The last two years I have been in turmoil over purpose, and it has been a tumultuous ride of undulating ups and downs. All the implications of “purpose” led me down roads of losing myself in an effort to understand who I was. But the pot of gold that you might think lay at the end of this rainbow wasn’t a sudden realization of purpose as I would have supposed when I began this journey. Instead, it has culminated into another iteration of the Holy Spirit evangelizing my heart in a continued, young-love pursuit 40 years into my relationship with God.
I often find single sentences in scripture that I wrestle with until God reveals Himself to me in it. The last month it has been John 1:13, exhorting that we are “children born not of a natural descent, nor of human decision, or the will of man, but born of God.”
I struggled to see this passage as more than what I already knew. As much as I loved it and felt it, the magic of the passage ran ahead of me, and I felt left behind with only residual traces of its scent. I felt lost in the vastness of the words, without purpose, and intimidated by the call while also being encouraged that my life did not belong to the will of any human, including me. These words in John 1 were too familiar to a girl who grew up in the church, reading them hundreds of times until they lost all meaning. But then, suddenly they came with a fresh fragrance. A fragrance that smelled like liberation and gentle pursuit.
Of all the things in this world that are expected of me—to look a certain way, to act a certain way, to have a vision, to know where my life is headed, to find success, to always be grateful, to have a family and play simultaneously opposing roles of mother and career woman, to offer myself to causes, all of which can be wondrously good things—I do not owe any of these things to the world, to myself, or even to my family. I do not need to prove my worthiness.
I owe this world nothing. I owe myself nothing. I owe God my life.
I was not born to accomplish. I was not born because the world said it needed me. I was born because God chose me, and for that, I owe Him my life, no one else. This world did not give me my life; God did. This world did not heal my broken heart or give me purpose or inspire me. God did.
I am His, and He is mine. This long-lost love letter of my heart as I struggled to find meaning in meaningless places came back to me because I am fully loved. It was not new knowledge, and yet it came as brand new, and I felt young and in love with Jesus all over again. Echoing Song of Songs 3:4, “When I found the one my soul loves, I held him and would not let him go.”
In a moment, it became increasingly easier to only care for the words of my beloved, and as the waves of this realization washed over me, my hands that held tight to a sense of purpose relaxed and opened; my eyes closed to their searching and leaned into my beloved’s will; and everything that I thought was important became an offering to Him. My focus narrowed. Everything I needed to validate who I was to the world became a gift for only One.
Amy Altstatt is a faith-driven writer, passionate about women finding their own voice in Scripture and seeing how God reveals His plan and character through women as active participants in the gospel of redemption, freedom, and hope. She is currently writing a book that reexamines how God tells His story through even the most subliminal female characters in scripture. Amy’s websites are: Amyaltstatt.com and https://www.patreon.com/Adrinkofwater?fan_landing=true.