Living in Obscurity: Am I Missing God’s Plan for Me?

Today I'm grateful to have guest blogger Seana Scott here to share her heart with you: 

Friends from college are abolishing slavery. Neighbors are fostering to adopt. A family’s church planting in Poland, and the mom with a van full of kids is launching a book.

Meanwhile, am I missing God’s plan for me? Because I shuffle through my ordinary day—a grocery run, teaching my toddler shapes with a Melissa and Doug puzzle, ready-to-cook stir fry tossed in a pan, bedtime reading of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. 

And I try to push aside the feeling of missing out on “bigger” things for Jesus. 

The kids now lie asleep, and I settle in the living room with a heavy question for God: Is this it? And the Spirit reminds me: Life is not measured in what ministry you started or how much you accomplished. Life is measured in your surrender to Christ.

As I read names in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews chapter 11, I’m struck by how each person walked his or her path of surrender to God. And it looked a lot less like a professional portfolio—and more like hard work and suffering:

  • Sweat-soaked days hewing wood for a boat while living in a desert, Noah seemed like the town lunatic. He pressed on in faithful, obedient surrender.
  • Dusty, unsettled years raising kids on an unknown journey, watching their boys become men on the way—Abraham and Sarah pressed on in faithful, obedient surrender.
  • A murderous keeper of sheep standing before the most powerful ruler of the known world challenged him to release more than a million slaves. Moses pressed on in faithful obedient surrender. 

The Christian life—the surrendered-to-Christ kind of life—is lived in the path of God’s choosing. And for me (and probably for you too) the path is not always one we would choose. But I don’t want a tower-of-Babel life, trying to build my way to the top (even if I say it’s for Jesus). I want a leave-the-fishing-boat-and-follow-Jesus kind of life.

In my spiritual pity parties, the Holy Spirit often reminds me of Matthew 7:21: "Not all who say, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom, but he who does the will of the Father in heaven.' I can start a non-profit in His name, adopt 1,000 orphans in His name, abolish slavery in His name, but our God is one who delights in obedience and not sacrifice. Success comes in doing His will, not in our prideful pursuits to make a name for ourselves, even if it looks like service to Him on the outside.

Faithful obedient surrender (Heb. 11) is the path of greatest resistance, because it’s difficult to persevere in the humble work of obedience when it seems like others serve in holier ways. But God calls many of us to the less-seen lives of radical service. Sometimes it looks like advocating medical care for a sick family member, raking a neighbor’s leaves, helping a co-worker finish a reporting deadline, or holding crying babies every Sunday so moms can attend worship. 

Sure. It also may mean adopting an orphan, raising money for a water well, or caring for a widow. But the key is faithful obedient surrender—no matter what. For Paul the apostle, that meant imprisonment for the sake of the gospel. For me today, it means praying for my neighbors while I wash taco cheese off dinner dishes.

Sandra Glahn, who holds a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and a PhD in The Humanities—Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas/Dallas, is a professor at DTS. This creator of the Coffee Cup Bible Series (AMG) based on the NET Bible is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books. She's the wife of one husband, mother of one daughter, and owner of two cats. Chocolate and travel make her smile. You can follow her on Twitter @sandraglahn ; on FB /Aspire2 ; and find her at her web site: aspire2.com.