Thursday, January 2, 2014

Preparing for your Purpose

The essence of who we are and how we see ourselves in light of our creator can affect how we go about seeking our purpose in life. This means the image we have of ourselves and the kind of relationship we have developed with God over time will determine if we seek him first to reveal our purpose to us, or we go about finding our purpose on our own. The biggest mistake is trying to find purpose and meaning in things, in people or in our accomplishments. None of those things can give us meaning or a sense of direction like God can. Many of us are even scared to look within to find the answers we need because we are afraid of what we may learn about ourselves in the process. To be fully able to live out our true purpose and calling, we must first be willing to face the truth about ourselves, this includes coming to terms with where we are in our journey, areas we may be lacking, habits or addictions that we have acquired over the years that may be holding us back, as well as evaluating our current relationships/friendships to determine how those relationships are impacting or hindering our growth. Another important area to consider is the environment we are in; some environments can actually prevent us from reaching our full potential because we are not able to express ourselves freely and creatively as we would like. Jesus couldn’t perform miracles in his hometown because of the unbelief he saw in the people around him. This tells me people’s expectations, belief or lack thereof can impact us. If the environment you are in does not allow you to be your true self, nor does it gives you the freedom to use your gift well, then you need to find a way out of that environment, so you can fulfill the purpose God has for your life.
Discovering our true identity is the first step in preparing for our purpose and calling unless we know who we are, we cannot begin to search for our purpose and meaning in life. Our calling is connected to who we are. There are people who allow their circumstances or life to make a choice for them. For instance, they make career choices based on their interest, they choose life partners based on looks, chemistry or financial status, they pick a city to reside in based on who they already know living there, they choose a major based on what their family decide for them, and this list could go on and on. The moment we begin to allow other people or our circumstances to dictate our path, we have lost the power of who we are. The battle is really about staying true to who we are throughout the journey.
Our journey to finding and fulfilling our purpose is really what prepares us for our mission in life. Those moments of waiting on God, and those lonely periods where we wonder “God where are you” is really shaping and molding us to become the person we were created to be. The experiences we go through in life and the different seasons that we pass through contributes to our growth. One of the ways you can prepare for our purpose/calling is learning to depend on God, and drawing strength from him. The place God is going to take you as you discover your true identity may be rough some times, and you have to learn to encourage yourself. Not everyone is going to understand your heart, your passion, your drive, and what you believe in, there will be times you will have no one to support you. I am still on the journey of preparing for my purpose, every trial and pain I have experienced along the way has helped me developed the character that will sustain me through the fulfillment of my purpose. Timing is also really crucial in stepping out to fulfill our purpose. When we are connected to God we get the nudge to step out on faith, or things may begin to fall into place letting us know it’s time to launch out. I prefer to allow things take its natural course without trying to force or rush things. I know it’s tempting to want to try to promote myself and put myself out there, so people can notice my gifts, and that is not a bad thing, it works for some people. I believe when we are starting out and trying something new, it’s wise to move with caution and go at our own pace, rather than what you see everyone around us doing. Not everyone can handle the attention they receive from people who admire their gifts or talents when it becomes too much, and there is the issue of getting the wrong kind of attention. Which is why timing is so important, if you step out prematurely before you are fully ready, the people who respond to your gifts/talent may unconsciously put pressure on you, and you start feeling the need to perform, out-do what you did previously, or even keep up a certain standard. I rather patiently wait on God to work on my heart and strip me of things that would stand in the way of keeping him as my focus as I venture out. So at the end of the day, the success I experience doesn’t keep me puffed up but humble. Then there is the idea of trying to rush things, and get people to like you at all cost in the process of fulfilling your purpose, and when you don’t get the recognition or the attention you are looking for, you begin to internalize people’s reaction or lack of reaction towards you. You can prepare for this stage by surrounding yourself with loving people who believe in you, care about you, and people who can keep you grounded. These people know you well enough that they are able to encourage you when we feel down and discouraged, push you when you feel like giving up, and keep you grounded.
It is important to share your gift and your heart with people in small ways to bless those around you even when it feels like no one is appreciates your effort. Sometimes you have to keep doing that for a while, before God brings the right people across your path, who will either support you, or who would need what you have to offer. Success doesn’t happen overnight for most people, sometimes the only people who may be supporting you for a while may just be your family and friends, or even just your friends, that’s okay, and we have all gone through that process. We cannot really control how things turn out, but we can only hope that our effort will be rewarded at the end.
Finally prayer ties everything in, you should carry God with you throughout the process. You will need his constant guidance and direction as you go along the way. You will need his wisdom and strength each step of the way especially when things get hard. Even knowing the right things to say or write about takes wisdom, which can come through prayer. Prayer is a great way of talking to God about the desires of your heart regarding your vision, and listening to his response to see if those desires line up with his will for your life.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The importance of Timing and Being Ready for what you prayed for

There is great danger in wanting things prematurely that we are not adequately prepared for, because those very things once you get them becomes a problem. There is a gap between what you desire in your life, and what you capable of handling. God will only give you what it thinks you can handle at a given time Often times we may be praying for things that we are not quite ready for. Our motive may be in the right place for needing those things, but our hearts and mind are not aligned to receive the blessings we so desire. If we are not careful and choose to pursue those things anyways, we might end up getting more than we can handle. The thing that was supposed to bring us joy, becomes a source of pain as a result of our impatience. Many of the headaches and frustrations we experience in life, can be avoided if we only learn how to be patient for the things our heart desires until its appropriate time. The good things in life we pray for such as seeing our dreams and visions come to pass, meeting the man/woman of our dreams, buying our dream home, starting a family, or any other thing we are trusting God for, will be rewarding once we are ready to receive those things. I am no expert in this area of waiting on God’s perfect timing. There have been times I have missed God’s timing because I was faced with a lot of pressure, and there were also times when I was just too desperate to get something, that I ended up with the wrong things. Developing the patience in waiting on God’s promise for my life is something I have had to learn again and again. Being in God’s will is the safest place to be, once you step outside of it life becomes a constant struggle. I have started projects that I didn’t complete because God was not involved, I have also trusted the wrong people who didn’t have my best interest at heart, and ended up hurt. There were other times I felt I was ready but the events that followed showed how unprepared I was for the things I wanted. Before you think about pursuing the things you want and need in life, make sure you are also preparing yourself for those things.
Every good gift comes with responsibility, nothing good comes easy. You shouldn’t be praying earnestly for a child, when you cannot even take care of yourself or run a household, you shouldn’t be anxiously waiting to meet the man/woman of your dreams, when you haven’t first discovered who you are, or learned how to love yourself. In addition, you cannot be thinking of having a big platform to inspire people, and motivate them to success in different areas of life, when your own life is out of order, or when you lack the discipline and the ability to motivate yourself. Timing plays an important role in the events that take place in our lives, and everything is beautiful in its own time.
There are also other factors that determine when the timing is right to get our needs met, for instance, our emotional and mental state at the time. Our emotional and mental state can affect the kind of choices we make; the more unstable we are mentally or emotionally the more likely we allow our emotions cloud our vision. As a result we end up making the wrong choice. When we are at a place in our life where we are experiencing a lot of changes that is not a good time to make any life-changing decisions because we are under a lot of stress, and we might end up getting into mistakes. Sometimes, we may be feeling pressure from outside sources, and we are forced to make decisions quickly without giving much thought to it, at other times we make decisions out of desperation and discontent, both outcomes can lead to regrets. God’s timing of giving us the things we need is completely different from our timing. Often times we think we are ready, but God may be thinking we still have some growing to do, so he delays things until we are more matured to handle our heart desires.
At other times God presents our heart desire to us before its timing. This forces us to grow in our relationship with God, because we can’t have what we want at that particular time, which causes us to develop the discipline to wait on God’s perfect timing to receive that thing. The right thing at the wrong time can still feel very wrong. I like how Melvin Davies puts this, and I quote “what is shown to you prematurely serve the purpose of drawing you closer to God, thus strengthening your spiritual walk and relationship with Him, What you can’t have now but is meant for you to have will mature you”. I completely agree to this insight, I am currently at a place where I am seeing something I prayed for, but didn’t know if I could ever experience it, now that I see that it is possible to have that particular thing in that way, I have to be patient for it because I am not fully ready to receive it. I kick myself for not preparing myself for it beforehand, however, I find strength in knowing that this particular situation will grow me and make me better, so when the timing becomes right, I can totally enjoy the blessing God has for me.
My next post will cover how you prepare to receive the blessings God has for you, my focus will be on preparing for your career/purpose/calling and also preparing for love. Stay tuned.