One of the best ways to win a battle is to be prepared for it beforehand. I would like to suggest one simple idea that can stand as an ever-ready “way out” through God’s grace and providence when we experience a spiritual attack on our placement and purpose. In fact, it’s such a simple idea, you can even do it right now – right where you sit – even while you read this post:
Ask God, right now, what is your specific purpose? Go ahead – ask Him: why does God have you in this specific place (location / job / setting / neighborhood / etc.) at this particular time?
Think deeper than your job title: you are more than a nurse, a waiter, a carpenter, a stay-at-home Mom, an accountant, a full-time student… Yes, you are performing a job, but you are not your occupation. There are literally millions of people around the world who can do your job. But they are not here. You are. So, why you, specifically? And why now?
If you’ve been in your particular setting – your job, company, neighborhood, location – for more than two years, then I’ll re-phrase the question a bit: what is God’s specific purpose for you for this year? For this particular moment in the life of your company / location / neighborhood / family?
At work or school or home, it is not just the job that you do that is significant. It is also who you are: what you bring with you to that specific community of people and to the individuals there who will interact with you, learn from you, feel your touch, hear your voice, see your face, share meals with you.
God’s purpose for you is not just that you would be a nurse or waiter or carpenter or stay-at-home Mom or student or any other job. You are also there to be a unique person—to be yourself, and to bring your unique personality to that specific community of people in your workplace, home, or school. This is significant, and we have to remember that our being where we are is not random or arbitrary. God very intentionally chose the specific place and time that He wanted each one of us to be in the world.
Some of you are where you are due to circumstances beyond your control:
- Maybe a tragedy or betrayal or just bad timing or miscommunication is to blame for your current place in life.
- Or maybe like Joseph in the Book of Genesis, you may be the victim of injustice or someone else’s selfish choices.
- Or maybe you are a teenager, in which case, you are where you are because that is where your family is.
Whether your circumstances are good or bad – and regardless of the cause for your being in them – can I boldly say that God has a divine purpose for your being there? And your being there is far more than just the job you perform, the tasks for which you are responsible.
God’s purposes for you are far deeper and richer than the title on your badge. If you will allow Him, He has you in a particular community of people that needs you at this unique time—a community which benefits from you. A community which would be missing something valuable if you weren’t there: your friendship…your spirit…your smile…your accent…your past experiences…your heart…your personality…your sense of being.
If I could press you a bit, I want to ask each of you to ask God to help you come up with a one sentence purpose statement for yourself at this particular season of your life.
Here are some guiding questions, just to jump-start your imagination:
- What am I doing?
- Why am I doing it?
- Where do I fit in?
- What is it that I bring or do that no one else brings or does in quite the same way?
- What is the one unique talent you bring to your company, organization, neighborhood, family?
- What is the one thing only you can do?
- What do others come to you for when they need help?
- What activities are you passionate about?
- What is your critical role?
- What is your unique contribution?
- What is your core competency?
If it helps to think about it this way, you can answer this question: “At the end of the day, if I’ve done… (this), then I’ve done my job. I’ve fulfilled God’s call on my being here for this day if I have done… (this).” In your answer, remember to focus on your benefit to others over the tasks you are responsible for. Keep your answer simple and short enough to easily remember and recite to yourself on those hard days when your sense of purpose or value or worth are under attack.
It could be that God may give you a sense of purpose through a specific Bible verse, story, or character when you ask Him. Be open for that.
So your homework assignment is simple, but potentially life-altering: ask God to help you create a personal statement of purpose for why He has you where you are at this specific time, in this particular place. Why you? Why now? One clear, concise, and compelling sentence. Something you can easily memorize and recite to yourself when your co-workers or neighbors are infuriating you, when the emails are piling up, when the to-do list gets out of control, or when the enemy begins to attack you with doubts about your value and purpose. Something God’s Spirit can recall to your spirit when you start doubting why you’re here, or you start feeling like you’re failing.