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Yes, I admit it.  I like Oprah.  Since I'm not one to watch daytime television, I don't watch her shows very often; but if I find myself in front of the television at 4pm, I will occasionally tune into her show.  And I must confess, I generally find that I am enlightened by some nugget of what she or a guest has to offer.  Oprah is in many ways a positive force in this world.  Her Angel Network creates programs and infuses money and education to break the cycles of poverty and violence around the world.  Through her Book Club, she's enticed hoards of people to step away from their technological gadgetry and to pick up books again.  Her unabashed questioning of medical guests exposes all of those areas we're all too afraid to speak with our doctors about, and has empowered millions to take charge of their physical and mental health without shame or embarrassment.  And, above all, Oprah frequently and openly discusses the importance of her faith as being THE guiding principle in her life.

 

So, the other day, I happened to tune in to part of an Oprah show.  Her guest was Anderson Cooper (of CNN fame) who, I learned, is fashion mogul Gloria Vanderbilt's youngest child.  In the course of the interview, Anderson revealed various pieces of wisdom his mother had offered to him as a young man.  And what stuck with him was a comment his mother made to him upon his graduation from college, when he truly had no idea what he wanted to do with his life.  And it stuck with me, too.

 

Let me break here to offer this: at some point in our lives, and in many cases, at several points in our lives, we will each come upon a moment when we have no idea what we want to do.  We ask questions like: "Is this all there is?" or "How in the world did I end up here?" or "What now?" or "What's the meaning of all this?" or "What would people think if I left this to do that?"  Or we may make statements like: "If all things were equal, I'd do X, but all things aren't equal, so I have to stick with Y." or "If I could do anything in the world, I would do ___."  or "If money were no object, then I would do ____."  or "In a perfect world, I would do ____."

 

At the cusp of manhood, when Anderson Cooper had completed college and, by Society's timetable, should be fully prepared and equipped to know what his "work" would be, he found himself at a loss, asking questions like "What now?"  So he turned to his mother for advice.  And when he asked her what he should do with his life, she responded simply: "Follow your bliss."

 

He confessed that he did not understand her comment for several years.  And one day, in the midst of covering a civil unrest from the front lines half-way around the world, it came to him.  He had found and followed his bliss.  He has never looked back, and he, like Oprah, will readily acknowledge that, by "following their bliss," they are more equipped than at any other time to offer strength and service and hope to others.

 

So, what is your bliss?  Following your bliss is not a new concept.  Throughout the Scriptures, we see references to this very same idea.  We each are endowed by our Creator with gifts that serve His kingdom.  For instance, Paul talks of seven spiritual gifts in Romans 12:6-8: prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, administration, and mercy; and in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Paul delineates additional spiritual gifts.

 

Following your bliss can be frightening, financially uncertain, even physically dangerous.  People frequently will not understand your actions when you follow your bliss, and they may try and talk you out of it.  But following your bliss means living into the fullness of who you are, living out in fulfillment the person God knows you to be.  And when truly, you follow Christ's example of living into the fullness of who you are, when you live in complete trust of the God who implanted within you your bliss, then the rest remarkably falls into place.  But you can't see or experience that until you fully and completely let go.  For this is really what it mean to have faith and trust.

 

So, "however that may be, let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you." 1 Corinthians 7:17.  That is, follow your bliss.

 

Grace and peace to you as you journey.

Yours in Christ,  

~~Jennifer

5/25/06

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