By Dianne Barker
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” (Psalm 127:1NIV).
Got it. Unless the Lord does it, our best efforts will fail.
Synonyms for “vain” are ineffective, hopeless, unsuccessful, unproductive, futile, useless, worthless.
Why would anyone pursue such a life? Who gets up in the morning desiring your day’s work be ineffective, unsuccessful, unproductive, futile, useless, worthless?
We’re off and running, determined to achieve something significant. But if we’re trusting in our own wisdom and strength, our best efforts will be futile.
God created us for a purpose. The greatest disappointment in life is coming to the end of it, never having achieved the purpose for which we were created.
How do we discover God’s purpose?
I accepted Christ at seven and during teen years sensed a desire in my heart to write. At eighteen I landed my dream job writing for the local newspaper while attending college. Within a few weeks, I had my own weekly column. Being young, bold, and confident I had answers to life’s big questions, I often injected my Christian faith.
After finishing college, trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
There was no passion for anything else.
I joined the newspaper’s fulltime staff. Besides writing my column and news stories, I covered many religious events and evangelistic crusades. The Lord brought a host of celebrities across my path: Corrie ten Boom, Vance Havner, Bob Hope, Joan Crawford, Debbie Reynolds, Johnny Cash, Jerry Clower, and others. I shook hands with President Richard Nixon.
The newspaper sent me to Minneapolis to attend the School of Christian Writing, sponsored by Decision Magazine, founded by Billy Graham. I met Dr. Sherwood Wirt, founding editor, who became a friend and mentor.
A year later while covering Dr. Graham’s ten-day crusade in Knoxville, Tennessee, I reconnected with Dr. Wirt. Through his influence I was chosen to write a book about the crusade, Billy Graham in Big Orange Country—my first book at twenty-four.
Clebe McClary, a Vietnam hero from South Carolina, saw the book and asked me to write his story, Living Proof. Through Clebe I met Harold Morris and wrote his story, Twice Pardoned, first book for Focus on the Family Publishing and a 1986 national Christian bestseller.
That book (still available on Amazon, 1.5 million copies in print) surpassed my dreams.
God built the house! I simply followed Jesus, sensitive to impressions of my heart and opportunities he presented. He kept me close, whispering encouragement, whenever the path wound through disappointment and difficulty.
Have you grown weary pursuing dreams, only to slam into a stone wall? Pick yourself up and dare to dream again!
- Pray, diligently seeking guidance from the Lord, and study his Word.
- Be sensitive to desires of your heart.
- Consider your natural talents and learn your spiritual gifts; often natural talents and spiritual gifts are related.
- Ask godly friends for counsel. They may recognize abilities you haven’t seen and suggest opportunities you haven’t considered.
- Use what you have and serve where you are. Don’t wait for something amazing to come along. Be faithful where God has placed you.
Your purpose on this earth at this moment in time is to serve and glorify him. Stay as close to Jesus as you can get. He still calls disciples with a simple invitation. “Follow me.”
Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.