Finding your purpose sounds like a really great thing. But I have to warn you that it is not smooth sailing. You don’t punch it into the GPS of your life and have clear direction at every turn, advance warnings of detours, and safe arrival at exactly the time predicted. In this sixth blog on purpose, I have three final warnings.
Brace yourself! Once you know your purpose and start to live it, you have a target on your back. After Jesus was baptized, he was led into the wilderness to be tested for 40 days. After Paul was blinded by the light on the road to Damascus, his new identity and purpose were immediately put to the test. Paul started preaching that Jesus was the Messiah in the Jewish synagogues, and the people there were amazed because they knew of his previous reputation. (When Ice Queens, turn into Princesses, people notice.) But soon the Jews in Damascus decided to “take care of the situation” and plotted to kill Paul. Paul escaped Damascus with the help of friends who lowered him over the wall in a basket.
Why is it important for a Princess to know her identity and her purpose? Because some day, her Princess status will be challenged. It may or may not be challenged by other people, but I know for certain that the enemy Satan will challenge it. Paul knew where he came from, who he was, and what he was called to do. His confidence came from his identity in Christ and his belief in the true Gospel. Paul and the Princess have no confidence in themselves and all the things they are gifted in. Rather their confidence is in the One who gifted and called them to His purposes.
Remember that suffering was part of God’s purpose for Paul. Was Paul any less anointed or gifted when he was sitting in a jail cell? Was he less called when he was under house arrest? In God’s kingdom, suffering has a purpose. Are you ready to suffer? Will the Enemy be able to sidetrack you at the first sign of trouble?
Beware of the box – Sometimes God’s purpose does not look the way we always thought it would. Sometimes we look at our gifts and passions and we think we know exactly how God wants to use us. A couple weeks ago, I met a girl who loves Spanish and Latin cultures. Her grandmother was a missionary to Honduras, so naturally she felt she wanted to be a missionary. But what if God has a different way for her to use her love of Latin culture? What if she doesn’t ever become a missionary, but instead works in the United Nations? Would she have missed God’s purpose for her life? Or maybe you are a gifted singer, songwriter, musician. When that is your gifting we automatically see record deals and touring. But what if it’s leading worship in your local church or teaching music in a classroom? Have you missed God’s purpose if you never get your Nashville dream box?
Maybe you thought you had the perfect guy who met every one of your requirements for an ideal mate. You thought you would be living happily ever after by now, but you aren’t. Have you missed God’s best for your life? Consider other women who have a passion for children, but never marry or can’t have children of their own. Have they missed God’s purpose? Is the passion he put in them wasted? Nothing is wasted in the kingdom of God.
For me, I have a passion for teaching women the Bible. I always thought that meant I would be teaching in my local church like I have for the last five years. But that’s not what I’m doing this year. If I don’t do it through my church, does that mean I’ve missed God’s purpose for my life? I’m learning that there are lots of ways to teach women the Bible. I think God is blowing up my box. This box held my dream in a predictable place where I was safe and comfortable. However living with purpose when you don’t know the plan is quite terrifying. But it takes me to the place where I have to choose whether or not I will trust him more. The Princess must choose to look to him and follow, no matter where he leads. Will you trust that he has a purpose even when it doesn’t fit your box?
You can’t please everyone – When you live according to your purpose, you will have to say no. You will have to disappoint some people, especially people who are used to you saying yes. One of the myths of modern womanhood is that you can be 100% wife, 100% mom and 100% employee. This will leave you exhausted and failing 100% of the time. You can’t be everywhere and do everything. Something has to give. Someone is going to be unhappy and feel left out. Someone is going to get less than 100%.
Some days your kids don’t have a home cooked dinner because you go on a date with your spouse. Some days your husband has no clean underwear because you had a work project that required extra time. Sometimes you have to take a sick day to be with a sick child. So how do you know who you should disappoint? The Princess asks the King. The Holy Spirit is the one who knows exactly what you should do. The King is fully capable of filling in the gaps and picking up the balls you have dropped. Remember it is ultimately his job to make sure everyone, including you, has what he or she needs.
It is so important to remember whom you are trying to please because sometimes, you won’t please the people around you. Tamar didn’t look like a nice Christian girl dressed as a prostitute waiting for Judah to come along. Mary, the mother of Jesus, didn’t look like a good Jewish girl when she showed up pregnant and unmarried. The woman who anointed Jesus with perfume and wept as his feet experienced scowls from religious leaders, even the disciples, in the room. But each one was declared righteous in God’s sight. Each one was exactly where God needed her to be to accomplish His purposes.
Sometimes pleasing Him makes us look stupid or even worse, unrighteous. But Paul lived a life that was solely focused on pleasing the Father. Jesus said that he did nothing apart from the Father. His food was to do the will of Him who sent him. The Princess lives only to please the Father and carry out His mission for His kingdom. So whom are you trying to please?
Don’t give up! My hope is that you will know who you are in Christ, that you will know how he has gifted you and that you will make courageous choices to trust him more with your life. Dear Princess, you can trust the King with your life. You belong to Him!