Yesterday I sat by my fireplace wrapped in three blankets. And a bathrobe. Drinking coffee. And it was 50 degrees outside. Yeah, I’m cool like that.
All snuggled and warm, my mind drifted to memories of last year. My first winter on autoimmune meds completely changed the way I functioned. The cold weather suddenly presented an entirely new problem for me: sick season. I was scared straight with the never ending list of risks and side effects, creating a bout of anxiety for my compromised immune system.
So every year when the weather begins to chill, I give a half-hearted wave to the world and tuck myself in for a long winter nap. I spent the majority of last winter in self-induced hibernation, away from the public, reluctantly canceling plans with friends who had a sniffle. I felt like I had to screen guests with a “symptom questionnaire” before they were even allowed to enter my home.
That first winter was a very lonely season. But it was also a surprising season of transformation.
“God used my pain to sow seeds of purpose in my life. Dreams that had long been dormant started to surface.”
Pain will expose your heart.
Contrary to what I believed at the time, the four walls of my home became more of a greenhouse than a prison. God used my pain to sow seeds of purpose in my life. My struggle caused me to slow down. I literally had no place to be, no one to talk to, nothing to distract me. My suffering brought solitude, solitude brought silence, and silence brought clarity. God stirred my heart. Dreams that had long been dormant started to resurface. A dream to write. A dream to use my story and experiences to encourage others. This quiet hum of my heart suddenly became a piercing sound I could no longer ignore.
“When God places a dream in your heart, fear will try to snuff it out.”
Pain will expose your fears.
When God places a dream in your heart, the voice of fear will try to snuff it out. You can’t do it. You don’t have what it takes. Your dream is ridiculous and unrealistic. Fear makes us avoid. It makes us run. Fear drives us to doubt ourselves and our God. We start coming up with all the reasons why we can’t do what God has called us to do.
Moses had the same struggle. God had a plan. He designed Moses for a purpose. He even approached him in a miraculous, supernatural way and told Moses exactly what He wanted him to do. After hearing all God had for him, Moses started coming up with excuses for why God had the wrong guy. I’m nothing special. What if they don’t believe me? What if they don’t listen? I’m not very good with words. I’m a terrible speaker. Moses focused so much on what he couldn’t do that he forgot about who was calling him.
God’s specialty is doing a lot with a little. God uses the insignificant to do the significant. So many characters in the Bible were nobodies, yet God purposely chose them so that His power would be displayed through their weaknesses. He has designed each of us for a specific purpose. God saw a problem in the world and created you as the solution, uniquely packaged with your personality, skill set, gifts, weaknesses, and passions. There is only one you. And only you can fulfill God’s purpose and plan for your life. Don’t allow your fears or insecurities to keep you paralyzed from living out the dream God has placed in your heart.
Pain will ignite your passion.
It’s funny how loneliness and isolation makes you want to talk. A lot. After five months of solitude, I felt like my mind was going to explode if I didn’t put my thoughts down on paper. I felt so burdened to write, I couldn’t keep it in any longer. I spent much of that season writing anything and everything that God laid on my heart.
Sometimes our biggest seasons of loneliness, struggle, or suffering can be the very vessel God uses to ignite our passions and dreams. Women who have been abused now passionately serve the victims of sex-trafficking. A man who knows what it’s like to go hungry serves at a homeless shelter. Widowed in her 40’s, my Mom started a group for single moms, pouring into them out of her own brokenness. I truly believe that our trauma and tragedy uniquely prepares us and provides a window of insight into the purpose God has for our lives. Your suffering is not meant to be wasted. God will use your brokenness for your good and the good of others.
“I believe God uses our pain to reveal our purpose.”
Pain will reveal your purpose.
Five months of isolation confirmed my purpose and stirred my heart. It forced me to deal with my fears, giving me the courage to take the next step. And out of that dark season, Live Well Worry Less was born. One year ago I wrote my first post. And then I shared my story for anyone out there who wanted to read it, who needed some hope too. And slowly but surely, this blog grew. And all of you have made it all possible! Thank you for joining me on this journey and for all you have done to support this blog in its first year!!!
“Out of that dark season, Live Well Worry Less was born.”
This past weekend, I was reminded again that I have a purpose. God used the story of another to whisper into my heart, “Just because you have a disease, does not mean I can’t use you.” God can still use you despite your shortcomings. Your weaknesses are not a hindrance to Him. God can still use my forgetful memory, lack of energy, and introverted nature for His glory!
I believe God uses our pain to reveal our purpose. What story has He given you? How has He uniquely designed you to speak into the problem or pain of others? I pray that you will discover the dream God has laid on your heart. Ask Him to reveal His purpose for your life. Ask Him to show you the next step. And then, no matter how big or small, take that step and see what He will do!