As you start this week, may you notice what makes you come alive. What do you find yourself lost in, unaware of the time? What subject continually fascinates you? What could you talk about at length without getting bored (besides the latest binge-watching of Sherlock, of course)?
I posted this famous quote on the blog’s Facebook page a few days ago, and it sparked a few interesting comments:
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman
A few readers found it selfish, and I can see why it seems that way. It sounds like advice to put your needs before the needs of others. And maybe it means that, in some way.
But I read it as this: what makes you come alive is, in fact, what the world needs.
It’s easy to walk through the ins and outs of our weeks and months with a bit of numbing potion rubbed on our bodies—wake up, do this thing, then the other thing, rinse and repeat. Run errands, help with homework, log hours at the office. Day after day.
Now, there’s beauty in the everyday and in the small, so don’t get me wrong—I’ve come to appreciate the liturgy infused in my normal routine. But I often fail to recognize the liturgy itself, and that causes me to go a bit slack-jawed with malaise, too tired or too indifferent to the still, small stirring inside me that brings forth life.
But when I turn off the Spotify, when I stop the mental trails of dinner plans and play dates and work assignments, when I find a little quiet space for my brain and heart to do some dancing… I can sense a tap-tap-tap of life. I can hear God whisper to me ways and reasons He’s breathed into me life. And it involves, quite naturally, those things I can’t stop thinking about.
I bet it’s the same for you, too. And though it’s a noble question to ask what the world needs, it may not be the right question for you. When the good, God-given heart in you is stirred, it’s almost always for something the world needs anyway. In big and small ways.
And this doesn’t always have to translate to vocation—this thing that stirs in you may bring home a paycheck, or it might be a simple labor of love. At the Seattle meetup a few days ago, I chatted with a reader who works at a hospital but spends her off hours pouring her heart into serving her community. I could tell by the way she spoke about it that it’s her soul-stirring. It’s her gift to the world, because it makes her come alive.
This week, may you take time to be still, and to notice that stirring inside. What makes you come alive? Perhaps it’s what we all need you to do.
West coast readers, I’d love to meet you! Next up is San Francisco tomorrow, then Los Angeles (well, Tustin) on Friday, San Diego (well, Encinitas) on Sunday, and then finally at good ol’ Powell’s in Portland next week. Head here for details.