In a recent trolling of social media, this meme caught my attention:
An ironing board is just a surf board that gave up on its dream job.
Don’t be an ironing board.
Messages like this have a way of getting us excited. They spur us on toward reaching the stars or being our best self. But this day,my heart quickly found itself pondering:
“What if God made me an ironing board?”
There have been times I’ve been convinced that I was made for big and bold things. Yet here I am in my mid-30’s. I love my life, but it is neither big nor bold, and it’s not what I’d define as a surfboard vision. Some days that’s discouraging. Like I missed my opportunity or have failed to do something that would have opened a different door along the way.
But what I’m realizing is that discouragement comes from a misplaced valuation of life assignments: as if on stage, or in print, gives a ministry or career more value. We have to remember that no one is valued in God’s kingdom based off of anything he or she does. The Bible says that “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,” and that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Isaiah 64:6 and Romans 5:8). If He loved us and died for us when there was no part of us worthy of that kind of love, and He gives us gifts to use for His glory, it would seem that whatever gift and calling He hands out is worthy because He made it so. It must be if He wants it done. And being used of God is valuable – to Him, to the church, and to the world. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
We also must ask ourselves, “Are the stars we are reaching for in life actually the dreams and goals the Lord has called us to?”As a believer, we do have a calling of obedience to the Lord, and a responsibility to walk closely with Him so as not to miss what He has for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). But instead of looking for what He has prepared, which can often be mundane and simple, it can be easy to desire the big and beautiful and be frustrated when that isn’t what we have or who we are.
“LORD my God, you have done many things,” Psalm 40:5 says. “Your wondrous works and your plans for us, none can compare with you.” None can compare with Him. So why do we fight His plans for us when they don’t look the way we’d hoped? Maybe it’s because we’ve worked a long time for our plans, and giving them up feels like failure. Maybe our plans are written out with back up plans and detour options.
But friend, if the Lord isn’t in it, do you really want to be?
If He has truly called you into something you have defined as “surf board vision,” then yes, press into His leading, and get it done! BUT, if you sense Him molding your life’s work into more of an ironing board, you need to recognize it as His call just the same, press into His leading, and also get it done.
A precious friend and mentor once shared that she felt like she could have had a public ministry, and do big things for the Lord. Yet, He didn’t give her that assignment. He asked her to be a stay at home mom and wife, who ended up homeschooling her children, serving the elderly, and investing in many different lives around her. She would be in my personal “Hall of Faith” like we find in Hebrews, because of the way she chooses to walk out her faith in fear and trembling, daily. Doing little things that add up to so much in God’s kingdom. I could cry now thinking about that moment. Her story simultaneously inspired me the same way well-known bible teachers and speakers have, and also validated my own story. If she, a woman who loves the Lord with all her heart, soul, and mind, and serves Him in the hard places and in small things, even when she doesn’t feel like it, could comfort and inspire my soul to greater daily living and influence on those around me, then that’s the kind of ministry I want. Being sold out for Jesus and His glory, even if it looks like an ironing board to some.