Embracing Your God-Given Purpose Part 1

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. (Jer 1:5)

There’s this concept that when we have restrictions, we are actually being given freedoms.  Sounds counter-intuitive, right?  Well, maybe not.

Jeremiah tells us that God has a plan for us, a good plan (29:11) and that we have been set apart (1:5).  Romans tells us that we have been called according to His purpose (8:28).  Being told that you have been set apart for someone else’s purpose may sound like an overbearing restriction to the rest of the world, but it should sound like freedom to those who follow Christ.

At some point we all wander through this world trying to figure out what it is that we’re meant for.  Am I good at this?  Would I be good at that?  Some of us are given no direction at all while others are processing through the demands and expectations of those we love.  But at the end of all that wandering, there’s God.  Waiting.  In fact, He’s been waiting.  Since before you were born.  Since before He formed you in the womb.  Waiting to give you your purpose.  Or more rightly, His purpose for you.

But of course, His purpose for you can’t be everything.  No, it can only be one thing.  Which means you’re about to get quite a few restrictions.  But that’s okay!  Being restricted from doing all things, allows you the freedom to do your thing.  To focus all of the gifts, talents, and abilities God has given to you on your thing.  The thing God has set you apart for.

It used to bother me that I can’t sing.  Like really, really can’t sing.  I’m just not made for it.  That doesn’t keep me from singing in the shower or the car, but let’s just say I’m definitely not trying out for a solo in the church choir.  And I’ve learned not to sit around those women who can sing.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  I’m thinking they could have done opera at some point in their lives.  If I do accidentally place myself around one of those lovely women, I find myself trying to match their pitch.  Which, of course, I can’t.  So I end up sounding like a balloon with a slow leak in it.  Not a good thing my friends.

The good news is I finally came to terms with it.  Now, instead of stressing out about trying to find the right note, and wondering if everyone can hear how horrible I sound, I simply close my mouth and enjoy God’s gift.  Singing is not my purpose.  I’m clearly restricted from it, but that restriction gives me the freedom to embrace what’s meant for me, and to celebrate that purpose in others.

I simply want what God has set aside for me.

Here is what has been kept for you… it was set aside for you for this occasion. 1 Samuel 9:24

So what if you don’t know what your purpose is?  What if you’re still wandering around searching?

First, it does help to have friends and family who will help guide you.  Saul was out wandering around, looking for some lost donkeys, and he just so happened to have his servant with him.  When Saul was ready to give up and head back home, his servant spoke up, “There is a man of God…let’s go there now.” (1 Sa 9:6)  And even when Saul was ready with the excuse that he had nothing to bring to the man of God, nothing to offer, his servant didn’t let him off so easily, “I will give [the silver] to the man of God.” (vs.8)  Having a person or even a team of people willing to push you to seek God’s wisdom for your life and your purpose is in and of itself a gift from God.  Seek out those who will pray for you and lend you wisdom as you seek to find your purpose.

Second, don’t be scared to go outside of your comfort zone.  Samuel, the man of God, had just been told by God Himself that Saul would be the one to govern His people.  And yet, when Saul was given this news, all he could think about was how small and insignificant his tribe and clan were.  How completely unimportant he was.  How he was not enough.  So many times the purpose that God has for our lives rests outside of our comfort zone, what we’re used to.  Our bubble.  To think of reaching outside of that zone is scary.  We begin to doubt if we’re good enough for the job.  Truth is, we’re not.  But God is.  And it’s His purpose we’re doing anyway so I’m pretty confident that He’s got that good plan tucked away just waiting for us to be willing to pick it up.

Third, respond to what God puts in your heart.  After being anointed with oil, Saul’s heart changed.  Not because of some oil, but because God changed it.

The spirit of God came upon him in power and he joined in their prophesying. (vs.9)

That moment when God reveals His purpose to you, it changes you.  Things that seemed important before, aren’t.  Doubt turns into anticipation.  Worry turns into hope.  A fire burns in you that only your purpose will satisfy.  It won’t even be reasonable to those around you.  The people who knew Saul saw him with the prophets and asked, “What is this that has happened to [Saul]?” (vs.11)  But it won’t matter.  You won’t be able to explain it.  Finding God’s purpose for your life means having a heart that’s open to that kind of burning fire.

Finally, be prepared to leave it all behind.  Even after being anointed with oil and being chosen as the leader of God’s people, Saul went back home to Gilbeah and his fields.  It wasn’t until he made a decision to step into his role, his purpose, as king that he effectively left behind who he used to be.  But when he did, he was able to fulfill the role God had for him.  Sometimes, God asks us to leave it all behind for him.  Maybe that’s your hometown.  Maybe that’s a career.  Maybe that’s just the “plan” that you had for your life.  To really be able to live out our God-given purpose, we have to be prepared to leave it all behind.

And remember, just because you finally find your purpose, doesn’t mean that you can stop seeking after God intently.  We live in the world, and the world is ruled by a liar.  A liar that wants nothing more than to destroy your purpose.  We must be diligent to seek God’s continued direction and guidance even within the purpose He’s given us.

We have to remain on guard between what’s right, and what’s almost right.

Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong.  It is knowing the difference between right and almost right. – Charles Spurgeon


But Mom! When God Uses Children To Teach Us About Himself

I’m becoming more and more convinced that the Lord gives us children in order to teach us more about Himself.  To allow glimpses of His infinite wisdom in our finite experiences.

How so?

Let’s start with my Little One.

This past Christmas was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for her.  Day after day she expressed a deep desire for two very specific Lego sets.  (Let me just say that Lego Ninjago knew exactly what it was doing by coming out even remotely close to Christmas.)

I can’t tell you how many times we talked about those two sets.  We looked them up on every online supplier just to see if they were still in stock and who had them for cheaper.  We had to convince her not to spend every single cent she had, plus some of her sister’s, to buy it for herself before Christmas ever came.  Those Lego sets were the thing of dreams.

So of course, they were wrapped under the tree just waiting for the great reveal!

Then, with only about a week left until Christmas, she informs us that she has asked Santa for … an Elf on the Shelf.

What??!?!!  Excuse me?  Where did this come from?!

And for about 1,000 different reasons, that’s not happening.  As we lovingly explained to her that fact, she was crushed.

But why?  Why was she crushed?  Because all of her friends have one and she feels left out.  I’m so sorry kiddo, but that’s not reason enough.

Here it comes folks.  The Great God Moment.

She goes to bed, still upset, and I think to myself, “If she could just be patient for a few more days… What is already coming for her is so much better than a silly little doll.  It’s all she’s been dreaming of!”

I kid you not, I just felt like God was looking right over my shoulder going, “Yep.  I know what you mean.  It’s kind of like that dream that you’ve had.  You know, they one that you sit and talk to me about for hours on end?  But didn’t you also get upset with Me when I didn’t give you this other odd-ball thing that just popped into your head out of nowhere?  If you could only be patient for a little longer, what you have coming is so much better than you can imagine.”

You can bet that one hit me hard.

But God didn’t stop there.  I’ve got two daughters and He planned on using both of them.

My Oldest is basically a crazy cat lady in training.  I’m pretty sure she wants an indoor cat more than most people want their favorite sport team to win the championship.  The desire consumes her.

Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen.  It’s not like we haven’t gone down the road of animals.  We have.  And we have learned that we are not good animal parents.  It’s for the good of everyone, animal included, that we don’t bring a cat home.  It isn’t that I like to see her upset, I just know that it’s for the best.

And I’ve had to tell her that time after time, after time.  She just won’t give it up.

In fact, just the other day, when she began acting weird about going out of town, I finally got her to come clean that what she really wanted was to go by the Pet Store.

To which I said, “No.”  That wouldn’t be fair to her since it wouldn’t end the way she wanted.  I was trying to spare her feelings, really.  But it didn’t work.

Turn on the tears.  And the wailing.  And the gnashing of teeth.

Here it comes y’all.

I looked at her and said, “I am not the cause of your pain.  You are.  You allow yourself to have hope that there’s a chance I will change my mind.  But I don’t.  I don’t change.  My answer is always the same, and for reasons you don’t want to hear.  This pain comes from your failure to accept my answer.”

Oh goodness!  There’s God, right over my shoulder again saying, “Tell me about it!  It’s kind of like that thing you keep asking Me for even though you know almost as much as I do that it’s not the right thing for you.  My answer has never changed, only your ability to accept it.”

Okay.  Okay, I got it.  Well, I mean, I think I got it.

God has a plan.  He’s got a plan for me.  He’s got a good plan for me.

Can I please just trust Him?  Can I trust His timing?  Can I trust Him when He closes doors?  Can I trust that He hears me?  That He sees me?  That He loves me?

Can I trust that He loves me enough to keep me on the path that He has for me even when I get as distracted as a dog chasing a squirrel??

Man, I’m trying.

But if I forget again, at least He has two beautiful girls to use to help remind me.

Lord, please help me keep days of waiting from becoming days of doubt.  You are the God of split seas and crumbled walls, I know that You are ABLE!  Keep my eyes on YOU!