Your Deep Gladness

This weekend I’m going to talk to a bunch of teenagers about changing the world for good. So I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and writing and planning what I’m going to say to them.

I’ve spent hours scouring YouTube for short videos and clips that reinforce or demonstrate my points. Of course, I’ve also watched some pretty stupid videos that made me laugh but didn’t make the final cut of my presentation. And I may have wasted a good amount of time watching videos I knew had nothing at all to do with making a positive impact on the world. But YouTube suggested them over on the right side of my screen, and I’m a sucker for a funny video.

Anyway, back to my point. As I’ve thought about what I want to convey to these young adults, as I’ve thought about what things I can say to express my deep passion about this topic, one of my favorite quotes has been a steady refrain in my mind.

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.  –Frederick Buechner

For so many of us, our motivation tends to stem from ought to’s and should’s. We feel such obligation to do good things. As women and as Christian women, we especially are susceptible to volunteering or saying yes to service even when it is not at all a place of our deep gladness.

We are all unique. We learn differently; we have different strengths and abilities. We view and express beauty differently. My passions and concerns may not be the same as yours. The topics that get me all excited and jazzed may not be the same topics that strike your fancy.

I love that! I love that we are each fashioned in such a special way. I love that no two people will have the same combination of strengths and talents and personality and abilities and passions and concerns and convictions.

Because we are so different, we can have such a greater impact! No two of us are going to be approaching the same issues from the same perspective with the same skills and passion. Which means there is a greater chance that widespread good will be accomplished. That’s exciting!

Too often, though, we don’t find our sweet spot of service. We don’t freely enjoy our gifts and passions and skills and serve from that place. We try to force ourselves to serve exactly like Susie So-and-So because that’s what we think we’re supposed to do. And then the life is sucked out of us. Service becomes a drain on every bit of our energy. Because that’s not where God has called us. Maybe that’s where God called Susie So-and-So because that’s the place of her deep gladness. And God has called me to the place of my deep gladness. And God has called you to the place of your deep gladness.

Just today, a friend on Facebook posted this quote, which resonated within me.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. Then go do that because the world needs people who have come alive.  –Harold Whitman

The world has many needs. Your purpose can be found at the place of your deep gladness, in doing the things that make you come alive.

What makes you come alive? Where do you find your deep gladness? Do that in a way that serves and blesses others, that meets needs. That’s your purpose. That’s how you can change the world for good.


2 thoughts on “Your Deep Gladness

  1. That Fredrick Buecher quote is one of my absolute favorites and gets me in the gut every time. I use it whenever I get a chance to talk with EDs or people in the nonprofit world. They instantly get it. I never truly understood it for myself until I started working at FLS and got to see eye to eye what the world’s deep hunger looked like. This quote reminds me that it also took years of my searching and being obedient to what God was calling me to (through multiple job experiences and round abouts along the way) before I understood what this looked like for me.
    Another favorite of mine in the same vein is “Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” ~Helen Keller
    Thanks again for the reminder today. I pray your presentation to the teens goes well.


Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s