new, all for the sake of Love.
It’s nothing show-stopping, usually. Most of the time, God calls us amidst “the pots and pans” of our daily life. He whispers to us in the ordinary moments. Yet, if we say “yes” to the little things He asks, our small “yes” can end up blooming into our life’s mission. We discover that the “little” things are actually not that little, because in Christ, “nothing again would be casual or small.” We don’t need to try to chase greatness; it comes with simply being faithful to His call in the moment, and letting Him do great things in and through us.
Gifts and Gaps
Now sure, we all have gifts and gaps. That’s part of the deal. My gifts help to fill someone else’s gaps, and vice versa. It’s that very dynamic that allows me to be “a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.” Jesus wants to use every inch of who we are, what we’ve done or haven’t done, our victories and failures, joys and sorrows, to unify us with Himself and others, bringing us to the ultimate purpose of our mission: our joy and His glory. Being faithful to His call to us will allow others to encounter Him. Our “yes” makes the “yes” of others possible.
Your mission is unique and unrepeatable. No one can do it for you, because no one can ever replace you. In a sense, our mission and identity are inseparable. Nothing else is going to fully satisfy our hearts except the special way in which God has asked us to give ourselves in love. Created in God’s self-giving image, we can only truly find ourselves by making a gift of ourselves.
God’s call challenges us to live in the certainty that we can never be thrown away, no matter what. When we stumble into times of darkness, which test our belief in God and even our identity itself, will we trust that whatever God allows, He allows ultimately for our good? Will we trust that “He knows what he is about”? Will we believe that this is simply a deepening of our mission, however mysterious it may be to us?
Trusting in Jesus’ intimate, wild, personal love for us grounds us in the reality that we do matter, and that we will always matter, in good times and bad. Like the prophet Simeon who held the Infant Jesus in his arms in the temple, our waiting may serve Him. Like the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea who buried the body of Jesus, our prosperity may serve him. Like the paralyzed man lowered through the roof to be cured by Jesus, our sickness may serve him.
There will never come a time when we will cease to be important to the Heart of God.
He wants you
No matter where we are in life, we can make a difference. St. Catherine of Siena once said: “If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire.” The God who is madly in love with us has a plan for our lives. As Jesus called the first disciples, Jesus calls us now. He calls in the daily humdrum and in the exceptional circumstances, in the midst of both success and suffering, in the silence and in the busyness of the world, in the face of injustice and in the embrace of love. His call is simple and radical. He asks us, as Pope Francis tells us, to go to the peripheries, to step out of our comfort zones, to reach out to those who are on the fringes. He calls us to follow Him.
In the depths of each of our hearts, we are faced with a choice. Do I believe? Will I go? Will I say yes? Am I going to live like His tender love for me is really true?
We each have a call. We each have a mission. God’s call invites our response. Give God permission.
Originally printed in IMPRINT Magazine Spring 2016.