Tuesday, July 2, 2013

This is the way; walk in it

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Isaiah 30:21
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, 
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”


So my job at the church ended at the end of May. Even good change is always uncomfortable and takes adjusting to get used to. I love my church family and will simply be doing other things that better fit my spiritual gifts. I got to let go of the office busy work and most of the tech stuff at this point and am focusing on creating a team of prayer warriors and creative people who will help with future prayer lofts and various service elements.

What it did mean was that I needed to re-think my job possibilities and where I was spending time and energy that might be better used. I needed to discover who exactly God has created me to be. I have done a lot of things, and gained a lot of skills just because things needed done. I have approached ministry from a stand point of being available to do what ever God needed done. So after years and years of doing things that way- you can't just take a spiritual gifts test to figure it out  - because you've become good at a lot of things.  I did feel pretty strongly that God was calling me to something out side of the church.

Much of the month I felt like I was just drifting with no clue where I might be headed next. I thought about lots of different occupations. Honestly most of the time it felt like there was a big wheel with a spinner  - pick a job any job. Butcher, Baker and Candlestick maker are not in really in demand these days. I thought about nursing and counseling and art therapy all of which would mean a lot of school. At age almost 52 the thought of a lot of school, even with grants and scholarships I'd be looking at loans to then pay off for a career that I might not even be able to begin working in for four maybe even six years.

So I have spent the month reading books like the Path, Jesus Career Counselor, and The Power of Positive Prophecy all by one of my favorite writer coaches, Laurie Beth Jones. My dad sent me a wonderful book called What Should I do with My Life by Po Bronson that was filled with short stories of people who had decided it was time to follow their dreams or do something completely different with their lives. Actually my favorite quote came from that book. "Here's my point" all we get is a glimmer. A story we read or someone we briefly met. A curiosity, a meek voice inside, whispering. Its up to us to hammer out the rest." So I have spent the month thinking about the common threads, the glimmers and the things I locked away because at various points because I just couldn't deal with them. One day I felt like the Lord said to me "Margot go back and visit your granola bar roots." So in my young pre Christian life I was into alternative everything. I had a lot of new age ideas, and a lot of interest in all things wellness. The problem was that when I became a Christian, I was not able to sort out what was good and what was junk from my old life so I pretty much left it behind. Not to mention there was some heart break that I didn't want to think about so I locked it away and just kept moving forward. I was a new creature in Christ after all so I found new things to do. Music and art never got completely locked up but I rarely sang old pre-Christian songs, and my art ventured into more of the graphic design side of things or production work. I really didn't paint much anymore. So parts were locked up and left behind and some things found their way into my new life as a believer.

A few years ago all that locked up stuff started to rattle their chains. I really did not even know what all was there anymore. I had come across some verses that talked about the secret place. I had always read those verses and  thought that God had secret places where He wanted to meet us. One day I looked at them from another angle. What if I had secret places and the Lord wanted me to invite Him into them. Thus began a very long journey of uncovering layers and layers of painful stuff. I had spent much of my life avoiding anything painful.  I found out that as I invited the Lord into some of those dark, broken, wounded, damaged places that He did not condem me or shake His almighty finger at me and say "I told you, that was a bad choice..." He met me with compassion and understanding. He took the time to clean my wounds and allowed me to see where I needed to repent and where I needed to forgive. Sometimes he would want to deal with an area and I would tell Him I will, but I can't do it yet. He was wonderfully patient. I would think I had gotten through everything and He would give me a season of rest. Then we would start again and I would find out that there was more stuff I had not even looked at. Honestly even now I am still sorting somethings out.

Anyway about half way through the month of June, I started to notice a glimmer. As I have thought about my strongest spiritual gift it has to do with intercession and prayer and laying hands on people. I can't always explain it but when I lay hands on people to pray for them God shows me stuff. Over the years I have learned to go with those nudges from the Holy Spirit, little words of wisdom or knowledge. Most of the time it ends with the person crying and saying how did you know. Or I pray for them and they would say after wards that was exactly what I was struggling with - how did you know. So I started to follow the bread crumbs and little clues along the path that the Lord seemed to be dropping for me. I knew the next step was something outside of the church. How could I use my gifts in a way that would not freak people out, in a secular setting? Where might I use pastoring gifts and encouragement outside of the church. Coaching makes sense so I will continue to build on that but I knew there was more. I started to think about the possibility of Massage Therapy - now there's a way to lay hands on people.

I have visited several schools and found one that I really like. I have talked to some of the people closest to me to to see if they felt I was moving in the right direction. All have been very positive and felt it would be a good fit for me.  Then I have kind of let it sit and rest. There is the initial excitement over a new idea and I have kind of wanted to let it rest and wear the idea for a bit. I've been reading books and visiting various websites. At this point I am working through how to pay for it so I can start in September. I am working on picking up new guitar students, and coaching clients during the times I won't have classes or need to be studying and I have family who has offered to help once I figure out what I want to do, that I still need to talk to. So little by little I keep taking  steps of faith. I had asked the Lord to give me a new dream and I am starting to see one along with a direction move in to get there.

The journey toward your Big Dream changes you. In fact, the journey itself is what prepares you to succeed at what you were born to do.
And until you decide to pursue your Dream, you are never going to love life the way you were meant to.     ~ Bruce Wilkinson

So to sum this all up I've had to sift through a lot of stuff, believing that the Lord would lead me and help me to figure out and answer the question, What Should I Do With My Life? I'm sure there is still a lot of refining and greater understanding that I will gain as I go along. For now I have this glimmer and I am working to hammer out the details.

Prayer: I pray that the Lord will help you to uncover what needs to be uncovered in your own life. That you will find that glimmer of hope to move towards. That you will hear His voice behind you saying "this is the way, walk in it." I pray you will have the courage to let go of things you no longer need, and even good things so that you can reach for His best for you.

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