by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

“It’s the same old, same old,” my coaching client complained. “Things never seem to change.”

I took a deep breath to whisper a prayer for wisdom and regroup. “Okay, what do you want to change and why?” I asked.

“I want to get off this treadmill and start doing something meaningful with my life.”

“And do you know what that is?”

“I have no idea.”

Neither did I. But at least I knew where to start to find out. Having gone through the same scenario myself many years earlier, I could relate to his feelings of depression,
despondency, and discouragement. After all, it was no fun being on this earth and not knowing why. Nor was it any fun living every day without a sense of purpose.

My mind drifted back to an earlier time when I was in my client’s shoes.

Stuck. Stifled.

And spiritless.

Yes. Without spirit. Dying on the inside.

I was what one would call “down in the dumps.” A victim of the doldrums.

Dismayed about what was happening—or not happening—in my life.

An Internet dictionary defines “doldrums” as “a state or a period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression.” Of the three descriptive nouns, stagnation fit my situation best. I was
certainly not inactive. On the contrary, I was spinning my wheels in multiple directions and heading nowhere fast.

Nor was I depressed. I still retained some hope in the future. But the problem was, I didn’t know what direction to take into that future. What if I took the wrong fork in the
road? What if I went down the wrong path?

What if I missed my destiny?

I knew I had to do something because the years were passing, and passing quickly. I didn’t want to reach the end of my life and have regrets about wasting my life.
Mind you, I wasn’t a Christian at this point, but I was religious. Very religious. Too religious for my own good. I was bound up in legalistic rituals of spirituality that, as I
look back, kept me a prisoner of my wrong thinking and blinded me to the truth.

My mind returned to the coaching session with my client. “Have you ever heard about the concept of being born again?”

He cleared his throat. “What does that have to do with anything?”

I read between the lines of his pain. “It has everything to do with the reason you are here on this earth.”

I could feel him getting uneasy on the other end of the phone. “Look, I’m not interested in religion. I’m interested in results.”

I smiled inwardly. “I totally understand. I’m not talking about religion. I’m talking about relationship. What you are looking for is a relationship that will give meaning to your
life. In that relationship, you will find your purpose.”

“But I’ve already got a girlfriend.”

I smiled inwardly again. “I’m sure your girlfriend adds meaning to your life, but what if you didn’t have her, would your life still have meaning?”

Several moments of silence ensued. I was wondering about whether or not he was going to ask for a refund when he finally spoke up.

“Are you telling me that what I’m looking for is Jesus?” The tone of his voice exuded incredulity and derision.

“That’s exactly what I’m telling you.” I could picture him shaking his head.

“You can’t be serious.”

“I have never been more serious.”

As the battle for his soul waged in the spirit realm, I prayed silently that God would open his spiritual eyes and spiritual ears to the truth.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It sounds too easy. Too simplistic.”

“It is not simplistic. It is simple, but not easy. Following Jesus will cost you everything.”

His curiosity was piqued. “What do you mean?”

I mean it will cost you your life—not necessarily your physical life, although that may happen, but it will certainly cost you the life of your will.”

“I don’t get it.”

Having been in the same place, I empathized with him. “Following Jesus means submitting your will to His will.”

He remained silent for a long moment. “I’m not sure I can do that.”

“Are you saying you ‘can’t’ or you ‘won’t’ do it?”

“Aren’t they the same thing?”

“Not at all.”

He cleared his throat again. “So, what’s the difference?”

“The difference is the want-to. If you want to submit your will to God’s will, God will enable you to do so.”

He hesitated. “I don’t think this Jesus stuff is for me,” he back-pedaled.

My heart sank just a bit. “No one can force you to accept Jesus Christ. Not even your life coach.” I chuckled. “But I do hope you will think about our conversation today. Your
purpose in life is wrapped up in Jesus Christ. I pray that one day you will understand that.”

I ended the session and said goodbye, wondering if the story with this particular client had ended.

But, I’m happy to say that the story did not end there. Surprisingly, my client continued on with me. After several more months of coaching, he eventually did see the light
and was born again. Today, he has found his purpose as a worship leader in his home church, and he has never been happier and more fulfilled.

By the grace of God, he discovered his destiny.

In surrendering to Jesus Christ, he went from the doldrums to the divine.

As for me, I am so thankful to have played a small part in his magnanimous discovery.

But it might never have happened if I myself had not chosen, many years earlier, to go from the doldrums to the divine by accepting Jesus Christ into my own life.

And that has made all the difference!
Copyright 2015 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD. All Rights Reserved.

This article first appeared in Book Fun Magazine, August 2015.

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio writes riveting fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. She resides in New Jersey with her husband of 45 years. They are the blessed parents of two amazing daughters, a wonderful son-in-law, and five rambunctious grandchildren. When she is not writing, MaryAnn loves to read, paint, and make up silly songs for her grandchildren.