My name is Janelle Keith and I’m addicted to coffee. I live in Oklahoma with two cats (don’t judge), and my loving husband, Terry. I have a big story of losing 132 lbs. and am wholly devoted to Jesus, my Savior instead of my sweet savior of chocolate. God uses my passion for writing, speaking life and encouragement, plus positive eating habits as He punches through your heart barriers. We are all under His grace and drawn in by His giant love of each one of us. You can connect with me more here: http://www.thejanellekeith.com.
As a child, I didn’t enjoy fishing however it was my chance to see the wide open countryside. My dad taught us (me and my siblings) how to drop a line and set a hook. His tackle box bulged with memories boasting juicy stories of countless fish that got away. Dad would pick his spot and quickly command the bait from our hands. We followed his lead, baiting the hook and sat. This is the part where I wanted to shout out into the clear blue sky but my dad threatened me with silence! As if the fish could hear us! They don’t have ears, do they?
If you have gone fishing then you KNOW the number one rule is you MUST be very quiet when fishing. My dad scolded as I yelled loudly; shouting was my natural response to fresh air. My dad’s natural reaction urged and shushed me into silence. The problem was my behavior didn’t lend itself to match my big personality and childlike lungs. What I know now was developed at the water’s edge.
I practiced listening.
God’s calling on your life is like fishing in a way. You can’t prematurely birth it to come. My dad’s dedication taught me to never stop risking for your passion. The greater catch is the faith caught in gaining patience in the wait. That doesn’t mean you sit idle and wait for God to drop your purpose and calling in nice neat FedEx box on your porch. The calling for your life bubbles up with practice, submission to the process, and hooked by a high cost of surrender.
Faithfully serve “now” and cast your “hows” upon God.
1. Set your focus to dare greatly.
2. Practice your skill; learn all you can.
3. Exhibit courage and never give up.
4. Be faithful to the process.
The Bible gives some practical advice when it comes to steps to your calling. Paul encouraged his career-mined friends with urgency to “…live a life worthy of your calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:1- 2) In today’s fisher of men translation: Friends, know what you’re good at, now devote yourself to the process. Be teachable, open to new ways, and be a good student. Be patient with yourself, one day it will fall into place and be mindful of those who have gone before you. Remember, He is FOR you and is Sovereign over your life. Even Esther had to go through a stringent training to be the queen, a whole year of beautification preparation before stepping into royalty.
God’s plan and purpose are worth patiently waiting for as your skill unites with His will!
The discipline of listening will develop your habits to match His calling and passions will come out instinctively. God knows you and what makes your heart come alive. It’s possible your life will look completely different than thought but remember God works in the character development department! (His thoughts for you are higher than you can visualize). Stay focused on the vision; God has given you the ability to stay the course. Cling to it with laser-focus on the plan!
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light for my path.” The greater reward is the seed of faith. You don’t have to have enough faith to finish but only to start. Faith urges you forward and grows you through His Word, positive people, encouraging influences, life’s circumstances and conversation with Him. With every one of God’s promises comes a provision, promotion, and a territory attached.
So how about you, is it time for you to start listening to God? What is He calling you to?
Wedges Aren’t My Style
I don’t take my husband shoe shopping. I like that he doesn’t go with me and usually, he’s good with my choices. However, I wasn’t always like this. The reason I don’t take him is because I like to choose my shoes according to style. He chooses his shoes according to fit. I have realized two things about my husband. He is usually right about my choices in shoes and the expensive running shoes are worth it. I tend to cut corners when it’s attractive and stylish. I think pretty but not functional. My latest pair of running shoes has a rock plate. I can sustain rocks and rough terrain on the road. Unattractive, never the less, they’ve held their own.
I guess he is right more than I would like to admit. Choose the right shoe for the win.
Wins in life will cost you, but you can’t cut corners.
“If the size of the vision and dream you have for your life isn’t intimidating to you, there’s a good chance it’s insulting to God.” ~ Steven Furtick.
We’ve discussed the “ins” and “outs” of purpose and passion, and the merging of the two ideas. In addition, the above quote by Steven Furtick confirms there is a connection between the two. But FIRST, before you discover what your passion truly is, there’s a question to consider. This process is important yet intuitive.
One day my husband asked me, “If not you, then who?” This essential question spurred my mind and I had avoided it for years. We know hindsight is better than foresight. But where does insight fall into your dreams? It’s time to know what your passion is. If it seems you’re uncertain about what your purpose/passion/calling, it’s okay! Discovery isn’t revolutionary but rather evolutionary.
I want you to sit tight for a few questions. Go ahead and grab your pencil and pad. You will want to write them down:
There are many dreamers out here in the world. Moreover, history records numerous examples of inventors who have both accomplished and failed. What you need to know about your dream is it will cost you. Like any athlete, it’s essential to count the costs before you start training for a race.
Had I known the cost would I have changed my dream? Would I go back and redo? Yeah, but overall, I’m glad my dreams didn’t happen immediately. Even though it has been challenging and costly, I’ve learned patience in this process. In addition, I needed to learn patience. Learning appreciation helped me find the strength to sustain my journey. It’s also a slow process which results in a devoted discipline which morphs into a passionate lifestyle.
Grammar usage is one hurdle towards my purpose. Even though I won the 3th-grade spelling championship in my little private school, good grammar didn’t stick! Here’s a funny moment, once, on live radio I announced, “Ratt Medman” instead of Matt Redman, a well-known Christian worship artist. (I mix up words to twist them naturally.) Fortunately, there were only 20 people listening at the time, but you get the picture. Those twisted words come back to haunt my passion and make me think I’m one fry short of a Happy Meal. Therefore, most times I don’t feel qualified to do what I do. That’s why you need the one essential question to run this race towards your purpose!
Do you think you are unqualified? This is where I interject you need faith to fulfill the purpose and passions God put inside your heart. There was a season in my past where I argued with God about what I wanted to do. I finally submitted to the Lord. I admitted I didn’t have what it takes to start and I asked Him to show me.
Where did God start? With my “why”. This is THE essential you NEED to fuel your race! It drives you to choose between what you want now for what you want later. This race is costly. Your “why” will butt heads your will. This essential is intuitive. Your “why” helps you over the hurdles and excuses that block your purpose.
The essential question driving every purpose begs the “why” question. Once you know it, you either feed it or let it die. So here goes with my purpose in life:
My mission statement: Compassionately communicate freedom in Christ with relevant truth to equip, empower, and engage the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:1-2 connects to my passion to the calling I have received. “As a prisoner of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” This process involves running with patience to withstand the long-term pursuit of purpose in life. You gain momentum in purpose when it’s something you are impassioned over.
How do you do something big then? You start small. You only need the faith to start and then take the next step. Then another step. Then another.
“Start doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, then suddenly you are doing the impossible.” St. Francis of Assisi
The calling I received is irrevocable and it drives me to do the hard work in the middle of the night, write the 13th chapter, or follow-through on the hours upon hours of self-editing. I will do this with excellence. Not because I have what it takes, but moreover, I’m willing to do what it takes. God has brought me to a place of willingness to tell His glory story through me.
I am passionate about telling a good story.
Did I know what all this would involve? Was I qualified in the beginning? I answer “NO” to these questions but I had the faith to start small.
So what story does God want to tell through your life? Is the story you are living now worth telling? Believe me, I know this is scary, intimidating, there’s all kinds of reasons and excuses reverberating through your brain right now. I regret I didn’t start this earlier. Instead, I listened to the voice of fear and submitted to it. I caved to man’s opinion and shook myself silly with disapproval.
In addition, I thought too small about God.
Did you get that? I thought too small about God in what looked impossible to me. Now go back up and read the Steven Furtick quote again and then you decide for yourself. Will you choose discipline or regret? It’s your choice, so choose well! So ask, obey, wait, and watch God work.
What are your dreams or purpose and what are you doing about it?