Here at Iowa State, I attend a church service group called SALT Company on Thursday nights, which is held at a newly developed, non-denominational church called Cornerstone. Nearly 2,000 other college students gather to worship Jesus by singing beautiful contemporary Christian music led by a band (my personal favorite part.) In addition to that, the pastors lead the auditorium through a certain section of the Bible that we are focusing on that week. We read through and break down the passage as the pastor explains what it means and how to live out the main ideas of God's teaching in our daily lives. I was raised in the Catholic church, was enrolled in the Catholic school system my entire life and attended mass twice a week. Coming to college, I was not at all used to the modern and contemporary type service that Cornerstone would offer, but it truly has been one of the most life-changing and faith-forming experiences I have had for that exact reason.
I want to share with you our focus message this past week, because it was one that I think everyone needs to be reminded of.
Have you ever asked yourself, "What is my purpose?" We, especially as college students, revolve our minds around this question so often. "How am I supposed to know what I want to do with my life, I'm 20 years old!" is the question I struggle with the most. We go through life searching for a purpose. We're searching for that "next step." Where am I going? Where am I supposed to go next? Where am I ultimately going to end up? This is human nature. We want to know everything about our lives, right now, at this very moment, all at once.
Instead of asking ourselves, "What is my purpose in life?", we need to shift our thinking to, "What is God's purpose for my life? Where does He need me, and how can I carry out my life in order to accomplish what He put me on this earth to do?"
Whether you believe this or not, we were made in God's perfect image to carry out His (remember, not OUR) plan for each of our lives. God knows our every next move, even though we may not. The questions that I mentioned above that constantly revolve in our minds -- God knows the answers to all of them. It is up to us to place our complete trust in Him in order to ultimately end up where God needs us to be. I almost feel a bit hypocritical for saying this, but I'm going to say it anyway because I need to be reminded as well: there is so much beauty found in the unknown. God has so many wonderful paths He is going to lead us down that we don't even know exist yet. Sure, we get down because something doesn't go the way we want it to. We don't get that leadership position, we didn't get accepted for that new job we really wanted, that relationship we loved ended. In those instances, remind yourself that if something is meant for you, it will be. Nothing that is truly good and meant for you will ever pass you by. It may leave you for a bit, but if it is meant to be there, it will be.
Hear this: God did not make any part of you on accident. Your passions, your strengths, your talents... they are all a part of who you are because God is going to use those things in you to carry out His ultimate plan. Our lives will be most fulfilled if we use those passions, strengths and talents to carry out what He needs us to do in this life.
I couldn't help but, at the end of the service, reflect on the final thought the pastor said. "Your past, your present, your future... it is all molded perfectly for how your life is going to turn out." I foundso much peace in knowing that I have a God who is in complete control of every aspect of my life, including my past, my present and in what is to come. Think about that you guys. Everything that has happened thus far in our lives was supposed to happen. Though that reason may not be clear now, someday it will be. God works perfectly, without mistake. Trust in what He is doing for your life.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6