We are deeply mistaken if we believe living in our “forte,” never evolves or transitions. As my insightful friend, Melissa (who’s story we are about to unwrap) pointed out to me, even Jesus faced a life with sharp transition. It’s interesting to me that the One who was present during the creation of the world, was also raised to be a carpenter – a creator. Amazing that with but a breath of a command light was separated from darkness, and yet he took on the labor of working with his hands to design and create things out of wood. I would have to say, (Captain Obvious moment) that he was pretty creative – and perhaps we could even safely say creating things was Jesus living in his forte. And then he turned 30. And something shifted. Something transitioned when his ministry began… and eternity was impacted out of his obedience to this calling. God’s purpose for Jesus was ultimately that he would point us to Him with his life, and make it possible for us to know Him forever through his death. I fully believe that Jesus represented God from day one, and I can only imagine what his interactions were like (that consistency was not interrupted); but I am also saying there was a clear and definable shift into his ministry; and if this is something even Jesus experienced, my assumption is that this possibility is relevant to us as well. Melissa’s story is one example of just such a transition.
Melissa practiced as a Physician Assistant and worked in family practice, OB/GYN and cardiology. She is one of the most ambitious and impactful people I know.
“I felt that God was calling me into medicine in college. I love medicine. I love the science behind the disease and using my skills to love on patients and treat their illness.”
And she was good (very good) at her job. She had the respect of her peers, the deep sense of purpose by impacting lives literally every time she went to work. It was never boring, financially rewarding, generous in prestige and impact. And then she and her husband launched a company; KMK, and it too succeeded greatly. And then they had kids. (If you’re like me you might be a little out of breath just imagining their schedules, trust me, she’s no robot, I’ve hugged her, she’s human.) And then…well, in the midst of living within a deep sense of purpose and enjoying a satisfying impact she started to sense a stirring that was completely unexpected.
“I felt this sense that I needed to be at home. It wasn’t a fleeting thought. I didn’t have a bad day and think ‘maybe I should quit.’ Every day was great – but everyday I also had this grunting in my soul that said; ‘This is not where you should be. I am calling you to be home.’ So I went down to two days a week. That’s obeying right?! However, I still heard the groan that was telling me “I need to be at home.” I thought that I had come up with the perfect compromise! Two days at work is nothing!… But it wasn’t total obedience. It was keeping one foot in the door of a life that I wanted and one foot in the life that God was calling me to live in. My forte that I didn’t really even know was mine.”
For two years she battled this unsettledness about where she was suppose to be. She wrestled with this change because; “Medicine is not a field that you leave from and go back to 8 years later.” It wasn’t in her plan. And her superiors did everything they could to keep her around. But she surrendered her will to His – and the peace that accompanies God’s pleasure overwhelmed her. And the transition continued.
“It took a while for me to know that what God was calling me to do was to be in a place that really was what he created me for. To be a mom of two little boys who God may call to be more than I could ever dream for them. As any mom knows, the external praise is not the same as when you are working outside the home. But I know that I am in my forte. And the peace that has washed over my soul in place of the constant grunting of my spirit is the gift of obeying a God who knew where I was meant to be before he even created me. In ten years, I hope God is still nagging on my spirit. I am guessing that my calling may be different. I hope that I obey Him willingly in less time than two years. I know that where he calls me I will live loudly… in my forte.”
While God takes pleasure in creating us to do something significant and deeply satisfying; we must realize that our momentary satisfaction is secondary to our obedience. Sometimes our hearts have to catch up with our heads. Truly, there is something even sweeter than even our “in the moment gratification of ‘forte’ engagement,” and that is the peace that accompanies obedience. We might think we have arrived, when in fact, it is simply a season of our journey. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, God’s perspective of eternity is a LOT broader than ours, right? There are things we cannot see, needs we cannot anticipate, stories we are not privy to. Eternal impact requires malleability.
Melissa’s story reminds me to live in my forte with my hands open instead of grasped shut. Because God might ask you to make a change, whether temporary or not, and we cannot hold on to a definition of ourselves without giving Him the freedom to develop and transition and redefine. Melissa said; “When God calls you into changing directions it’s not a fleeting thought but a daily grunt that stirs action to obey!” It’s often a crescendo. Things change. Because His story is the point.