By Vicki Kilpatrick
Impacting Your World
Are you looking for a way to make an impact in your community or world? Hopefully, you are already positively influencing those around you every day. However, many times we look for ways outside of our normal routines to give back.
The most important factor when making a decision about service is what God has planned for your life. I have learned some valuable lessons during my life about waiting on God’s leading when deciding where to plug in. The opportunities are endless, thus making the decisions difficult at times.
Where do you begin? I would suggest that the first step is to wait. God promises to guide our steps—that is if we are not stepping all over Him making our own plans. In Psalm 3:5-6 we learn, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Others will be more than happy to fill your hours with projects and activities if you allow that to happen.
God created each animal with a unique purpose, and unlike humans, they carry out the tasks that He created them to do without distraction. As human beings, we have been given free will, and many times we veer from God’s path for our lives to pursue our own desires, despite the fact that He designed us with a purpose in mind.
Next, take a step back to carefully examine your gifts and passions. Determining how the Lord has gifted you, before jumping head first into the fray, is a better way to choose the places of service suited for you. The Lord prepares us, many times for years, to step into the next phase of service.
Personally, I have seen God line up education, experiences, careers, people, and organizations to equip me and give me a passion for the things I’m doing now. I have spent my entire adult life working in the field of education, particularly special education. I love working with children and families facing the joys and challenges that special needs present. In 1996, I had the opportunity of serving overseas, and my eyes were opened to the vast needs that families there faced when educating their children with special needs. That burden has never left my heart.
Although God does begin the process many times by allowing you to use your natural gifts and talents, don’t be surprised if He begins to stretch you beyond your skill set. Then, and only then, will He receive the glory for what is accomplished through you.
Lastly, pray for open doors to use your unique giftedness, and then be ready to step out when He leads. Be prepared for the fact that He may only give you the guidance for your next step, not the roadmap for the entire journey. Now, decades later, with another degree and a variety of other experiences under my belt, the doors have opened up in the past few years for me to be involved with the international English as a Second Language ministry at our church, to provide educational evaluations and consultations through Summit Counseling, to provide international security training for those traveling around the world, and to ultimately work with families living overseas in providing the best education for their children. These opportunities have continued to evolve as my life experiences have changed.
So, you see, I’ve come full circle. My training and experience have given me the tools I need to effectively serve within the passion that God gave me for helping children and families and working with internationals here and around the world. The Lord really does seek to give us the desires of our hearts. Actually, I believe God is the one who puts those desires there in the first place, and then He waits patiently for us to let Him use us in His timing.
As 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” My plea to you would be this—do not ever be too busy doing your own agenda or someone else’s that you don’t see His. He has been purposefully and methodically preparing you for tasks that only you can do to make an eternal impact. Enjoy discovering the excitement that comes when you are working within that perfect plan!
Vicki Kilpatrick, M.Ed., is an educational consultant at Summit Counseling of First Baptist Church Jackson. She provides intellectual, academic, and ADHD evaluations for children and adults. To contact her, please call 601.949.1949.