Every once in a while, history throws someone out at us who is amazing at everything. There seems as though there is nothing that these people can not do. John Herschel of England was one of these men. The first sentence of his Wikipedia entry reads: “Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Baronet, was an English polymath, mathematician, astronomer, chemist, inventor, and experimental photographer, who also did valuable botanical work.” He was a man of many trades. He named seven moons of Saturn, four moons of Uranus, investigated color blindness, made several major breakthroughs in the fledgling field of photography, translated the Illiad, and invented the blueprint.
In 1842, Herschel realized that by combining two chemicals, ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide, he could create a solution that, when exposed to ultraviolet light, would turn blue. So by blocking the ultraviolet light from certain portions of the solution, he could keep them the original color while turning everything around it blue, and thus was born the blueprint. Herschel would trace important documents, such as architectural drawings, onto a transparent sheet of paper or cloth. He would then lay this on top of his solution, turning the everything not covered by the tracings blue and creating a perfect copy of the original. This was obviously long before the invention of the copier and so it was the cheapest and fastest way to make a copy of any document, no matter what the size.
These blueprints were essential to keeping everyone involved in a project on the same page. Now everyone could have their own copy of the plan as opposed to constantly having to refer back to the original. The blueprint kept everyone focused on the common goal and set a clear path for where they were heading.
Likewise, once we have established a firm foundation in the rock that is Christ, we then need to move forward with planning out our actual project. We need to start drawing out our blueprints, requesting building permits, gathering materials, and taking our God-given dreams into God-ordained realities. The first step to this is evaluating where we are and where we are going. This is where some serious soul-searching comes into play. Just take a few minutes to take stock of a) where you are at right now in your walk with God and b) where you see Him leading you. That is the kind of thinking that will help to ground you in reality. We need to be asking ourselves questions like:
In what areas of my life did I see God at work in today?
What skills and opportunities has God given me?
Where is one moment in the past year that I can distinctly point at and say God was at work there?
Where do I feel God drawing me right now?
All of these questions give us clues to help us answer the two big questions: where am I at and where am I going? You may not have an answer to all of them, but I would strongly, strongly encourage you just to take a moment and write out the answers to the ones that you can. Putting it on paper helps us to really pin down specific answers. If we only keep it in the mind it tends to remain very fluid and, often times, overwhelming. The places where we see God doing the most work in our lives are going to be the places that we want to be, and so these questions really target who God has created us to be and what He intends to do with us.
Personally, I have really felt God’s call towards writing recently. He has spoken to me more times than I could possibly count through my writing. He has also used it as a tool to work in the lives of others, both in this blog and in other things I have written. I have really enjoyed being apart of it because it has been so much bigger than myself. So that is what I have chosen to focus on, personally, throughout the remainder of this series, setting up a God-given plan for writing and following through with it, with the strength that He gives me.
For you, it could be just about anything. It could be building stronger relationships with your family, starting a Bible study that you have been thinking about for a long time, setting aside time to have a real, intimate quiet time. The important thing is to look at where you see God at work and head towards it. We will talk about ways to do that as we get further into this series, but for right now try to narrow down one thing that you can really focus in on over these next few days. Sift through everywhere you see God at work right now until you feel like you have a sense of direction. And then, pray about it. Ask God to affirm the fact that He is at work there. Christ has laid a foundation for us—both eternally and in this life. We simply need to find it and then start building.
With the love and guidance that comes from Christ alone,
“For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death.”
Psalms 48:14 KJV