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Framed In Joy, Melissa N Smith

Searching for Significance

framed in joy life in christ purpose

I spend so much of my life searching. 

  • that lost sock 
  • my keys 
  • the next step 
  • for the kitchen fairy who never shows up 
  • significance in my everyday tasks

Often the sock doesn’t turn up. My next right thing ends up being that ordinary task I’m avoiding like the laundry that continues to pile up on the couch. We are running out of places to sit! Many times, though, the search is more significant, and the elusive nature of searching leaves me frustrated. 

During this season of quarantine and pandemic, I search for answers about the future in an ever-shifting landscape of change. I’m searching, but I’m only finding more questions, not a great reward for my labor. 

What are you looking for? 

Priceless and Precious 

This summer I took my 10-year-old son to a little river in Colorado to fish. Surrounded by families and beautiful weather, I settled in to paint on the bank while he enjoyed luring in the elusive fish. Occasionally, I allowed him to pop over to our car parked nearby in order to change rods. My son, ever looking forward, continued to ask me if we could move upstream to a new spot. With our gear strewn around us and the long line of people dotting the bank, I stood my ground and assured him fish lived here too. 

Lost in my painting and enjoying the day, I looked up and realized his joyful chatter had ceased. An open bait box lay at my feet, but my son and his poles were nowhere. Instantly, my heart leaped to my throat. Quickly, I ran to the car. No one. I asked a young mom who had been playing with her toddler nearby if she had seen him. Pointing upstream, she promised to keep an eye on my belongings while I searched. 

At that moment, nothing could have stopped me from searching for my son. With all my heart, focus, and energy, I moved in the direction I prayed my son had gone. Fortunately, this search ended quickly with my son in my arms and both of us with tears in our eyes. His life is priceless and precious.  

With All Our Hearts & Empty Hands 

What do we search for with all our hearts and is it worth it?  

  • Significance 
  • Purpose 
  • Relationship 
  • Security 
  • Comfort 

And even more importantly, when we find it, how much effort does it take for us to maintain our control over it? In the face of these questions, my missing sock doesn’t matter, and I’m confronted with the deep idols that lay claim to my heart. Recently, I discovered I was searching for significance and validation. When I ended up with empty hands and an aching heart, God turned my heart to a better search. 

As a writer, many of my words hit the cutting room floor never to be seen by the light of day. It is lonely work and hard. Many days I question my sanity. Once in a while, I give in to these voices and seek validation outside of my home office. Recently, I applied for a scholarship to Graduate School and for a writing position with a Christian ministry I respect. While both of these goals are valid dreams of mine and worth pursuing, when the doors closed to both, my disappointment outmatched the circumstances. 

Between tears and anger, I turned to God and began to question Him. Though my questions of “Why?” and “What now?” were not answered, I was finally searching in the right direction. What had I been seeking? In both cases, I was looking for outside validation for an internal calling from God to write and pursue ministry. Facing a new year of homeschooling all three of my children, I had to confront my fear that the seeds God had planted in my heart would shrivel up and die. 

Not everyone understands my choices to homeschool or to write, and I sought validation for my work in the shifting sand of academia and faithful work in a known ministry. Yes, my insecurities laid bare are quite ugly, and when I let them lead me on my search, I end up with empty hands and a weary heart. 

Search and Reward 

At the end of the day in the quiet between my rapid-fire questions, God reminded me that He promises a great reward to those who seek Him. He promises Christ – priceless, eternal, of infinite worth. In Him, we find everything we’ve ever desired: significance, purpose, relationship, security, and comfort. For me, I found my calling validated in the presence of my Savior who gave me my children, words to write, and a heart for ministry. I don’t need letters after my name or a job with people I respect to give value to my work. 

Raising my children, writing, and ministry live side by side in my home. It is enough because God is here with me. Outside our homes, the world is a little crazy. Inside our homes, the ordinary rhythms of life continue to swirl. In the middle of it all, our hearts long and search for answers to questions, hope for the future, meaning in the mundane, and maybe even a little adventure. With great compassion and grace tingeing His voice, our Savior calls out to us, “Be still and know that I am God.” 

Christ: A Priceless Reward 

What we really need is Christ. Seeking Him is a fruitful, lifelong adventure with a priceless reward. The mountain of unmatched socks on my kitchen counter assures me that not all searches are worth it. However, finding my son by the creek that day in the mountains reminds me that some searches consume your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Every step matters. 

Where are you today in your search? 

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is not water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

 Psalm 63: 1 – 8 

Seeking God and choosing Him in our lives is not always easy, but a relationship with Him is worth the sacrifice. If you are struggling in your relationship with God, I'd love to help. We can chat on Zoom! Book a call here.

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