Once in a blue moon, God will cause my mind and heart to understand my life through a whole new lens. My 20’s and early 30’s were dominated by one over arching question,
“God, what should I be doing with my life?”
Every opportunity, relationship, task, and nearly every day was underscored by it.
“Is this really what I should be doing?” “Is this how I should be doing it?” “Are you sure this is right?”
This question and the ones that came with it caused a nervous undertone to live in my heart and my soul in just about everything. Friendships. Ministry. Entertainment. My Teaching. Family. Etc. It assumes there’s one small dot of what I should be doing, and if I missed it in some way or am doing it not completely on point then I am all off. It resulted in a great deal of snobbishness honestly because if X fell out of what I supposed to be doing then I did not engage it. Along with that it paralyzed me even more often from engaging all the different people and opportunities that were right there around me with fear of not doing it right.
This past holiday break I had just turned 35. I took a few afternoons to go to a coffee shop and reflect on what direction to take my next 35 years. Somehow in that time, He hit me with one of those rare insights that had the potential to change everything.
It was as if He was saying, “I have a different question, Ryan, I want you use to decide this.” I ask for some answers, and He gives me a question, just like Him isn’t it?
“No, longer ask what should I do, but ask what could I do with my next 35 years, my next year for the matter, my next tomorrow?”
What can I do for the students I teach almost everyday to bless and serve them?
What can I do for my family to let them know I love them?
How can I be a loving servant with those I work?
How can I make my niece and nephew laugh for an hour each week as I pretend to be an Evil Zombie Pirate or Angry School Marm chasing them around my parents’ house to let them know how much You love to hear those laughs?
How can encourage my friends to let them know they belong and that Your love for them is always true?
How can I enjoy the time with the one of the few kids I get to sit with and have a time of fun and laughter almost every week in Syler Buck that he will know the sheer joy You have in him that You cause me to know each time we hang out?
What can I do to for my fellow FBC Raytowners, my fellow laborers in Christ. My family in You to let them know the grace and love You continue to pour out to them each day?
Each day the opportunities are ripe for the picking.
Then You take me to a place south of Mexico called Guatemala. I grow such a great admiration for two of the principal leaders there in Sara and Edgar. I connect and grow so fond of this Star Wars enthused, Captain American loving kid named Andy. Briefly get to sample a ministry where You could use so many of my skills and gifts. Headed back I found myself reverting backward asking the old question, “God, what should I do?”
Then you softly whisper, “No, Ryan, it’s what can you do, remember?”
The old question constrained my life. Limited it and choked out the joy of engaging the people and things around me. With the new question, the possibilities are endless, and the nervousness about the how vanishes. No longer checking my “should I be” thermometer stick anymore. You have me right where I am. Let’s see what can happen…