The last few weeks I have been asking God lots of questions about what this year is to look like, what he wants me to spend my time doing, where I am meant to be, with whom – I feel like those prayers have been on repeat, over and over and over again. I want to do what God is asking me to do but I am not totally sure what that is.
Every morning as I am straightening my hair I read this little devotional app, called DVO, by an Australian couple – the last week or so has been about calling and destiny and they have asked these questions:
What makes you tick?
What makes your body feel fluid and warm?
What keeps you up at night?
What makes you angry?
What gives you hope?
What captures your attention?
What floods you with light?
What fills you with dread?
I have thought about these questions lots as I have been praying my same prayer over and over. What makes me come alive?
What makes you come alive?
Alongside these reflections and challenges is one of the constant soundtracks of my life which is that of “legacy” – legacy in one context or another has been part of the entirety of my working life. I am an expert in death and all its friends, in more ways than one. This present chapter of my working life finds me in a much more positive aspect of “legacy” and as part of what I do I get the privilege of reading the life stories of people that have supported our charity. I love these stories, as my colleagues will testify, as I am constantly telling them. I love reading about people’s ups and downs, the lessons learnt, what they are remembered for. I wish I could share some of the stories – on the face of it very ordinary lives but leaving extraordinary gifts behind them.
It has really challenged and inspired me – what am I putting down in my life now that impacts on the legacy I will leave when I am gone?
What do you want your legacy to be? If and when someone is reading about your life when you are no longer here what do you want the words to say?
As I have been thinking, wrestling, considering I think a realisation has settled in my heart that actually I don’t need to be great or significant in terms of what I achieve in my life, to leave a valuable legacy. I just need to do what makes me come alive, what God made me to be and do, all with a lot of love, and that in itself will be pretty special.
The other week I was talking to someone about them reaching a big milestone birthday and they were questioning what they had really achieved in their life to date.
Maybe it is just me that falls into this trap, this lie that I need to be achieving something amazing, some big career success, writing a book, being a great speaker, highly creative etc. etc. – to really be shining in something to be creating something of value, to be extraordinary. The truth is I am not extraordinary, I am not particularly really good at any one thing – I am fairly ordinary, fairly mediocre but actually what is settling in my heart is that that is ok, we are not all called to extraordinary, many of us are meant to be ordinary and rather than striving for something we think we should be doing, achieving, or shining in we need to find the thing that God wove into our beings from the beginning, the things he gave us that make us come alive and pursuing those things with all that we are.
It got me thinking about my mum or MJ (Mummy Jane) or GJ (Granny Jane) as she is referred to in our family. MJ is pretty normal, outside of our family and her friends she is nothing out of the ordinary. She has spent the majority of her adult life caring for my Dad, me and my brother and now her grandchildren. She hasn’t had a big career, she hasn’t achieved anything special in the world’s eyes. Only last week my child was poorly and was off school all week and my mum stayed with her the whole week, putting aside all her plans – 5 days of not leaving the house, just sitting with her, cuddling her, reading with her and playing games. This week she is with her new granddaughter, my niece, cooking and cleaning for my brother and sister-in-law, helping them with the baby. How blessed are those cousins. No set of children or grandchildren will have been prayed over and for more – I know there have been many a sleepless night for my mum when she has done battle for us. My mum’s legacy will be one of family, one of faithfulness, and one of prayer and what a pretty amazing legacy that is.
So for me I know that what makes me come alive is people, is relationships, is conversation, is words – I love people, I love hurting people (to clarify I don’t love causing hurt!!) , I love praying, I love writing, I love making new friends – I have no idea what those “loves” are going to look like this year or where they are going to take me but I am talking to God, asking him to show me, and each day I am trying to chose to hold his hand tight, as I find out more and more what makes me come alive and what I want my legacy to be.
“Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because that the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman