Have you ever asked yourself “What am I supposed to do with my life?” I have. More than once. Like, more times than my fingers and toes put together could add up.
You probably know the “big picture” answer to that question: We were created to bring God glory (Isa. 43:7). But I’m talking about the details: what has God placed you and me specifically on this earth to do? Because you, me, all of us, were made for a specific purpose.
Psalm 139 puts it this way:
“You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways . . . In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me” (Ps. 139:3, 16).
No road worth following is ever an easy journey.
God has given each of us different gifts, talents, passions. I’m not passionate about crochet, but you may be. We’re wired to respond to certain things differently than the next person. And that’s great. Look how God used people with different gifts to accomplish His purposes—Amy Carmichael was a missionary, George Washington was a politician, and Billy Graham is an evangelist. That’s some variation! And yet, they were all working for the greater purpose of bringing glory to God’s kingdom.
There is a problem. We live in a world chock-full of distractions. I bet that even as you’re reading this blog your phone will ding with a text from someone. From TV series to magazines to that chirping letting you know someone just tweeted about their overdone lasagna, it’s hard to stay focused on anything for too long.
Nehemiah’s Laser Focus
Recently, I was reading in my Bible about Nehemiah. Here’s a rundown for you in case you’re not familiar with the story. Nehemiah was told by God to rebuild the wall surrounding Jerusalem. Problem was, he lived in Susa and worked for King Artexerxes. And Susa (the capital of Babylon) was a looong way from Jerusalem. But that didn’t stop Nehemiah. After getting the King’s permission, Nehemiah set out to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. Then he ran into problems two and three: Sanballet and Tobiah. These guys were the bullies of Nehemiah’s day, and didn’t like anything good happening for the Jews (Neh. 2:10). As the Jews worked on the wall, Sanballat and Tobiah sent Nehemiah a letter. Five letters actually, asking that Nehemiah meet with them. Did he agree? Nope, not a chance. Listen to Nehemiah’s response:
“And I sent messengers to them saying, ‘I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?'” (Neh. 6:3).
Wow. Did you hear that?! Read that again! I want to write this on my forehead so that when I look in the mirror I’m reminded about the importance of pursuing my mission in life. Nehemiah didn’t listen to Sanballat and Tobiah because he knew God had given him a task to accomplish, and he wasn’t leaving until it was finished.
Often distractions are as clear as the nose on your face. But sometimes distractions get sneaky and look really good. They’re presented as a weekend sleepover at a friend’s house when you should be finishing that paper. Or maybe it’s a new job offer, one that looks too good to resist. They appear to be great opportunities, but sometimes what appears to be a good thing is just drawing your attention away from where it should be focused.
God works through our passions and gifts. When we understand that, we’ll put aside distraction and pursue activities and projects where we will have the most impact. Others will be touched and influenced. Most importantly, God will be glorified and honored when we passionately pursue what he’s placed on our hearts to do.
WARNING: Pursuing Our God-Given Dreams Won’t Be Easy
There will be sacrifice, hard work, and lots of distraction. No road worth following is ever an easy journey; it’s a winding, bumpy road covered with harrowing hairpin turns. If the road you’re on scares you at times, you’re likely headed in the right direction.
With that in mind, here’s something to chew on: anything that diverts your attention from your God-given task, pursuit, or dream is a distraction. But every step you take farther along the path God’s placed you on will make His voice all the clearer about the future.
What’s in your life that is distracting you from pursuing what God has called you to do? I’d like to hear about it!