Today I come to you with tired eyes and a slightly scratchy throat, but the experience that gave me these things was exceptional. As I mentioned last week, Raleigh and I bought tickets to attend the U2 concert in Atlanta. Yesterday we drove to the big city and had an awesome time letting loose to our favorite U2 songs. Sometimes it is nice to have a break from the usual routine. I put on a fun dress and my heels and shook my groove thing on a Tuesday night! I encourage everyone to take time out of their usual schedules and do something a little different this week.

We had seats in the nose bleed section but it didn't matter. The tour is named 360 because they built this amazing set to become more intimate with the audience. You can see in the picture below, but they nicknamed their set the "spaceship." Basically, there are these huge spider-looking legs coming from the four corners and where they connect is this big 360 degree screen that hangs above the band. So, even if you are sitting in the cheapest seats in the house (like us) you still have an up-close and personal view of the band. It was really a cool experience.

One thing that I love most about U2 is that they are a band that sings with a purpose. All of their songs have such profound meanings. Last night, they played one of my all-time favorites, "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and as I was throwing my fist into the air I really took time to soak up the words. Another song that they sang was "Magnificent." Take a look at some of the lyrics to this song:

I was born, I was born to sing for you
I didn't have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice from the womb
My first cry, it was a joyful noise, oh, oh

As Bono sang these words, I was struck by the truth in them. This guy, this band, they are living out their purpose in life. God gave them the gift of music and they are using it to touch millions every single day.

I often struggle with the word purpose. To me, that word defines all that I am and all that God intended for me to become. I, like most of you, have read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and I know that my purpose in life is to glorify the Lord and to live my life according to Him. But, how exactly?

Romans 12:8 tells us, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully."

The word gifts comes from the Greek word charismata, referring to special gifts of grace - freely given by God to his people to meet the needs of the body. I think, if we take some time for intense self-observation, it is easy to recognize the gifts that God has given us. But, I think the part that makes it tricky is figuring out how to use these gifts to 'meet the needs of the body.' Going through our days, we have to remember to show our gifts of encouragement or service to others but we also should be making a conscious effort to plug ourselves into our gifts 100%. For adults, I believe that we should pick our jobs by using our gifts, not just working for the paycheck every month.

For some of us, is that easier said than done? How many people do we know that are unhappy with their current jobs? Or, they have been doing the same thing for so many years they don't even remember why they decided to do it in the first place? I know people in every stage of life from college to the age of 50 that wake up every day asking themselves, "Is this really what I am supposed to be doing with my life?" I think that some of us know what we want to do from an early age but many of us just end up in an unhappy place because we never really figured out what we are supposed to be doing. I know that sounds a little harsh, but I think it is a common struggle for many people. Or, I think some of us have dreams and we are too scared to drop everything and chase after that dream.

Friends, I want to give you this encouragement today. Do what you were born to do. We might not have all been born to be rock stars, but we were all born with gifts that are intended to be used. "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." - Romans 9:17.

God gave us gifts! He gave them to us out of grace and He expects us to use them to live according to His glorious name! Don't be afraid...I know it is so easy to worry about the what ifs of dropping everything. How am I going to pay my bills? Who will give me insurance? What if I fail? Is it too late to start chasing my dreams? Please hold true to this statement: God will provide for us. He provided for Moses and the Israelites when they needed food in the desert and HE WILL PROVIDE FOR YOU. Trust in Him and He will bless you abundantly.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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