My husband and I returned last evening from a week-long trip to Mexico. We went to Puerto Vallarta, which is a touristy and Americanized city, but we stayed in a hotel on the outskirts of town, situated in an authentic Mexican village called Mismaloya.
We went as a couple to Mexico to attend Tim’s brother’s wedding there, but I went as an individual to get some inspiration for what God would have me do with my life. Do you find yourself asking God that question over and over? I do.
Mismaloya is a village situated at the base of huge pointed mountains with cobblestone streets and a gurgling river. Barefooted children run across the river on a suspension bridge after school each day at 1 p.m., then fill the village with their shouts and laughter. The village people live in rough housing, made of wood or sometimes concrete.
They do have power as the street is lit up at night and some televisions can be heard but there is no air conditioning. The women and children hang out on the sidewalks or in doorways, the grandmothers embroidering on linens to sell to tourists for 150 pesos each. The mothers all seem to have a baby to carry while the other children roam the main street or play soccer. Everyone looks dusty due to the tourist buses that drive quickly through the
village on the way to waterfalls up the mountain. It is obvious that money is not in abundance in the village of Mismaloya. Everything is picturesque, but only because it looks so quaint to our American eyes. To live there would give one a completely different attitude toward it. I doubt it would be comfortable at all!
I’ve always appreciated all that America has to offer its citizens in the way of wealth and freedom. But this time, as we flew over the Mexican-U.S. border, I could literally see the wealth from so high up in the air. On the Mexican side, the land was mostly in its natural state, but on the American side, farms were in abundance, along with factories and roads, trains, and stores.
What are we doing with this abundance? Are we using it to our advantage or to the advantage of God? What would God have us do with the “leg up” that we have been given over the rest of the world?
I left Mismaloya with the knowledge that the search for my life’s purpose is not as hard as I make it out to be. God gave me — and you — talents. Those talents and the desires that keep the talents alive are what we are to be doing with our lives. It is simple to figure out your purpose in life. As I read recently, “What are you doing when you shine? That is what you are to do with your life!”
I shine when I am absorbed in my role as a mother and a wife. I also shine when I write. It is safe to say that my talent and my desire – and my life’s purpose, then – is to write, and to
particularly write about being a wife and a mother.
What are you doing when you shine?
Do you shine when you dance, teach, or create? Do you shine when you bake or when you build a website or when you write a check to a missionary? God does not want us on Earth to be miserable, forcing us to be what He has not given us the desire to be. If He gave you a talent and a desire, look at it closely and see if perhaps He would have you use it for Him. If you do not feel you have a talent for anything, then see if any of your desires would
possibly lead in the direction that God would have for your life.
Along with our desires and talents, God gave us America. With that gift of citizenship is the freedom and the means to pursue our dreams and our God-given talents. We have a duty to God to not take this country’s citizenship for granted. We do not have to live our days with only the goal of existing, as many must in Mismaloya. We have so much abundance – even the most poor of us – that we have no excuse but to realize our life’s purpose.
What are you doing when you shine?
back in Fairhope, Alabama
this post was published in 2004 on my Keeping the Home site or in its newsletter