I was winding through the curves on some unfamiliar road thirty miles into the country. 10,000 Reasons played in the earbuds tucked inside my helmet. I rolled on the throttle of my Vulcan 800 Classic around a corner into a view that stopped my breath.
Dense, pine-covered hills with periodic burst of turning leaves rose to the base of Mount Hood. The green trees, the yellow leaves, and the white glacier were set out against the richest blue sky, a kind of blue that only exists after two weeks of steel grey clouds and rain.
The ride. The view of this country that I love. Our beautiful mountain. All to the soundtrack of a song that moves me deeply. Words came without thought: This is what I was made for.
Those words kept running through my mind for the next thirty miles. This is what I was made for. It was a moment of deep satisfaction, of joy, and I made a commitment to myself. It felt life changing.
Have you felt alignment before?
As these words rolled through my mind, I decided that I am going to increase the percentage of my life where I can say, This is what I was made for. I am going to do more of the things that bring this feeling up in me, and I am going to do less of the things that don’t.
Now, I don’t mean by this that I’m going to cut out on work so I can ride my motorcycle more… although I’ll bet that will happen from time to time. I mean that I am painfully aware that my time is a limited and diminishing resource.
I’m simply not going to waste it doing things that take me further away from who God made me to be. Tweet that
When you are doing the things that like up with who God made you to be, there is a deep satisfaction. This feeling is called alignment.
- I feel it when I’m deep in the flow of writing, where words and ideas are pouring out from some unexpected place.
- I feel it when I’m fully focused on my children, and they are focused back, and we are in the middle of something together.
- I feel it when I’m teaching and someone has the “aha!” moment.
- I feel it playing music, or speaking, or creating a moment of some kind where I can see someone being moved, someone sensing God’s presence in the room.
Those are the times for me. For you they are probably different, but I want to ask you this: When was the last time you said to yourself, “This is what I was made for!” What would take for you to be able to say it more?
Start Paying Attention!
I’m no expert. I’m not a career counselor or a life coach. I have no seven-step plan to help you find alignment in your life. All I know is that this is one of the most motivating and inspiring things I ever feel, and I want you to feel it too. As I’ve reflected on this, a number of things about this sense of alignment occur to me:
1. If you’re not taking risks, you’re probably not going to find it.
The comfort zone is… well, comfortable. It’s comfortable precisely because we know how it works, we know what to expect, and we’ve figured out how to limit our risk. But the same things that make the comfort zone comfortable mean you are not learning and growing.
2. If you’ve never felt this sense of alignment, you need to be concerned.
It’s possible that you’ve built a life around security and comfort, rather than around who God made you to be. Maybe it’s paying the bills, but it’s not satisfying your soul. Ephesians 2:10 says that you are God’s artwork, handcrafted by God to do good and beautiful things in the world. Maybe it’s time to start looking for the good and beautiful things you were made to do.
3. Being good at something doesn’t mean that’s your calling.
Parents, school and career push us inexorably toward the things we’re good at. There certainly are times when the things we’re good at do in fact line up with our calling. But here’s what I’ve learned: I’ve gotten good at a lot of things. Not because I love them, or because they’re a good match for who I am, but because I’ve lived much of my life desperate for approval. When you’re good at something, you get that. But that feeling of alignment isn’t about the approval of someone else; it’s about the satisfaction that comes internally from living out who you were made to be.
4. If you’re not paying attention to your life, you’re going to miss it.
I’ve been learning a tremendous amount about presence lately. I’ve spent so much of my life being somewhere else. Going over the past again and again, or rehearsing the future that might come. Trying to understand past hurts and avoiding future pain. But none of that is now, and now is where my life is happening. Now is where my relationships live. Now is where God is speaking to me. If I’m not present, there’s no way I’m going to notice when I’m living in alignment.
Do something today that you were made for.
If you have some sense of where alignment happens for you, you need to to start structuring your life so that you can be in that place more. For some of us it’s a simple adjustment. For others, it will upend our sense of security.
Think it through:
- Is there a way for you to do this thing in your current life and work?
- Is there a way to do this as a side project?
- Is there a way to volunteer and try to do this more?
- Is there a way to shift your work, so that you can get paid for this thing?
At first it seems selfish to think this way. That’s how it felt for me. But here’s the truth. Living in alignment with who God made you to be is not selfish. You honor the God who made you when you do this. It’s very likely to be the way you’ll make the greatest difference for others.