Finding Your Calling!

Jesus didn't "call" Peter to walk on water, Peter asked Jesus to call him! What amazing things could we do if we asked Jesus to call and empower us to do them?! -Fern Horst on singleness.org

 

Imagine being in a boat around three in the morning about a mile or so from shore. You’re crossing a huge lake with 11 of your friends, having left one behind to pray.

Suddenly the wind picks up and your boat is being tossed about like a toy! You and your friends are terrified and cling to the sides of the boat. And then you see something that terrifies you even more – a figure that looks like a ghost is walking across the water straight toward you! You close your eyes for a moment hoping it will go away, thinking surely you’re just imagining this apparition.

But then one of your friends sees it, too, and shouts, “It’s a ghost!”

Your eyes fly open! All your friends are pointing at the ghost-like figure coming closer and closer. You know now it’s not your imagination at all!

“Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid!” shouted the figure. You and your friends recognize the voice. It belongs to your friend and mentor, the one who had stayed behind to pray.

Doubt fills your mind, but a deep desire fills your soul. If he could walk on water, why couldn’t you?

“If it’s truly you,” you shout over the noise of the crashing waves, hoping he can hear you, “tell me to come to you on the water!”

“Come!” he shouts back, beckoning with both hands, overjoyed that you want to join him on this crazy adventure.

You climb out of the boat and with amazement find yourself walking across the waves toward your friend! You feel exhilarated, empowered, and free! This is awesome!

 At that very moment a huge wave comes toward you from the side and you glance its way. Terror replaces the exhilaration. You feel your legs turn to jelly and start sinking rapidly below the surface of the water!

“Save me!” you shout to your friend, reaching toward him.

Immediately he grabs you and pulls you back up. You find your footing on the turbulent water. This is incredible, you think, as together you climb into the rocking boat.

In that instant another amazing thing happens. The wind stops and the water becomes calm and still. You look in awe at your friend and realize, as you have before, that there is something supernatural and divine about him. He’s not your ordinary Jewish man. This is Jesus, God’s Son, and you know it now with more certainty than ever. You and your other friends respond with the only act that makes sense in that moment: you worship Him!


Imagine having such an experience! You likely recognize this story as that of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. [1] It’s a Bible story we’ve heard many times, and yet in the familiarity of it we lose our amazement of what actually took place.

We’re also likely familiar with the usual insights gleaned from this story. I’ve often been encouraged by it to keep my eyes on Jesus, because when I don’t I start to drown in the overwhelm of life just as Peter almost drowned.

But yesterday something new struck me: Jesus didn’t “call” Peter to walk on the water, Peter asked Jesus to “call” him! Peter saw what Jesus was able to do and wanted to do it, too! Peter’s act of faith didn’t begin when he climbed out of the boat, it began when he asked Jesus if He would call him to come. And then Peter waited to get out of the boat until Jesus called him, because he knew he couldn’t walk across water on his own and not sink. He needed Jesus’ empowerment.

It made me wonder: what amazing things could we do if we asked Jesus to call and empower us to do them?!

What if we would do the same as Peter did, and ask Jesus to call us to do what we most desire to do? What if we would believe as Peter did, that with Jesus’ empowerment we can do whatever Jesus is doing and has put in our hearts to do?

We tend to live our lives doing the mundane, matching it to what we think is “normal,” and struggling to find joy and contentment in it. We wait and wait for a “call” from God so we know what to do with our lives. Meanwhile we ignore the many desires and interests God has already given us because we’re waiting for His call. We find ourselves becoming more and more dissatisfied with our lives.

But what if when God created us He already placed within our hearts, souls, and beings the desire for what He created us to do? What if He is just waiting for us to discover those desires and to ask Him to call and empower us before He provides the opportunities to do them?

Perhaps you already know what you desire to do and even have opportunities to do it, but you’re afraid you might fail. The amazing thing is that when Jesus creates us for something and calls us to do it, we can’t fail! If we start out and get discouraged He is always there to help us find our footing again. If we face huge waves of opposition, He will continue to empower us in spite of them.

So what are we waiting for?!

We tend to fall in one of three categories:

  1. We know what God created us for and we’re doing it!
  2. We know what God created us to do, but we’re allowing something like fear, uncertainty, finances, or our single status to hold us back.
  3. We really don’t know what God created us to do.

Community to Help Us

 No matter which of the three categories you identify with, as a single you may be feeling the lack of community or connection with others to give you support in living your purpose, knowing how to get started in it, or figuring out what it is.

That’s why I’ll soon be opening a 24/7 Membership Community on the Purposeful Singleness website. I know first-hand the feelings of isolation and disconnection from the Body of Christ, as well as the empowerment of finding connection and a place of belonging with fellow Christians. Whether you feel connected or disconnected, it’s always great to have those in similar walks of life to encourage and support us.

Finding Your Life Purpose and Living It

As I’ve mentioned before, my cousin and Life Coach Shari Baer is generously offering her services here on Purposeful Singleness. A number of you have taken advantage of this offer and have benefited from meeting with her via phone or Skype to discover your life purpose and to know how to move forward in it to live the abundant life Jesus came to give you! I want more to experience that life in abundance!

Expanded Resources and Services

As I’ve also mentioned before, this summer I took training to be a Life Coach and am excited to soon be able to offer my services here on Purposeful Singleness! Shari and I recognize that some of you may benefit from meeting with a Coach who is also single to work through those aspects of singleness that may be holding you back from moving forward in life. However, Shari will still be available with her experience for me to consult with , as well as to continue to coach those of you who would prefer a more experienced Life Coach. She is one of the best!

Stay Tuned!

All of these new and exciting things are being worked at behind the scenes. I’m so excited to be able to soon launch these new features of Purposeful Singleness and don’t want you to miss out! If you aren’t already subscribed to the mailing list, be sure to subscribe using the form below, and to click on the link in the email you receive almost immediately, to confirm your desire to be on the mailing list so you don’t miss out on any new information and announcements!

I’m looking forward to ALL God has for each one of us, and to seeing God empower singles all around the globe to do the work He created us to do!

[1] Matthew 14:22-36


What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below!

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Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Membership community - a place of belonging!

“It’s the only place open that time of night,” my friend said, imploring I understood his dilemma. And in fact, I did. Though not in his exact shoes, I knew that loneliness and the need to connect with others is no respecter of time, whether day or night.

“The doors of churches are closed and locked then, and no one is there,” he went on. “But the bar is open and people are there I can talk to or just be with.”

I truly did understand. But I also worried about his tendency to drink too much, and wished he could find  friends who would encourage him in his newly rediscovered walk with Christ.

Cheers - where everyone knows your nameIt was the early 1990s, and the television show Cheers with its opening theme song, Where Everyone Knows Your Name, was still in its heydey. Its setting in a friendly bar where staff and customers interacted with familiarity day after day presented a place of knowing and belonging that most everyone longs for. It’s no wonder Cheers was a popular show for more than a decade, and that reruns are still enjoyed.

I knew my friend was right. Somehow bars had gotten it right, and most churches hadn’t figured it out: it isn’t just Sunday mornings when people needed connection with others. It is day in and day out, night and day.

It was then that my dream of a coffee shop was born – a place that would be open until the wee hours of the the morning just like the local bar, giving an alternate choice for connecting with others.

I never did open a coffee shop. But I did start a website with a forum, and named it Purposeful Singleness. For many years people from around the world would visit the site at all hours of the day or night, reading and connecting with what others had written since they had last visited, and contributing their own thoughts for the next visitors to be encouraged by or to offer their encouragement.

It wasn’t ideal. Nothing is. But we learn from past experiences and discover ways of improving on them for next time. Many good things happened on that old-style discussion board. Most people were real and honest and caring. But many hid behind pseudonyms and some behind more than one, creating havoc. And then there were those who had discovered the ideal place to bully others: online, where no one knows their name.

After awhile moderating the board became overwhelming, even with help, especially as other events in my life also became time-consuming. And then there came a time where caring for family members took precedence over moderating a discussion board, and it was shut down.

Coffee shop open 24 hours a dayBut the need for single Christians around the world to have connection with others, especially those with similar life experiences, is still just as real as it was then. It’s impossible to have a coffee house where we can all gather in person. But we can have an online community. And this time it will be with better foresight and perimeters to provide freedom to be our true real selves, and to develop real relationships without fear of bullies hiding cowardly behind false identities. It will be a place we can come and go according to our own schedules, and be a place of knowing and belonging, because “everyone knows your name.”

A few have asked in the comments of the membership community survey the reason for charging to be part of the community, and that’s a reasonable question. There are multiple reasons. Here are a few of them:

  1.  The costs for operating such a community need to be covered, which is something I was not realistic about before, and is the only sustainable way of operating and growing such a community.
  2. It will provide funds to hold possible future in-person events, such as conferences or retreats, though there may be additional fees to cover the extra costs for those.
  3. It will help cover costs for producing content for the community, such as videos, workshops, Bible studies, and more.
  4. It is the most accurate way to insure members are operating under their true identities and not hiding behind a pseudonym or even multiple pseudonyms.

Where Everyone Knows Your [First] Name

 I asked in the survey what your preferences are for usernames. The options were 1) use real first names, 2) use real first and last names, or 3) post anonymously. The majority voted for using real first names, and I think that is the safest way to interact, while still using our real names as we develop real friendships with each other.

Not Another Matchmaking Site

As before, this new community forum will not be a dating site or matchmaking endeavor. It will be a place to make friends and enjoy community where we can “be there” for each other. Could romantic relationships develop naturally out of the community? Perhaps, and that’s fine if they do. But that’s not the goal or the purpose of the PS Membership Community.

Name That Community!

Speaking of “Membership Community” — that’s such a boring, generic name! I’m not great at naming things. I need your help to come up with a better name. Make your suggestions in the comments section below, or use the contact form to let me know! Thanks for your help!

Grand Opening

 So when will the doors of this where-everyone-knows-your-name community open? My best answer: as soon as feasibly possible! I’m working hard at it, but as I’ve discovered my life purpose I’ve also come to realize why it takes me so long to do technical things: it’s not the best I was designed and created to do! But I do already have website development skills under my belt, and until I can afford to hire those tasks out to those God created to excel at such things, I ask for your patience as I wrangle the technology to create a community of familiarity and belonging that I trust we’ll all come to love!

Don’t forget to let me know your suggestion for a name for our Membership Community! I would also love to hear your thoughts on finding community, whether in person or online. Has that been easy or difficult for you, especially as a Christian single?

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God is Always Awake

Sleep in peace. God is awake.

Sleep in peace. God is awake.

Do you ever lay awake at night because of thoughts that refuse to quiet down? Do you often wish you had someone to talk to at those times? Are those the times when you feel most alone?

I could say “yes” to all three of those questions, especially during specific periods in my life.

In last week’s post, Alleviating Loneliness – Membership Community for SinglesI introduced the possibility of starting a membership community here on the Purposeful Singleness website. You can read more about it in that post if you haven’t already, and be sure to take the survey embedded in that post or on the sidebar of any page on the site.

The response to the survey so far is an overwhelming “yes,” so I am moving forward in wrangling with the technology to make it happen! I’m excited to open the doors as soon as possible, so pray for me that I have a clear sense of how to pull it all together to make it a place where we can gather to develop real friendships and offer encouragement in real life situations.

One of the great aspects of an online community is that it can be available night or day and in every time zone and spot on earth where internet access is available! We are blessed to live in such a time, and it is my intent to implement the positive aspects of technology to connect with others and serve the Lord in ways not possible before this era we live in now.

But even more wonderful than the technology available to us in this modern era, is Someone who is available to us night and day and in every time zone and spot on the earth, whether internet is available or not! And He’s been available to every person from the beginning of time. I’m so grateful that God is always present, listening, talking, and giving His peace when the rest of my world feels upside down.

As a young adult attending Bible college, I owned a poster that I tacked to the wall above my bed in every dorm room I inhabited. “Sleep in peace, God is awake” was its message, and one I took to heart many times, and still do! I later discovered those words are an excerpt from a longer quote by Victor Hugo, a French writer who lived in the 1800s:

“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.” -Victor Hugo

My hope and prayer is that our Purposeful Singleness Membership Community that will be open and available 24/7 will be a huge blessing to all who choose to take advantage of it. But it will never be a substitute for committing our every care to the Lord, talking it over with Him, and then going to sleep in peace because we know He is awake keeping watch over all!

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Alleviating Loneliness – Membership Community for Singles

Membership Community for Singles SurveyWould you be interested in a Membership Community on the Purposeful Singleness website? The Community would be a membership area containing a members-only forum as well as exclusive content and possible future in-person events made available only to members.

The idea would be to foster a safe community where deeper friendships can form. Please note this would not be intended as a matchmaking endeavor, but rather a place for forming friendships and deeper connections with others.

A monthly or annual fee would be charged to cover the additional costs for running a membership area.

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