Most people are searching for meaning and purpose in life. Some center their entire lives on finding their destiny. Some make a career out of coaching others on how to define and determine their course. Nothing is wrong with any of the above. However, by learning the Word of God you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn about yourself. You will find that you don’t need anyone else to help you with the insights you seek.
I’ll put a pin right here.
I thought my period of self discovery was over. I thought I had gained the insights I was seeking and I was prepared to live a victorious life. I had the tools, training, and breakthroughs I needed. I had the answers and was ready to forge ahead. Little did I know the lessons I learned were manifold. God had only just begun to reveal His blueprint – into a whole other realm of knowledge I have yet to access. I was at a new starting point rather than the finish line.
In order to find meaning and purpose in life you have to look for the themes. Your life has a theme; a trend; something that reappears in every area. It’s God’s way of getting your attention. Because let’s face it – some of us need a little help! In that theme you will discover two things: your gift and your assignment. You may not see them initially. You may have to learn the hard way like me. If your life is busy and fast-paced it may require you to be silent and alone before you find it. You may have to break out of your comfort zone and face your fears to find it. You may have to lose everything just to gain some insight. Whatever the case may be, if you spend some time looking closely you will find a theme.
Your gift: Be careful not to confuse gifts and talents. They are not one and the same. Everyone has a gift. You don’t have to be “talented” per se to use your gift. Your gift was given to you by God at birth. It is something that comes naturally to you. It is something that you don’t have to try hard to do and follows you everywhere you go. Is it possible to live this life without acknowledging, utilizing, and endorsing your gift? Of course it is. Some of us run from our gifts. I used to. They can be burdensome or inconvenient to our desires and plans. They can be time consuming and interfere with the things we think we want. But the truth of the matter is, if you want fulfillment in life you will have to embrace your gift. You have to accept it and open your mind and heart to its full potential. Once you have done that you’re halfway there. That’s the easy part. (I Peter 4:10 & II Cor 9:15 & James 1:17)
Your assignment: The not so easy part is in carrying out your assignment. As the saying goes, use it or lose it! Once you have identified your gift, it would be cruel, selfish, and dishonorable not to use it. Have you ever had someone give you a gift and become offended because you did not put it to use? Naturally they are less inclined to give you gifts in the future. It’s the same way with God I think. Maybe not necessarily “offended” in the way humans are, but certainly I think He would reward you and honor you for using the gift He gave you to fulfill His plan. Likewise, you would be held accountable to squandering it away. Your gift is tied to your assignment. You will use your gift to fulfill your assignment. Your assignment is dependent upon your gift. God has an assignment for you. We are workers together with Him. (I Cor 3:9 & II Cor 6:1)
I’ll put another pin here.
My gift is leadership. As far back as I can remember I exhibited leadership skills. In elementary school I was a “teacher’s pet” as we call it. I didn’t follow the crowd. I volunteered for assignments that students didn’t normally do. I took care of the younger children at day care. I made it my job to get them to stop crying when their parents dropped them off. During recess I spent more time with the teachers more than the other kids. (For the most part I didn’t fit in. I was always the new girl or an outcast). I felt more comfortable helping the grown-ups. In middle school I represented my fellow classmates in “teen court” to defend them against pending disciplinary action. Then fast forward to college – nine times out of ten I was the group leader. I set the plans to complete assignments. I set the group meeting times and led presentations. I always had the urge (and still do) that someone needed to step up and set the tone. There needed to be an order, rhyme, and reason. I would be there to establish it. It got to a point where conflict began to arise. I majored in Business. As I neared the end of the program I was no longer the only leader. I was surrounded by other leaders. But there could only be one chief in the tribe. If it couldn’t be me there was smoke in the city. I didn’t know then what I know now – which brings me to my next point.
Before I could set out on using my gift I had to learn my most innate need. (It was part of my journey. I think it’s important for everyone to learn their innate needs before setting out on the path to utilizing their gift). My most innate need is to be needed. It dictates the course of my life. When I am in a situation where I no longer feel needed I am unhappy and unwilling to participate. I am not satisfied unless I am utilized. I need someone to call me for help, ask me my opinion, take my advice, or consult me in business matters. I might complain about it, but I subconsciously thrive off of it. I had to work through this before my gift could be impactful. This need became so prevalent that it trumped my judgment. My ego and necessity prevented me from being an effective leader. Had I not acknowledged and worked through this, my gift would still be useless. You have to overcome your selfish desires and learn self control in order to harness your gift.
My assignment is to affect and impact change in my environment. I used to find it annoying when people told me that my attitude shifted the energy in the room. I didn’t understand why people let me have so much power over their emotions; especially when I didn’t have an interest or stake in their feelings at time. It was mind blowing that my energy had so much power. But once I tied it all together I recognized that it was the power of God working in me. It wasn’t my position or education or authority that caused people to seek my approval and be influenced by my emotional being. It was all part of my design. My attitude and actions are not my own. They influence everything around me. If I have a bad attitude so does everyone else. If I am upset so is everyone else. If I am scared, in a panic, and out of control, so is everyone else. When I am calm, in order, and deliberate with what I say and do everything follows. If I am out of control so is everyone around me. When I am reserved and focused on the will of God and being a help to others, people follow suit. It is amazing. Thank God He used me for His plan. Otherwise, I think I could have a dangerous impact on society. I am not saying this to brag. I am illustrating a point. Your gift cannot be taken away by anyone but you. It can be used for good, evil, or not at all. Of course the enemy will try to recruit you to use it in his arsenal. You have to be steadfast and make up your mind how you carry out your assignment.
In knowing my gift and assignment I am free to choose how to carry them out. I have to embrace them and pursue a positive outcome. It’s not always easy. But it’s what I signed up for. I had to experience certain hardships to make myself a better leader. I had to be proven through trial and test. I continuously have to educate myself in the areas of leadership. God knows what He placed in me and the authority and power in which I can utilize it to carry out His plan. The same applies to you. Just be mindful that people will challenge it. The enemy will send people to make you second guess yourself. He will try to strip you of the resources and desire to pursue it. He knows it will advance the Kingdom of God. You are mistaken if you think he won’t jump through hoops to derail your efforts.
Your search for meaning and purpose are directly linked with harnessing your gift and using it to complete your assignment. No one else can do it but you. It was uniquely designed with you in mind. Learn to identify your innate needs and control selfish impulses. Learn about your gift. Make it your business to know all the facets of it. It was given to you by God himself. Honor Him with it. Show Him you appreciate it by using it. Ask Him how He wants you to use it. Accept His assignment. Ask Him to guide your path and leave it unhindered by the enemy.
Some of you are skeptical. You are thinking, well I am just me. I am not special. I don’t believe in God and/or I can’t relate. Those are all lies of the enemy number one. More importantly, even if you don’t believe in God but He still loves you. He freely gives and makes Himself available for you to access. You have met people along the way who changed you to your core with their gifts. Just as real as your experience was, God is the same. We all have a gift. We marvel and rely too heavily on others using theirs. We stand idly by as spectators in our own lives. We don’t acknowledge that there is much to be revealed waiting inside us. After all, we can’t all be Beyonce. Her gift is art (music and performance specifically). I guarantee that her assignment is more than breaking the internet. We can’t all be Martin Luther King. His gift was leadership and influence. His assignment was to sacrifice his life for the freedoms and benefits of others. We can’t all be Maya Angelou. Her gift was words. Her assignment was to invoke thought and change lives through her message. There are a million examples I can name; each with a unique gift that may or may not be tied to their careers, fame, fortune, and legacy. You may not be famous in completing your assignment. You may not be filthy rich in completing your assignment. But what’s more important? Physical and temporal gain or God’s favor? In the end God will hold you accountable and ask you what you did with His gift. After I answer I expect Him to say “Well Done”. How about you?