I have the privilege of knowing and loving many incredible people. One such woman is an exceptional leader, a self-starter, an overcomer, a warrior, someone who I look up to for her courage, gumption and tenderness, even though I happen to be older. It was her senior year of college and we were chatting in the crowded coffee shop on campus, staking our claim on a too-squishy couch, drinking something caffeinated. She was sharing with me her doubts and desires, her fears over all the uncertainty of what could be in the days ahead. She had yet to find a job and hadn’t heard back from the graduate programs she had applied to. She was afraid and wondering and couldn’t see what I saw.
I saw someone who trusted Jesus with herself. I saw someone who was exceptionally gifted and talented. I saw someone who knew herself and could represent herself honestly and kindly to others. I saw someone who was gracious and kind and brave. The words that came out of my mouth, after hearing her heart sounded something like this:
Whatever you do, it won’t be a waste. I know you have big dreams of changing systems and helping to educate youth. I know you have the drive and the fight to help make much needed change happen. I think those things are from Jesus. But here’s the thing. Your story could look much different than you think. You might go to graduate school and become a teacher. You might end up getting married sooner than later and end up at home with some babies. You might have an entirely unforeseen option land in your lap. Here’s what I know. Jesus sees you. He sees your dreams. Wherever he puts you won’t be a waste. That doesn’t mean it won’t feel that way on certain days, especially if it is vastly different that you were expecting. Jesus doesn’t waste a heart that is willing to follow him anywhere. Jesus doesn’t waste a soul that wants to do his bidding. Wherever you are, whatever you do, it won’t be a waste.
That conversation took place a few years ago now, and I have no idea if my friend remembers it or not. But I do. But since then, those words keep coming back to me. It is as if the Holy Spirit is asking my heart if I believe what is true, not just for someone else, but for my own soul too. These words keep echoing back to me in my current season.
I’ll admit that it is hard to step back and see myself. When the feelings are loud, it can be hard to declare that I am someone who trusts Jesus. It can be hard to feel brave or kind or gracious, even if I might in fact be those things.
My dreams aren’t the same as my friend’s, but I do have some. And I’ll be the first to admit that my story has ended up much different than I thought, which isn’t necessarily good or bad; just different.
And in the midst of so much different and unknown about my story, here’s the truth I’m preaching to my soul today, borrowing these words to a friend in that college coffee shop:
Jesus sees me.
He sees my dreams.
He has placed me here and it is not a waste.
It is okay if it feels that way on certain days. But the truth isn’t found in those feelings.
It doesn’t have to feel exciting or good or exceptional to be used by Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t waste a heart that is willing to follow him anywhere.
Jesus doesn’t waste a soul that wants to do his bidding.
Wherever I am, whatever I do, when it is for Jesus, it won’t be a waste.