Too many times in our lives we defy the “nature” of who we are supposed to be.  Whether or not you believe that we’re fated to do something specific in our lives, most of us agree that people are wired to be something specific.  People naturally gravitate towards one profession or one activity as opposed to others.  For most of my life, I have gravitated towards two types of activities. 

One, is teaching.  Ever since I was a young boy, I would sit in my father’s class and try to figure out what he was doing to make it easier for the kids to learn.  Part of that was wanting in some way to be close to him, since he was gone a lot and I never saw him.  But, there was a piece of the process with which I naturally connected.  The second one is helping others.  Since that concept has a broad application, it’s hard for me to quantify.  But in many ways through voluntary activities, I gravitate to that type of situation.

If we look at the things to which we are inherently drawn as something that God put in us for a reason…  well then the perspective upon those tasks becomes more a responsibility rather than a way to make us feel fulfilled.  No longer do we have these proclivities for ourselves, and they are meant for the purposes that they seem to be designed…  for His purposes.    Yes, this is a pretty clear concept to latch onto, if you believe in God.  However, if you don’t, the idea that talents and purposes shouldn’t be a too foreign or distasteful subject.  If you are good at something or want very much to do something, then you should try to do it as hard as you can.  Get the most out of it, as it were.

I have fought for years about becoming a teacher as a profession.  The system is as corrupt as our government, and I cannot trust that my idealism wouldn’t get me arrested.  The importance of students learning takes precedence over some bureaucrat’s agenda.  But everywhere I go, no matter what I do… I end up teaching little things here and there.  It’s almost an instinctive thing.  So my vocation (ie what I’m called to do) is not my profession.  And the same goes with helping others.  Personal counsel, assistance with mundane tasks like house sitting or electrical work, volunteering with habitat for humanity builds and many other things fill my life.  But, I am sadly not being paid to do that either.

One’s life to have a sense of order or balance to it must combine a few things to make it stable.  Family (include friends too), Profession, Purpose.  If you think of all three of those as legs of a chair, then you can easily see that unless all three legs are sturdy, it falls over readily.  For a very long time, I used to think that if you have talents and gifts and leanings, then you have to get a job doing them.  I’ve finally learned that you don’t.  You do need to try to be sure to use them elsewhere in your life.  Otherwise your fulfillment, and God’s investment, don’t ever show up.

Recently, I have been convicted by dealing with a few people close to me, that unless we use these things… unless we work very hard with the opportunities or chances we have to use our gifts or use our resources, we become self-serving and self-centered.  For if God put an opportunity in your life, then it’s His not yours.  I too many times have recognised when I had a chance to do something that God asked, and I wouldn’t bend my will to submit to His.  I wanted things on my own terms.  To use my talents and gifts in my own way.  So I wanted to serve my own ego and my own wants and desires, as opposed to serving the One who put them in my life and in my character in the first place.

Recently I was posed with a thought… which is the greater sin:  to not use your leanings or inclinations or talents or gifts at all, or to only use them when and where and how you want to?  We were meant to be noble, yet many times we choose ignobility.  We are meant to be fulfilled by His purposes, yet many times we choose to ignore that and live lives of quiet (or sometimes loud) dissatisfaction.  I wonder where I am on that spectrum.  My own weaknesses seem to point out in glaring fashion that I tend not to follow when God says go.  Or at least until I have no choice. 

I am convicted by my own behaviour.  But I do know conviction and action are not the same as conviction and repentance.  I still need to work on that.