Reflecting on Purpose as a Soldier - Letter from Megan Hjelmstad

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My military uniform clung to my skin in the uncharacteristically hot and humid weather as my mind pressed in on the question that had been floating through my head. Finally, it landed: “What am I doing here?”

Dear Sisters in Christ,

Do you ever look at yourself, then look at your job, and scratch your head?

The question finally caught up with me on the drive home—after a long day, a new boss, and a time crunch. My military uniform clung to my skin in the uncharacteristically hot and humid weather as my mind pressed in on the question that had been floating through my head.

Finally, it landed:
“What am I doing here?”

For once, I wasn’t asking in exasperation or frustration. Not even sarcasm.

My heart was filled with a spirit of seeking, reflection, consideration. It was one of those silent and intensely honest prayers of yearning for direction and clarity.

“You’ve made it clear You want me here, God. But why?”

Maybe, under the weight and pressure of your job’s expectations, you wonder if you’re really cut out for this, if you’re skilled or capable enough.

Maybe you, like me, leave after a day on the job and find yourself gingerly dancing around this question.

Maybe your calling seems like an odd fit for your personality.

Maybe it makes the world raise an eyebrow to see a woman of faith in the place where God has placed you.

Maybe some days you go to work and feel a sense of duty and purpose, but other days it seems to suck your soul dry.

Maybe, on occasion, other people not only surprise you but strengthen you—helping you expand your understanding of the world and the infinite number of ways God chooses to reflect His face in His children.

Maybe you also fight the dread of interacting with those who seem to only challenge and thoroughly sanctify you.

Maybe, under the weight and pressure of your job’s expectations, you wonder if you’re really cut out for this, if you’re skilled or capable enough.

Maybe sometimes you receive the grace to remember in such moments that it’s in these areas of lacking, of weakness, where God can be most active and effective—if we lean into His infinite strength and capability and understanding.

Maybe you show up one day with a lengthy to-do list, but suddenly find yourself looking deep into the eyes of a beautiful, wounded soul sitting across from your desk, begging to be seen and heard and known and loved.

And maybe, as you drive home with that question still echoing: “What am I doing here?”

...this is memory that surfaces. This and every other soul encounter come together to form God’s quiet response: this job, this calling, this presence and placement, is a Divine appointment—part of an unbroken thread tied directly back to the Great Commission: “Go, and make disciples of all nations.”

Even in the moments of judgement or isolation, when you feel like you’re the only one; even when worldly definitions of success distract and detract, even if you briefly lose sight of God’s ultimate purpose through this role—it remains that He’s placed you here intentionally, regardless of any and every last human stumbling.

But if we can manage to ground ourselves firmly in Him, all that we do will be in mission with Him. What is this mission? …It’s a mission to serve as His hands and feet, obediently going where few others are called.


Because through His presence in us, and our presence in the world, He can shine the concentrated light one of His children needs.

We might face misunderstanding, we might fight self-doubts, we will certainly make human mistakes, and we ourselves may thirst in the desert as we carry the Water of Life into an arid world, into the parched corners of humanity that otherwise might never know His refreshment.

But if we can manage to ground ourselves firmly in Him, all that we do will be in mission with Him.

What is this mission?

It’s one of quietly preaching the desperately-needed Gospel through our unlikely work and personal encounters—tucking its truth into our words and actions, weaving in mercy as we take direction and give commands and solve problems and tackle the art of teamwork.

It’s a mission to become lovers of souls and fishers of men in our intended sphere.

It’s a mission to serve as His hands and feet, obediently going where few others are called.

Maybe, like me, you’ll still sometimes look at yourself, then look at your job, and scratch your head.

Yet when the question arises again—as it often will:
“What am I doing here?”

His answer will be clear:
“My work.”

Love in Christ,

Megan


About Megan Hjelmstad

Megan Hjelmstad, 33, is a wife and mom 24/7 and an Army Reservist in her “spare” time. She’s a bibliophile, tea drinker, sleep lover, and avid admirer of Colorado’s great outdoors. Megan feels especially called to encourage women in the areas of suffering, discernment, self-worth, and the work-faith balance. When not writing or speaking for Blessed is She, you can catch her in Radiant Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, or on her personal blog, Positively Imperfect.


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Megan Hjelmstad
 

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