During the span of our life, we’ve probably devoted hours to America’s favorite pastime: an evening at the movies eating popcorn. We can reminisce about movies that produced tears or ones that caused side pains from laughing, but only a few were “life-defining” cinema moments. One such movie for me was Chariots of Fire. To this day, hearing its theme song resonates within me a deep desire to make a difference in the world. I still vividly remember sitting in the darkened theater at age eighteen mesmerized by the life of Eric Liddell, a man devoted wholeheartedly to God, standing solidly behind his convictions.
In many ways Liddell was the kind of person who, in my heart of hearts, I’d always dreamed of being. He passionately spoke these words that are forever etched in my memory, “I believe God made me for a purpose. When I run, I feel His pleasure.” Chosen for the 1924 British Olympic team, Eric refused to participate in his event because of a moral conflict: the race was scheduled on a Sunday, and he believed running on the Sabbath violated God’s law. His withdrawal from the competition sent shock waves around the world. Instead, he preached in a Paris church on the morning of the 100-meter dash as the starting guns popped in the stadium, starting the race without him.
Given the opportunity to run another day in a different event, Eric raced with God’s blessing and won the gold medal. Eric’s statement and conviction had an impact on me 60 years later. I recall God whispering to me as I stood to exit the theater, “I’ve made you for a purpose and someday when you walk in that purpose, you will feel my pleasure.” Such a moment determines a person’s footsteps. My life evolved out of that whisper, taking many twists and turns as I continually searched for my purpose.
I recall two times when I distinctly felt God’s pleasure as I pursued those desires He instilled within my heart. One encompassed being a teacher. Oh, how I loved my students. Each day as I planned unique curriculum to make them love history, and as I watched them learn, I felt God smile and say, “Well done. You were created to make a difference in the lives of children.”
The second revolves around my current profession and the creation of the nonprofit Arise Ministries. God knit me together in my mother’s womb, weaving together every gift and attribute required to help spread the gospel through our ministry. I feel the winds of God’s approval as I organize a conference, stand on stage and look across the auditorium of single moms, or simply participate in a staff planning retreat.
Have you ever felt God’s pleasure while walking in your purpose? Making a difference for Christ doesn’t require you to be famous or skilled. God asks only that you serve Him faithfully and wholeheartedly in whatever He asks you to do. It’s time to throw your head back and run friend, run, because feeling the pleasure of God makes your spirit soar and your joy abound beyond anything you have ever experienced. I challenge you to discover your purpose!
About Shelley Pulliam
Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media. https://www.instagram.com/shelleypulliam/