Meet Johnny Man.
Johnny Man lives in a very small town nestled in the woods of Scandinavia. In this small town, the sole purpose in life is to build a chair. When Johnny was a baby, many thought about Johnny Man and what kind of chair he was going to build. Would it be big?? Would it be wooden, or metal, or bright green? Johnny grew and grew and once he hit age 6 it was time to begin his quest for building a chair. He had lots of ideas and lots of plans. He was surrounded with other children who were writing, learning and reading about building chairs. Through his rigorous chair design school, he finally had designed the perfect one.
Johnny man had his plan drawn out and he was ready to go fulfill his life purpose!
First thing first, Johnny needed some tools.
Johnny loved tools. Almost too much.
Like He really loved tools.
An important part of the chair building process is choosing the right tools. And there were a lot to choose from in the town.
Johnny tried all sorts of tools.
As he was trying the tools, he began to wonder which one was the right tool. Even though any of them could have worked fine, Johnny spent a majority of his life going through tool after tool trying to see if it was perfect for building a chair. People told him, “Look Johnny, you can build a chair with any tool!! There’s no wrong tool!”
Johnny disagreed. There had to be the RIGHT one. Every time he tried to use a tool, he discovered a flaw. The screwdriver involved too much twisting, the hammer required too much strength and the wrench accidentally pinched him. Over the years, he became more obsessed with finding the right tool, so much so that his plan to build a chair became a distant memory.
One night, Johnny was tossing and turning in bed. He was in his late 60’s now. He woke up at 3am and had an epiphany. It was time to make that chair.
He got really excited and ran to the living room. This was going to be great, he thought. He spent a few minutes arranging the tools and then he was done! His chair was perfect!
“Now, I can finally sit down and relax and enjoy all my hard work,” he said. As he sat, a sharp pain ripped through his whole body. He tried to lean back, but the screwdriver toppled over almost immediately. This was not he imagined a chair to be like. A bruised bottom and an even more bruised ego, he went for a walk to clear his mind.
It was apparent to him now: the tools were not meant to be a chair. They were intended to build a chair, but not BE THE CHAIR. Ashamed of himself, he realized he had failed to do the one thing everyone in his town did. He got so distracted by finding the right tool, he forgot to build a chair.
Though, Johnny had wasted most of his life, he figured since he was still alive he still had time to build that chair. He went back to the tool shed and grabbed a whole bunch of tools. He used all the tools (imperfect and loud and hard and twisty) and made a chair. It was a lot different from the one he designed when he was a young boy. But, it was a chair nonetheless.
She lives in a city where everyone’s soul purpose is to find a job and a spouse. She also is a Christian, so her relationship with God is pretty important to her. In fact, her true purpose in life is to know God and make God known.
When she was born, many people wondered what she would do with her life, who she would marry, etc. Many prayed over her, for her health and well being. Some even prayed that she would come to know and worship the One True God.
Marlie grew up in school, learning how to write, read and do math. She learned that God loved her unconditionally and had a great plan for her. She learned what she was good at and what she was not good at. She began to dream about who she would marry, how many pets she would own and her beautiful dreamy husband.
Marlie loves people, she loves to talk with them, and make them laugh. She also really cares about if they like her or not. She often makes decisions about what to do based on how it would make someone else feel, usually neglecting her own feelings for the ’cause of being liked.’
Marlie was a certified and tested idealist. Her cup was not half empty or half full, it was overflowing with optimism. A lot of her teenage years was spent figuring out who she was, what she was good at and who she fit in with. Her college years were spent finding the right major and the right friends. After college, she found a world open and waiting for her. Only it wasn’t open or waiting. Now was the time to find the perfect job and the perfect husband.
Years passed and passed. Floating from career to career, from living situation to living situation and dating relationship to dating relationship, she couldn’t find the right one. Sure the job started out nice, but then it got hard so she left. The relationship started out great, but then the ‘butterflies’ faded and she was done. Her original purpose to know God and make God known was a distant memory as she headed into her 30’s, single and unemployed. Nothing had made her happy like she wanted. No career had made her feel fulfilled, no man made her feel special. For the first time, the cup was half empty.
One night, she looked on her bookshelf and found a book. She blew the dust off the cover. It was a book she hadn’t touched since she was a young girl. The words flowed from the page into her heart. She was loved, cherished, chosen for a purpose, and a Daughter of the King. Tears began to fall, and she began to speak.
“God, I have wasted a lot of my life making gods out of men, my career and finding people’s approval. I know I’m not dead yet, so it’s still not too late to know You and to do your will. Help me use future career as a tool to serve you, not a way to find fulfillment. Help me find my identity in you and not in any relationship with a guy.”
She didn’t know what the rest of her life held, but she knew she could rest in the comfort of knowing God loved her and had a plan for her.