Your Life's Beautiful and Practical Purpose


I don't spend a lot of time thinking about the past. I tend to focus on what's in front of me and I suppose I have a straight-forward, no-nonsense approach to most things in life. 

I'm never quite sure if that's a good thing or not.


A former boyfriend once told me that what he liked best about me was that I was so . . .


{I waited breathless, eyes staring into his, wondering what he would say. Beautiful? Witty? Kind?}

Practical.

Oh. Hmmmm. Not what I expected.

He must have noticed my disappointment because he followed up with a very long explanation of how GOOD it was to be practical.


So when pieces of the present start reminding me of the past, I imagine that I should take a practical approach {like a good, sensible pair of walking shoes} to my uncertainty, knowing that somehow things will in due time make beautiful sense.


Even if I can't quite see it right now.



I wonder if your life's resume might look similar to mine?


Through the years I’ve held an assortment of jobs since I graduated from college, eager to embark on a writing career equipped with a degree in journalism. 


But it didn’t unfold quite the way I’d imagined. 


Years ago after working monotonous days at a banking software company, I thought I was getting closer to my profession when I landed a job with a helicopter company that flew local TV reporters to wherever news was breaking.




I took frantic phone calls from news desk producers bellowing for a helicopter to race their reporter to the scene so their station could be first to break the news.

After the pilot was dispatched, the producer would call back firing questions at me, “Have the other stations called yet? Are we first? What kind of a head start do we have?”

Every day was filled with urgency, chaos and plenty of barking orders. 


As exciting as this job sounded when I took it, it was demanding and stressful, 
and I begged God to help me find a new job.
  


Even though it was hard to see at the time, there was treasure buried deep in that difficult place. 


It was there, while I was desperate and stuck, that I had my first encounter with a Macintosh computer {a rarity at the time}. As I created marketing materials, I learned valuable design skills that I’ve carried with me to every job afterward. 

When I get discouraged about where I am today or wonder what tomorrow might hold, I take a look at my past.

Because in the midst of those miserable days at the helicopter company, I was asked to join a volunteer committee planning a charity event starring Kathie Lee Gifford and Regis Philbin.



It was at these meetings {where I sat terrified that the committee would discover I really didn’t know much about promotion and publicity} that I learned how to handle a myriad of details to pull off a successful event. 


And it was the recommendation from a fellow committee member for a new job planning education courses that was finally the answer to my prayer to leave the helicopter company.


Only on the other side of these tight spots where it seemed I was in such a hard place, could I see that God did answer my prayers and work out his purposes, just not as quickly as I wanted or exactly how I thought.


Because I think God sometimes asks me to get my feet wet first. And then he shows me the next step.




I work and I wait and I pray, thinking that my dreams don't look like I think they should. 

While I'm restless to move on, God is working out his purposes to make me ready for what's coming next. Whatever that may be.

As I've learned to trust his timing, God is doing a work in my character while he unfurls his plans for me. 

Sometimes he just says, Not yet. 

Does he say it to you too? 



Stay put, it’s not time to leave the job yet. 
Be patient, you’re not ready to start that business right now. 
Trust me, the timing’s not quite right for that relationship.

It’s perseverance he’s after, and it’s trust we’re to lean into.

And then we remember that he tells us that his ways are not our ways. {Is. 55:8}


Maybe I wouldn't have been able to handle any of the experiences God had for me later without all the time spent being refined and matured in hard, dusty, parched places. 


But there's always some refreshment, even in the arid places.



During my year at the helicopter company, I sometimes went flying with the pilots, once just to have lunch at a resort, landing at a hotel helipad like a celebrity. 


And after serving on the charity event committee, I sat in the audience, star-struck as Kathie Lee and Regis stood beside my table on their way to the stage and lit up the jam-packed ballroom with their performance.


Even the worst jobs and the most intimidating events have something to offer. 

And that's the practical purpose of life's experiences I'm trying to keep in mind.




Even though I might have a practical approach to life, one thing I'm really not practical about is my shoes. I stubbornly insisted on wearing heels to walk all over Paris {that's me on the right and you can read about it here}, and I'll wear high heels over sneakers any day. 

On the rare occasion I do pull out a pair of flats, they’re sure to have a little bling. 

So I guess for all practical purposes maybe I’m just a down-to-earth girl with her head in the clouds looking for the beautiful silver lining. 

And maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.





I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Come join us by clicking the image!

Comments

  1. no wonder that boyfriend turned out to be 'former'!!

    ;-}

    and you just won't believe it, but I just took your Paris shoes to the consignment shop yesterday and bid them a fond farewell. i loved those shoes! but my feet screamed, 'no, no!' every time I wore them.

    sigh.

    but this here - 'I’m just a down-to-earth girl with her head in the clouds looking for the beautiful silver lining.'

    absolutely delightful, Valerie.

    ;-}

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    1. Linda,
      You are a brave woman to part with the shoes -- I'm afraid if I loved them, I would have put up with the pain and turned deaf ears to my screaming feet! Always grateful for your visit here!

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  2. Practical? So romantic! Obviously a real Don Juan!

    I am still waiting for you to debut some tennis shoes! Of course the Earth may careen out of orbit at that point! It may be best for all of mankind if you stick to your heels, which you always pull off so expertly. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Brittany,
      You may indeed be waiting for a very long for me to debut tennis shoes -- however, I do use them for exercising -- which is the only appropriate use for them in my opinion. :) Thanks for good-naturedly putting up with my shoe rules and even wearing the high heels yourself -- which you do beautifully! :)

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  3. It's like you're speaking right to me Valerie! And YES I tend to get the "Not yet" vibe a lot lately! Thanks for the sweet reminder that some things are worth the wait and there's a treasure buried in everything that doesn't seem so great at the time! I guess we just have to be willing to dig. ♥
    P.S. I love how you have your desk situated in front of the bookcase- kind of acts like a little hutch : )

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    Replies
    1. Heather,
      Glad you liked the bookcase location -- I ran out of space so tucked into the corner so I have something nice to look at when I'm working at desk! :)

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  4. Valerie,
    I used to love wearing heels...until my fetish for heels led me to foot surgery...which then has let me to a new love of flats lol. Fashion aside, I have a mentor who told me that if Perseverance were a class, I'd get an A+. No one wants to go through trials and struggles, but like you said, God is more concerned about our character than our comfort. I have also found, that in the persevering, I have been drawn into a loving, caring, and comforting relationship with God that I otherwise would not have. It truly is the "silver lining". Thanks for a great post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    Replies
    1. Bev,
      Oh no -- foot surgery would certainly put an end to the high heels! I think you know from experience how to persevere and you're right -- there are benefits even in the most difficult circumstances. So grateful for your words!

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  5. Valerie- I loved hearing your story and how God has worked in your life- Thank you for the encouragement- I often struggle feeling this way too and being patient and hopeful when things don't look like I wished. This is so good- and what I am going to think on for a bit"-It’s perseverance he’s after, and it’s trust we’re to lean into." simple but difficult isn't it?! thank you for this lovely post- with much love susie

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    Replies
    1. Susie,
      Yes! Trust is such a difficult thing to do for such an abstract word. I don't think I'm ever going to learn exactly how to do that but I somehow think if we lean into him, we'll trust a little bit better. So glad for your kind words!

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  6. Beautiful! And very timely for me, as I am in a "not yet" season. Thank you for your beautifully practical words! Silly man...

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    1. Ellen,
      How sweet are your words! (and yes, silly is a good word!) Not yet seasons seem to turn up quite frequently for me so I'm glad we are in this together, friend! :)

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  7. I feel like I have heard not yet way too many times....until I look back and see how important those times were. I am so glad that God knows better than me!

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    1. Sarah,
      It's the looking back that helps us see the value, doesn't it? It's just so hard to figure out at the time! And maybe that's they key -- don't try to figure it out -- just trust!

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  8. Very nice post! Yes I do read these sometimes Valerie. When I have those "not yet" moments, I stop and remember God has given me plenty of "do it now!" moments in the past which have always led to great things for me. However, as you've probably figured out at work, I have a hard time waiting for those moments and I want to just get to the next step, next level or next big project. I am actively working on my patience and just trying to learn from the experience at hand. Your words are inspirational.

    By the way, I will wear a regular tie to work one day if you wear sneakers.

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    Replies
    1. Ben,
      I was just wondering if anyone I knew in real life actually reads my posts! Nice to have you here! :) Yes, it is a difficult thing to wait for God's timing but I think patience is often the hardest thing to learn.

      And I appreciate the challenge to actually see you in a regular tie, but sneakers? To work? I think you offered because you know it will never happen!! :)

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  9. Oh my dear, you have no idea how much I needed to hear your words today. Thank you for sharing.

    Not only does someone from your real life read your posts, but someone from your OOOLLLDDD life. :-) BTW, I am a heels gal too. If memory serves, we even wore them to the Pirate games....

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    1. Nancy,
      How delightful to have you stop by my online home -- welcome old friend! :) And yes, we most certainly did wear heels AND dresses to Pirate games {who does that??} but we were the most chic girls ever at the stadium, were we not?! :) So nice to hear from you! xoxo

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  10. This was such an encouraging post, Valerie, and it came right at a time I needed to hear it. Thank you for your wisdom, friend. :)

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    1. Kristen,
      Always grateful for your kind words here! You have encouraged me more than you know!

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