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I was an unusual girl. (Let’s be real… I’m still an unusual girl.) I’m the type that from a very young age was often referred to as an “old soul.” I thought about the vast and deep things of life while other kids chased each other around the playground. I asked existential questions, pursued wisdom, wondered if there was a forever, and desired “enlightenment” for as long as I can remember. I guess you could say I was aware of “eternity written on my heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) from my earliest years.
I didn’t know God. Not really. But I certainly believed that we each had a specific purpose to fulfill in this life. Back then I would have called it destiny.
Like most people, I was richly curious to discover what my purpose was and I never would have imagined that it would take 35 years to figure it out. Thank goodness Jesus is so long-suffering.
More than sharing the specifics of my own God-given dreams and purpose, today I am much more interested in yours. And making sure you discover it. I remember being afraid of giving my life to God— mostly of losing “control.” I thought it would be dull. Too hard. Too serious. Too risky. If that’s you today, can I tell you this? It’s anything BUT those things! If someone has convinced you that God is boring, or wants to control you, or is totally consumed by all the rules you break— I have to insist, they’re wrong. You are His treasure. He literally has the most mind-blowing, fulfilling things for you to do. He desires closeness with you, genuine love, to mend the parts of you that are broken, and to lead you into a plan that will leave this world different than it was when you entered it.
It’s not a cliché that when you lay down your life, you’ll find it in Him (Matthew 10:39). It’s about trust. It’s trusting that He has your best interests at heart, knows you better than you know yourself, and that in the end you’ll find it was completely worth it to give yourself to Him.
Who are you and why are you here?
I think we often get it backwards. We want to know what we’re supposed to do and God wants to start with WHO WE ARE. Do you know already? Has it sunken all the way into your bones, your blood, and your heart of hearts? Once you accept Jesus as Savior and invite Him to be Lord of your life, You become a Child of God. You were made to worship Him, to be whole, to walk out His Word, to serve His people. Do you believe these things? Oftentimes God doesn’t start to tell us about the what for our lives until we’re solid in the who.
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with John Bevere, his powerhouse wife Lisa, and their ministry Messenger International— but I am confident to advocate for them and recommend their bible studies to you #1) because they’re Purdue Boilermakers like me, #2) Because I’ve seen them face to face and they’re the real deal—Jesus is their number 1, and #3) I’ve completed many of their studies and read their books and every time I’ve come away changed for the better. Right now there’s a special program they are offering only for a short time called Unlock Your Calling. I haven’t personally gone through it yet, but if you’re searching for the right study to help you identify your purpose, I would absolutely recommend it to you. You can’t go wrong with the Bevere’s resources! Check it out if you’re curious!
Now let’s delve into the best ways I know to pursue God and discover your specific purpose for being alive right here, right now.
FIVE KEYS to getting to the bottom of why you’re here:
1. Learn to recognize God’s voice
Do you know that God will talk to you directly? That blew my mind the first time I heard it 7 years ago. I believe this is one of the fundamental keys of our faith walk. Period. But it’s also INCREDIBLY COOL.
John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me.” See, once we become a follower of Jesus, He says we’re supposed to hear His voice.
The way to begin to hear His voice is to spend as much time as you can reading His Word (“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” –Romans 10:17). Then the key is to get really quiet. (Good luck Mommas… it’s possible though, I promise!) It comes easier after a while. We just have to learn how to tune our spiritual ears in to that still small voice.
We also have to learn to discern between the different voices, because God isn’t the only one talking. In addition, there’s the voice of our flesh, the world, and Satan. If you want to learn more on this subject, one of my favorite books is “Discerning the Voice of God” by Priscilla Shirer. It will answer so many questions and train you to hear and discern our Lord’s voice.
Here’s the thing… if we want to fulfill what God would have us do with our lives, shouldn’t we hear the instructions straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak?
We can’t skip this. It has to be #1 on our to-do list. I would hate to go before the throne of God once my time on this earth is over and hear that I missed what He sent me here to do. I pray that you’ll pursue Him and His voice above everything else. Hearing and obeying will always keep us on that narrow path that leads to life, and it will always be a great thrill, too. <3
2. Develop your skills and strengths.
This one surprised me a bit because it seemed… too temporal, maybe? But nonetheless, working on my own personal growth and developing my skills actually gave God a lot of space to reveal the gifts He’s given me.
A mentor of mine once gave me this insight: It’s easiest for God to direct a moving vessel.
As long as I was frozen still, I didn’t hear much from God. DO NOT get me wrong. There’s a time and place to just BE STILL, for heaven’s sake. But there’s also a place to move out in faith, with a heart open to God, and trust that He will direct (or redirect) our paths.
The secret here is this— I love this quote from Corrie ten Boom: “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.” Let’s keep God and His will first place before us and within us.
3. Get out of God’s way.
I’m sure I sometimes still get in His way, I’m not going to lie. But by and large, if we want to receive what He has for us, we have to release what WE had for us.
My Spiritual Mama, Terry often quotes bible teacher Fuchsia Pickett saying, “You have to lay down your will, your way, your wants, your walk, your worship, your warfare…” and I’ll add to the mix— your opinions, your religion, and your limiting beliefs.
I’m not saying it’s easy. But it is necessary. If we’re hung up on our own plans, how will we make space for God’s? In my experience, I can’t even HEAR what He’s saying to me when I’m clinging too tightly to me. He had to open my mind about a lot of things to receive the details of my purpose from Him.
How do you do this? Ask the Holy Spirit to help. Pray the simple prayer, “Lord, I’m willing to be made willing. Mold me into whatever you need me to be.” Stay in prayer, worship, and His Word. It won’t take long when you’re marinating in His presence. We just need a revelation of His goodness and then it’s easy to allow the old things to pass away and become someone totally new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
4. Pursue God until you know like you know like you know who you are. And believe it.
I touched on this a bit before we even launched into this list. In this life, we’re on a journey to discover two critical truths about ourselves. 1) Who we are, and 2) Specifically and personally, Why we’re here. We have to be careful we don’t confuse the two.
To find out who you are, you have to start with Who God Is. You’ll probably chuckle at me here … but you do this by getting in His Word so you can hear and discern His voice. 🙂 (The good news is that there’s a lot of overlap between these keys… That will ultimately reduce your to-do list, right?)
When you uncover Who you are and understand Whose you are– you’ll be at peace, even if your life is facing a storm. You’ll feel secure. You’ll have an eternal perspective. You’ll be bold in your faith. You’ll know your spiritual and natural giftings– although they may need development. And you’ll be ready to receive your marching orders.
5. Begin your journey to healing and soul restoration.
You know that old phrase: “she’s got baggage?” We use it to describe someone we believe to be extra dramatic, troubled, or high maintenance, but in all truth— it applies to each and every one of us. Even those who appear to have it all together and never let their feathers get ruffled in public.
Life is hard and we all have one or multiple experiences with heartbreak that are part of our story. It might be fashionable to keep a stiff upper lip, shove pain to the side, and pretend we’re indifferent, but God knows better. Rejection, abandonment, and abuse HURT. We may try to ignore it, go around it, or medicate it, but the only way to become whole again after we’ve been hurt is to move through the pain with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer.
If we don’t, we take baggage with us into the next chapter of our lives.
We unequivocally walk out our purpose best when we’re whole. And more so, I believe that God can communicate our purpose to us most clearly once we’re whole. It seems to be when we best have ears to hear.
Don’t get me wrong, in one sense this is a lifelong process. We can’t expect perfection from ourselves or any other human, but we can start well. My personal favorite ministry for this is Restoring Relationships. Their website hosts a program called the Online Journey which will lead you through a very thorough process of addressing the wounds of your life and leave you fresh, renewed, and more whole than you’ve ever been before. (That is, after you do the gut wrenching work set before you to acknowledge the pain and embrace God’s healing.) You can also choose to work with one of their staff if you would like additional, professional assistance. That’s what I did.
Enter into the Joy of Our Lord
I wholeheartedly bless you today as you go in and come out. I pray that you would draw ever nearer to God, incline your heart to His voice, seek His plans, and pursue His healing.
I hope these steps are an encouragement to you no matter where you are in the process and I’m so excited to hear about all God has in store for you. I believe you will do great things in His name.
Are there other keys that you would add to the list? Every journey is different and I’d be honored to hear about yours! Please share with us in the comments!
Thanks, Lizzie. I needed to read this today.
Your encouragement is your Gift.
Such good stuff! Thanks so much for sharing!