28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
One topic I constantly bring before the Lord is the issue of living out His purpose for my life. It comes up often. Recently, it came up again. I was feeling the Lord asking me to go in a certain direction and my questions came up again.
I wanted to be sure it was not one of my seemingly hare brained ideas. One of those ideas I have chased after that seemed to get me nowhere. I asked the Lord for a word as I went to church the next day. And the things my Pastor shared really humbled me. I asked for a word and I got a whole sermon.
He spoke about living for our purpose as against living the life of our dreams. We have lots of dreams, but do they line up with the purpose of God for our lives? He talked about the fact that the world is bursting forth with young people full of dreams, middle aged people with broken dreams and old people wondering if the life they had lived was worth it.
Then He concluded that the answer was living for your God given purpose rather than your dreams. I took it a step further and concluded, live your dreams around what you discover to be your God given purpose. In other words, live your life around your purpose. Live the life God had purposed for you.
I was humbled by the message, not because I was hearing it for the first time, but because, He was confirming to me yet again that the life I had chosen to live for Him was not a waste of time. He was pleased with it. I may not understand why, because it looks so small compared to the dreams I had, but they are in line with His timing and ultimate purpose.
It also gave me the courage to begin to look closely at the immediate next thing I believe He is leading me into. It looked like it was too much for me. I was done with attempting big things that seemed to get me nowhere. Then I come to the understanding that disappointed dreams are usually stepping stones to the real thing-His purpose.
God uses our disappointments to build us up, to draw us closer to Himself, to enable us ultimately appreciate who we truly are in Him and finally to discover our real purpose in life. It is almost impossible for a believer to enter his God given purpose without disappointed dreams. They usually open the floodgates to the real deal.
So I looked at what lay ahead and refused to touch it. Not again. Not another attempt. Not again. Then I felt the Lord tugging at my heart. ‘It is me this time, Chinwe, trust me’. I felt like Peter when Jesus him to walk on water, or throw out his net after a long night without any catch. Once again I was looking at God’s purpose for me.
I discovered my purpose a few years back to be an exhorter and encourager. The summary of His purpose for me is in Isaiah 61:1-3. The Message version puts it in everyday language
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace— a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies— and to comfort all who mourn, To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory.
To get to the place where I understood it, there were several broken dreams, several sacrifices, a lot of pain. But at the end of it all, the Lord said to me, ‘You are an exhorter and encourager’. I began to understand the events of my life better when I understood this about myself. It all added up, but not until then.
I realized that it takes courage, boldness and total fearlessness to live the life of purpose. Initially, it never looks like there is anything to your life when you do. It doesn’t always look like what anyone should aspire to. Staying with it, despite how your friends, associates, family and loved ones perceive it, can really try your faith. But the thing is to follow through. Don’t be discouraged at the times of disappointment, at the times when it looks like you’re wasting away. He is right in the middle of it all. It’s all part of the plan, part of His purpose.
However, it did not prepare me for this next phase which He was showing me. I could not receive what He was saying. Then He sent my Pastor with His word to me. And it settled it all for me.
I have asked for further boldness, courage and fearlessness to get into this next phase. It is exciting and more in line with the things I had always hoped for. Why so long Lord? ‘Because you have held on. Now is the time, now is the season you have looked forward to. The dreams came from me. I just did not give you the process that would bring it to pass, how it would play out.’
I like to share my life with the world because that is the essence of the purpose driven life, to tell the world what He can do in a life that is submitted to His will. There will be lows, but there are so many highs. Yes I have dreams that fell apart, but I love my life, the life He has given me. I would not exchange it for anything in the world. I have no regrets at all about my choices in life because I made them all wanting to live out His purpose and plans for my life. I wanted to please Him. I wanted Him to be delighted with me. You know what, He is. He tells me so all the time.
Will you dare to live out His purpose for you? Will you dare to be the authentic, God created you? Will you look past your disappointments and follow Him still? Will you trust that He still has a lot in store despite your experiences? Will you dare to trust and believe Him when He says He has good thoughts towards you? Dare to be you?
As I go into my next level, I still have to trust that He will do as He says He will. He has brought me this far, He won’t let me down now. That’s not who He is. I dare to be me, the authentic Chinwe. Hallelujah. Ck