Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. The fact that there is no specific path laid out to get where you feel God is calling you to go may be evidence that it’s God at work. If divine discontent is stirring in your soul, don’t spend too much time looking for someone else who has done that exact thing. God’s purpose for your life is unique to YOU.
The world creates boxes and expects you to fit into one of them; career paths, ways of doing ministry, how you bring yourself to the world. Over time culture brings change to those boxes, but you’re still expected to find one and conform to it. Too often the church follows this same paradigm; which of these “jobs” for volunteers will you take on?
God works quite differently. God is orderly but never predictable. He doesn’t create a honeycomb of “slots” and then look for people to fill them. Instead, He has in mind the mission He desires to accomplish and builds unique human beings to partner with Him in the specific roles needed to fulfill that mission.
In other words, God builds originals. You are an original!
He’s always done that. Understanding that God’s purpose for your life is unique to YOU brings a great deal of relief, joy, and fulfillment.
Look at some Biblical examples of how God creates and uses originals.
God called Noah to build an ark. Never had been done before, and never would be done again. Unique. (Genesis 6-8)
Abraham was called to leave his home and journey to and through a land he never owned, but was promised to his descendants as an inheritance. First time – and last time – God did it exactly that way. (Genesis 12:1-4)
Moses learned leadership in the palace of Egypt, and then learned humility caring for sheep on the backside of the desert before leading millions of Hebrews across that same desert. The only human God ever did that with.
Isaiah walked around naked for three years at God’s instruction. (Isaiah 20:2-3) I for one am glad God did that one time, with Isaiah and not me!
There was no office of “traveling evangelist” when the highly intellectual Paul set out to bring the message of Jesus to the then-known world. Difficult, complicated, opposed, and sometimes confusing. Definitely unique.
We could name many more. These examples illustrate how God doesn’t tend to repeat Himself. None of these Biblical heroes set out to do something “great” for God; they simply were following and listening and saying Yes when God gave them directions.
Learn From, don’t Mimic
When Paul said “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) he wasn’t implying that everyone should leave home and travel from place to place planting small gatherings of Jesus-followers. He was saying that we should all follow Jesus as closely as Paul did. The kind of heart transformation and radical obedience Paul’s life demonstrated should be seen in our own lives.
There are many elements of how God worked in the lives of Biblical heroes that we can and must learn from. But that never means our lives will be identical to any of them. The Bible does not demonstrate that God has a single way of working with humans; in fact it demonstrates that He works uniquely with each one. But we can learn from every story element that help us recognize how God may be working with us.
It’s the same with examples we see among fellow followers of Jesus today. There’s the temptation to see God’s work in someone else as a template for what He will do with us, and that’s often not the case. The career someone else has in ministry, the way someone else writes or speaks, the family or marriage someone else is blessed with – why can’t I have that kind of “success?”
Remember, God’s purpose for your life is unique. He hasn’t called you to be Lysa TerKeurst, Christine Caine, Joyce Meyer, Andy Stanley, Stephen Curtis Chapman, or the next Benham Brother. He’s called you to be you! And if you really knew any of those modern-day faith leaders you probably wouldn’t truly want the life they have; it’s been terribly costly.
That doesn’t mean you can’t learn from those individuals or others. Yes, study them! Find the inspirational leaders God has led before you. Learn from their mistakes and their successes. Be voraciously hungry to gather insight, tools, inspiration from others.
And then spend time on your face before God seeking to know the next step He has for you.
Having a Unique Purpose
I don’t know of anyone else in the world with my story or unique mode of ministry. I don’t know anyone else who has taken just the road I have to come to be where I am now. There were times I desperately looked for a “model” that would show me what to do next, what to expect next, or what it would look like when I got there. There was no such model!
Yes, I have absolutely incorporated aspects of what others have done in healthcare, business, and ministry into what I’m doing now. But there’s no roadmap I’ve been able to follow. The academic training I’ve gone through for both medicine and ministry offers a foundational understanding, but I’m not using any model I learned in school. It’s been following what God has done in my heart and learning from what works and doesn’t work.
What God has planned for you will be in some ways unique. You will be able to learn from others, and indeed you should! But don’t be surprised if there are some aspects in which what God does with you is brand new.
Let me encourage you to embrace how God’s purpose for your life is unique. Others may or may not like what is original about you, but God does! And ultimately His opinion is the only one that really matters.
Your Turn: Can you see unique aspects of your story, of how God made you, and what He is doing with you? Can you embrace how His purpose for your life is unique regardless of what other people say? Leave a comment below.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- God’s purpose for your life is unique to YOU! Learn from others, but don’t mimic them. God grows originals. The Bible is full of them! And you’re an original too. Tweet that.
Do you want to live FULLY ALIVE?
There are simple steps you can take EVERY DAY that will propel you forward in experiencing the kind of life you want, and that God wants for you physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.
Get your FREE Resource Guide now: 7 Keys to Living Fully Alive – from the Inside Out.