How We Fulfill Our Destiny

 

I remember the terror of the moment, just before I turned to lay my eyes on him. I was terrified because the dream I had dreamed two weeks before was now playing itself out, in every detail.

I stepped onto The Quad, just like in my dream. Yes, the crowd was milling around me, just like in my dream. And now, the bus was pulling up on my left, just like in the dream. And yes, I felt eyes upon me, someone behind me, whose gaze bore into my back, just like in my dream.

No matter how adventurous we are, when the veil is torn away and the incontrovertible evidence of the supernatural penetrates our “safe” little physical world, it is unnerving. In my dream, I had felt those eyes on me and had turned to see a guy grinning at me, holding a stash of books loosely against his hip. Two weeks later, wide-awake on Duke’s West Campus, I felt those eyes on me and became paralyzed, terrified to turn around. The last thought that streamed through my mind was, “If you don’t turn around, you might miss your destiny.” I turned. And there he was, just like in the dream. Three years later, doors would open and he would be waiting at the end of a church aisle–tears unabashedly washing his face, grinning, gazing straight into my eyes.

For years I’ve known the title of the book I would write some day: How We Fulfill Our Destiny. But it is one thing to know the title and another to know the message.

Whenever my thoughts turn to the subject of destiny, I always see God dreaming His dreams for us. Sweet and powerful, like the trailer of a movie, that image draws me in, giving me a taste of what is to come, making me want to know more…

Before college, when I was living at home with my parents: Was my dream of the first time my eyes would fall on my future husband to-be God’s dream “being dreamed into me”? That morning on The Quad, was that God’s dream penetrating time and space in the sequence of events that played it out? Is it possible to miss our destiny? Or does God’s dream come true, no matter what we do?

 

When the time came to begin this book, I balked, hesitating to enter a mystery so sacred, afraid that my human conjecture might defile it. It is scary, because destiny is holy ground and great controversy over it has torn believers apart.

It was time, but I did not know how to begin. Then someone handed me a book and I opened to this paragraph.

 

The Dream of the Kingdom

“When God broke into our reality in the person of Jesus Christ, He did so with a dream in His heart – the dream of reunification with His lost children, and a restoration of all things unto himself (Colossians 1:20). That Re-gathering was to be undertaken by the expression of his kingdom – his royal, sovereign dominion, expressed in the hearts and lives of men and women – His children, and ultimately, over all time-space and the dimension beyond. “ [1]

Light exploded in my mind the instant my eyes shifted from my destiny to His Kingdom… from His dream for me to His dream of reunification with those He loves.

In that instant I saw how
We fulfill the dream God has dreamed for us
As our life becomes bound up in His greater dream of The Kingdom.

On the day of my conversion–when I cried out, “God, tell me what I’m missing!!” and I saw the name “Jesus” written gold upon the air–the horrific thought that Christians might be right filled me with aversion and revulsion, repulsing me. I hated what I thought Christianity was.   But I remember the last thought that streamed through my mind before I turned, “Valerie, do you want to live your life outside the truth?”

God was speaking to me in my thoughts… and in that moment I realized that a life lived outside the truth would have no meaning.

The day I read the short paragraph about God’s dream of The Kingdom, I realized that a lifetime lived outside that Kingdom would have no value.

*

THE PHENOMENON of Collaboration

In the two stories I’ve just shared–seeing my husband for the first time and the moment of my conversion– God’s dreams for me were penetrating time and space to be realized. Look carefully, and you will see the same pattern: a conversation inciting collaboration.

In both cases, God orchestrated a series of events that became “a conversation” leading me to make a choice. And both times, when I found myself unable to respond appropriately, the clarity of an ultimatum stripped my apprehension, enabling me to turn. Both times, I was responding to God… collaborating with divine intent… so that He could draw my life into His greater purpose.

This is how we fulfill our destiny.

Hebrews 11:7
Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in godly fear built an ark to save his family.

 Hebrews 11:8
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, without knowing where he was going.

We fulfill our destiny as our life is bound up in God’s greater dream, as we respond to the divine dialogue coming to us from beyond time and space, from beyond ourselves.

Our collaboration with Him: THIS  is where the thrill lies! This is where we experience things that defy “natural” explanation. This brings the goose bumps and exhilaration of realizing that you are being “led.”   For those of us familiar with THE PHENOMENON of collaborating with God: we don’t see coincidences, we see His hand at work. The stronger our collaboration, the more alive we become to His presence, as He makes Himself real to us. When the desire of our heart is to collaborate with His intentions: we will discern His voice, we will hear His heart. And as we prayerfully express our thoughts to Him, we’ll sense His thoughts streaming back.

This PHENOMENON–this incredible collaboration with God–demands something of us and something of Him.

When we do not know the way to go, it demands that we wait for instruction.

And it demands that He send light into our darkness to show us the way.

It is an art, on our part, that takes time to master.  And it is with most serious intent, on His part, that He undertakes our instruction.

*

Why It Is a Serious Matter

God’s dream of The Kingdom stands in stark contradistinction to the world we live in. It is painfully clear that the anger and fear, the suffering and sorrow, the greed and distortion… the denial of absolute truth… scorn of Jesus’ relevancy and rejection of any right God has over us is not His kingdom. In this present darkness, lost children, not knowing their condition, rebuff their Father’s dream of reunification.

To be lost means that the purpose for our being is not being realized…
We are losing ourselves and we are lost to God,
Abdicating the collaboration for which we were created,
in favor of doing what seems right in our own eyes.

This present darkness is The Matrix of Deception, into which every human being is born. It’s deception so strong, that it is a miracle any of us escape. The day of my “rescue” (my conversion), The Matrix had so shaped my thinking, exerting such control over me, that just the idea that Christians might be right filled me with sickening dread.

The Enemy, who is evil and destruction incarnate, inhabits The Matrix. Scripture calls him “the prince of the power of the air,” the god of this world. He can create nothing, but he twists everything. He twists the truth into a lie, and life into death.

The story about Eve and the serpent in the garden … it’s a story telling how The Matrix came into being … how the intimacy of conversation drawing us into collaboration with God’s purpose was twisted into the intimacy of deception drawing us into collaboration with The Enemy’s take-over.

The danger of The Matrix to us is so serious, that God will stop at nothing, doing whatever it takes on His part, to draw us into the necessary conversation and collaboration that will cause us to turn, bringing us out of The Matrix.   The divine dialogue is that fragile line of communication: light into darkness, His words stealing through the iron grip of The Matrix to reach us and cause us to turn.

One day, His Kingdom will come. But for now, it is a rebel outpost operating alive and well in hostile territory. And He has told us to occupy until He comes.

 

Journal From the Rebel Outpost

One by one we have staggered in, freshly ripped from The Matrix of Deception. I remember my first day, Jesus telling me to, “begin reading the Gospel, and do not change a word of it to fit your prior beliefs.”

Recruits in training, fumbling and stumbling, each of us bears the stamp of humility: we were so blind, so wrong. And yet, we glow with the luminous realization of His love for us… eager to tell the story of how He personally brought us out.

None of us feels worthy, that while we were His enemies, He loved us so much: literally emptying Himself, leaving His realm to enter this world, taking on flesh as a man to die for us… destroying the work of the devil,  the power of The Matrix to hold us.

No truth is more central to those who belong to the outpost.

 

We love Him and serve Him with our lives. We train. We grieve for those we left behind. We make forays into hostile territory. Sometimes we come back whipped and bleeding, having not properly grasped the import of disciplined cohesion under authority. Other times we return flushed with victory, exhilarated and yet greatly humbled.

We spend time in The Ancient Record: revered, protected and passed down for centuries among us who belong to the outpost. It makes one wise in knowing the voice of God. We practice long hours in prayer, learning the delicate art, mastering our fragile line of communication with our King. The divine dialogue is powerful and clear, but it is rendered fragile in us … for as long as it must vie with human conjecture. We learn to hate human conjecture, seeing it for the counterfeit it is, trusting our own opinions less and less, listening harder… for what He is saying.

As a watchman belonging to the outpost, I take my place on the wall. Gazing steadily into the hostile darkness, the sober power of The Matrix weighs upon my heart; but all fear is cast out by the burning glory in my breast.

Leaning into the fort’s strong wall, I draw strength and rest. Under His command, in the company of valiant brothers, I am fully confident that the dreams God has dreamed for us will play themselves out …  inextricably bound up in His ageless dream of The Kingdom.

 

[1] Tom Johnston and Mike Chong Perkinson, The Organic Reformation, Page 1

 

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  1. Duhi Schneider says:

    Dear Valerie,
    I agree with you! Spending time in God’s Word helps me distinguish His voice from many other voices in this world. Thank you for sharing!
    Love, Duhi

  2. Seth Barnes says:

    Valerie, this was so good:

    “…events became “a conversation” leading me to make a choice. …the clarity of an ultimatum stripped my apprehension, enabling me to turn.… collaborating with divine intent… so that He could draw my life into His greater purpose.”

    I think that’s how it works. And he knows our frame and is tender with us, as we would be with a newborn. I think he even backs us up when we miss it, but leap out in faith flailing. I think he rescues us in midair, just because he loves to see us trying.

  3. Jean Young says:

    I remember Jeanie saying that as we study God’s word we begin to learn His language. The word is His life in printed form, and as we meditate on His word, we can begin to discern His language speaking to us in other ways. The more fluent we become in His language, the greater our recognition of His invitation to collaborate with Him. Thank you for standing firm at your post and sharing with us as you are being taught.
    Love you, friend.
    Jean

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