Fear Of Missing “God’s Purpose For My Life”

I lived with the fear of “missing God’s purpose for my life”. In fact, my teens were torture. I was more scared of “missing God’s purpose for my life” than I was obsessed with “finding it”.

What if I God didn’t tell me what He put me on the earth for? What if He is saying it and I’m just too dumb to get it? It is like everyone but me knew what God put him or her on the earth for.

They had a clear picture. All I had, and still have, is the sense that there is something ‘great’ (whatever that means) that God has for and through my life. I’m sometimes too afraid to say this. Is it arrogance?

fear of missing God's purpose for my life

But then again God’s grace is what gives me, and everyone, give us, access to greater purpose for our lives. We aren’t perfect but are made perfect. We are weak but strong in Christ. Through Him we do valiantly…

For some reason I’ve lived under the impression that significance of my life lay in knowing the entire purpose for our lives. I lost of a lot moments in life because I got so tangled in looking ahead I stumbled where I was.

Life was a fumble. A walk in the dark. I know the people who told me to seek God’s purpose for my life were well-meaning. However, they missed something; God’s purpose for my life was not something afar off.

God has plans for my life. He had, and still has, plans through my life. However, I don’t need to know everything in its entirety. I don’t need to have an answer to impress people about the grandeur of what God has “called me to”.

God’s grace is what gives us access to greater purpose for our lives [Click to Tweet]

Once again, I need to guard my attention to hear from Him. I just need to be attentive enough to hear Him lead and send me where I am. To know the next thing. The next step.

Some people know exactly God intends for and through them right to the end of their lives. That is great. For them, God sees fit that they know it. For me, if God doesn’t do the same, I still must be at peace, knowing that He does have a plan for my life. Knowing that as long as I’m still breathing He has my world in His hands.

Could it be, then, that how I miss God’s purposes for my life is by being so focused on thousands of miles ahead that I miss the seeming minute assignments where I am today.

God’s grace says we’re good enough for God to use us [Click to Tweet]

God’s purposes for my life are not entirely about me. I am a part of them but they’re about other people. Perhaps what I need to be doing is listening for the voice of God in the need around me.

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying… (Jonah 1:1).

That is one of the ways God’s purpose for our lives comes his word coming to us… Jonah’s adventure begins with God’s word “coming to Him”.

God, help me not to miss your word when it comes to me. Amen.

[Photo Credit: marc falardeau]

Not Marked; When I’m Not Sent

God sends me. He gives me assignments. I’m still humbled and trying to make sense of that. If you’ve been following I Am Jonah you should know, by now, how humbling I feel in this regard.

When God gives me assignments something about me is revealed. More than me, but He is also revealed. It is through cracked vessels God’s light shines. It is in our humanness and frailty that God’s treasure is not only kept but also shared with others.

There are instances when God sends me and there are assignments that aren’t for me. God has His purposes for sending me when He does and sending others too. I need to be reminded, from time to time, that I am not the center of it. That it is not because I am great that God sends, but it is by His grace.

When there is a need and God doesn’t send me I am sometimes jealous of other people’s assignments. At other times I am glad, grateful that He sent someone else. Some of those times it is because I can see the need and hurt but don’t understand it.

The truth is, I may be a Christ follower, but I don’t identify with everyone’s challenges, hurts and pains. I identify more with some than others. I do pray that God helps me to see and love others the way He does. I am not there and don’t think that I will attain perfection at any point in this life.

God is sometimes gives me a minute taste and I wish I hadn’t asked when He answers my prayers. God feels deeply for the broken, marginalized and hurting.

When the hurting pray, God responds by sending us [Click to Tweet]

God has sent Mary DeMuth. Mary has written many books (I only learnt how to count to ten, and after that it just becomes many for me). She has submitted her gift with words to God and He has used that. I personally know many whose lives have been changed through her work.

not marked

She is sent to people I cannot identify with. To people who I know are hurting but I’m not equipped to help the way she can. Her assignment is one of those I’m glad and grateful I did not receive. A difficult one. Mary has written a book, Not Marked. It is about her journey, dealing with sexual abuse, how it impacted her life and how she found healing.

Because I am not able to do what Mary can I have chosen to do the little I can to help her. Through her book many lives will find healing and be restored. Because it is not directly your assignment, it doesn’t mean you cannot be a part of it.

Help Mary get this book to people you and I cannot reach. Help bring healing to millions.

The assignments God gives us affect us, but are not just for us [Click to Tweet]

Though we benefit from being sent, we are not the object of God’s assignments; others are [Click to Tweet]

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Update: Mary managed to reach and exceed her target. Because of that she her book will be able to reach more people in other ways. Follow her blog for details.

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Boring Christianity And Letter To Critics | Jonah Notes #02

Following Christ should be a grand adventure. Some Christ followers misrepresent Christ and what it means to follow Him. One of the reasons for this is a lack of vulnerability.

Worth Nothing

Jon Acuff did a post, Should Christianity Be So Boring, for CNN Belief. Jon gives an unusual but true insight into God’s heart. He unpacks what this should mean for Christ followers. Like me, you might be pleasantly surprised. Get a perspective on God’s heart and what running to Him is really like.

In the taste of I Am Jonah, Thom Rainer gets very vulnerable by writing to his critics. His post, A Note To Those Who Criticize Me. He talks about dealing with criticism as a leader and Christ follower. Addressing critics directly, Thom admits he needs the critics. I think that is not unique to Thom but to all of us.

On I Am Jonah

This week saw a lot of activity on the post, On Miley: My First Response And How I Should’ve Responded. This post unveils the wrestle I have, and many Christ followers have in dealing with either Christ followers who err or people living in contradiction to what God expects of us. It addressees how we can be judgmental and how we should react.

On GOD | What The Assignments God Gives Reveal, I share on how God has embarrassed me on assignments He’s given me. Not only that, but how I am glad He embarrasses me.

Following and still learning to follow Jesus, the Christ, I Am Jonah.

Is there anything you found this week you feel should make Jonah Notes?

Seeking HIM and NOT Finding

There are times that I spend some time reading the Bible in trying to know God. Trying to understand God… Trying to figure Him out a little better than the last time.

I try to listen to His voice. It is settled in my mind, and heart that God does speak. It sometimes takes me a while to hear Him speaking because He also speaks in ways that I don’t expect. In ways I don’t prefer, in some cases.

I would prefer He used billboards. I wish He would pull some stunts from the Bible… Maybe send an angel so that I know beyond the shadow of any doubt that it is He who speaks to me. I’ve been following Christ for many years and I’m still learning to hear Him.

Does that make me spiritually immature? The fact that I’m still cautious about being quick to say, “This is what God is saying to me…” that is. I hate and I’m also scared of being judged as this by other Christ followers for not being so attentive. For not always being able to hear God speak.

seeking and not finding him

Could it be that I let the anxiety of not being able to tell them about “the word” I received from God get in the way of my seeking and listening? This somehow puts pressure on me to “hear something“. I’m glad that I don’t have to deal with lying and say I heard God when I didn’t.

There are seasons I struggle to hear God. There are times I need to know if I should go one way. Should I pursue an offer? How should I respond to some people and particular situations?

There I times I just know for sure. Those are great and I’m not too worried about those. I can hear Him clearly giving me an assignment. That’s great… Well, except for the obedience part.

Sometimes I do take a while to get myself to align with God. I Am Jonah.

It is the times His voice is less than a whisper. I sometimes allow clutter, noise to muffle His voice. Does God sometimes speak that way intentionally to cause me to seek Him a little more? Or is it just the noise I’ve allowed in my life? Maybe both…

Jesus said seek and you shall find. It means that. What it doesn’t mean is that every time I read the Bible I should find him right?

The fact that I can’t hear Him speak doesn’t mean that He isn’t. That I don’t hear Him speak doesn’t mean that He is speaking for me to hear. Sometimes God is just quiet, right?

Seeking Jesus, the Christ, is not an event. It is a journey. Each moment I seek and think I don’t find is a step to a revelation in a tomorrow day. There is a revelation of God our spirits have that we’re not aware of. This is because it is a building block to the ‘revelation moment’.

The truth, I don’t always see or hear God as I read His word. Perhaps it’s more right to say, I’m not always aware of the revelation of God each time I seek Him. Perhaps in those times all that has been uncovered to me is pixel of the bigger picture.

If God is not obscured, in a sense, perhaps I would never appreciate the significance of the moments the light went on in my spirit. Revelations of who He is, is made precious by the process of seeking. God, is that part of the idea?

Perhaps all these questions are not as important as this: my focus should be attentiveness, so that when He does speak I hear Him. Compromising my attention will be my demise.

Stay attentive. Keep seeking…

God, help me to be more in tune, more attentive to you. Help me guard and nurture my attentiveness to you. Help me to be alert to hear your voice, your leading. Help me to draw my attention from what I want. How I feel, opinions… may these things pale as I keep my attention on you. Amen.

[Photo Credit: Dan-scape (Peak District-Photo)]

On Miley: My First Response And How I Should’ve Responded

I was quick to judge. Discussed with others about how disgusting her performance was. In my head I used disgusting. In my heart I judged. Disdain. How could she? Incredulous.

What’s wrong with this girl? She should know better…

How could she? As if I was any better. I’m not on an a platform as big as the one she has. I don’t have as many eyes on me…

I may not have the issues she has but I do have issues. We all have issues. I should be a grace dispenser. God sends me to love people the way He does.

Judgement is easy for the callous hearts. My heart must be… Why was compassion not my first response? Pride. Am I really any better than Miley?

What gives me the right to label her? If the next assignment God gave me would be to walk alongside her during whatever she’s going through would I have been able to go to her without bearing my shame for judging her.

Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever. (Paul)

We can never be there, truly be there for people we judge. When we, when I judge, the way I just did I make myself judge. I assume the position of determining who deserves grace and who doesn’t.

The last place anyone needing a shoulder to lean or cry on will go is toward pointing fingers and loathing eyes. [Click to Tweet]

I don’t agree with what she did. Even with this in mind I need to remember that I doesn’t disqualify her as the object of God’s love.

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. (Paul)

Yet God’s grace was extended to me. Is still extended to me. I am still far from perfect and who am I to point a finger?

Yesterday I spoke about how we need to remember that we already have our Church Clothes on and today it’s out the window.

I’m not beating myself up but I’m embarrassed and disappointed at my first response. Bad reaction. Ungodly.

I wish my first response was like Angus’.

Grace and compassion are lenses that enable us to see the need and hurt in others [Click to Tweet]

Without it we will judge and condemn the world and those who desperately need God close to them.

God, forgive me for judging. God fill me with your love and compassion. I Am Jonah.

GOD | What The Assignments God Gives Us Reveal [Part 2]

It is humbling that God, fully aware of my shortcomings and failures, still chooses me. Not only that, He also sends me. With each assignment God gives something is uncovered.

In the first post in this series I wrote about some of the things that are revealed in and through me when God gives me an assignment. Besides being made a somewhat more conscious of myself, there is something greater that is revealed when God gives me assignments.

GOD | What The Assignments God Gives Us Reveal

God

My first reaction to most assignments is freaking out. Doesn’t God have more important things to worry about like global warming? Why me? I know ten people better suited for this.

How can He ask me to do this with limited resources? I’d rather… The list goes on.

After freaking out, and getting past who I am, what I cannot do and how I’m not perfect enough, I get to see God. God is revealed in the assignments He gives me.

I seem to never get or appreciate the lesson:

My weakness is an opportunity for God to do great through me [Click to Tweet]

Not only are my weaknesses revealed but also God strengths. God reminds me that He, technically, doesn’t need me to do what He sends me to do but to be a simple conduit for His power, love and grace. All He expects of me is obedience.

This often challenges me to appreciate God for who He is. It creates a greater hunger for me to know God for who He really is.

Wisdom

In the times I’m quick to obey, I tend to try making things happen not only through my strength, but also my wisdom. Sometimes I think I know exactly how I should go about my assignment. Bordering smug, if not its essence.

God tends to whack that and I discover His wisdom is beyond mine. It is sad and embarrassing, sometimes, how God’s wisdom blows up everything I thought. Most important, I’m always grateful when His wisdom outshines mine. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When this happens glory, props go where they should. Things work out greater than I would’ve ever made them even at the top of my game.

Point

God reveals who He is in the assignments He gives me. He reminds of His wisdom. I love it when He does that. It reminds me to keep Him and me in perspective.

I tend to need reminders now and then. This could be one of the reasons I get the assignments. Because I Am Jonah.

[Photo Credit: Angie Lealuez]

Church Clothes

church clothes

Human standards and practices are often what get in the way from getting to God. As Christ followers we’ve been guilty of misrepresenting God.

Often, it is not that God people aren’t interested in God; it is that He is misrepresented. Take Jonah’s story for example, he was sent to a particular city, a particular people by God, because He had a heart for them.

Others

Jonah decided to make his own call against that. He became the judge of who deserved God’s message and grace. There are times I’ve acted same. For that, God forgive me.

When God challenges us to reach someone or some people and I do the opposite I have declared they don’t deserve God’s grace. We, as the Church, must guard from this.

Lecare’s mix tape, Church Clothes, touched on this. He was addressing the experience of some people when it came to how they were unaccepted because of how they looked.

He challenged how we, as Christ followers, can create molds, which hinder others from a relationship with God. On the mixtape’s title track, he closes with:

If God’s goin’ to take me as I am I guess I already got on my Church clothes [Click to Tweet]

On point. If there’s a message that should resound strongly is God’s acceptance of people with the ‘clothes’ they have on.

Clothes can be baggage people carry, the way they perceive themselves or are perceived by others.

Real forgiveness and grace, the God kind, starts with complete acceptance of people [Click to Tweet]

I’m thinking through how I’ve created prerequisites for people to know God. False hoops to jump through. They don’t please God and get in the way of people knowing Him and the freedom and life He gives.

Me

While keeping in mind not to create conditions for others I also have to be careful not to create similar hoops for myself. Sometimes I forget that God loves me as I am. I forget that the same way He doesn’t want me to create conditions for others getting to Him, I shouldn’t do the same for myself.

Sometimes I forget that God already loves and accepts me as I am that I try to win His approval, something I already have. Sounds lame, but I sometimes suffer from ‘spiritual stupidity’.

I forget that I’m already wearing my Church clothes. That God accepts me as I am. I forget that God sends me as I am. I forget:

God accepting me as I am is that starting place to becoming who He wants me to be [Click to Tweet]

There are times I forget that God accepts me as I am to make me who He wants me to be and not the other way round. The Jonah I Am needs to remember:

If God’s goin’ to take me as I am I guess I already got on my Church clothes.

On Moral Practices And God

It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate.

If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is ~ A. W. Tozer

God, that I might see You and know You as You are and not as I think or imagine You are. May my understanding of You be pure and not one I create. Obliterate every wrong image, idea, perspective, thought of who you are that I hold. Help me to know, know You. Amen.

ME | What The Assignments God Gives Reveal (Part 1)

The Bible is full of real stories, with real people who faced real challenges. They had real shortcomings, real failure and real success. This is the heart of I Am Jonah, to make following Christ and the challenges in staying on that path real.

God has assignments for everyone. Even Jonah, that guy who God knew would meander on the way his assignment, got an assignment.

Most of the things God has given to me as assignments have been beyond me. Even after a while of being in the assignment I continue to doubt myself. I guess it is good in some regards.

Looking back at some of the assignments He’s given me I see there are a number of things that were revealed.

ME | What Assignments God gives reveal

it’s humbling that God uses me…

 

 

Every time someone gets an assignment from God something is uncovered…

Self

The assignments God gives us reveal us to ourselves. In the face of the assignment we become aware of frailty. Our shortcomings glare at us. And when this happens most use them as an excuse not to do what God says.

There is something about the nature of the assignments God gives us that make us examine ourselves first. It is human nature; I guess it is nature to always check if we measure up, if we’re adequate for the task.

There are times I’ve wrestled with selfish ambition. To be honest, every now and then I have to deal with it, over and over. I guess with each assignment I see something ungodly about me that should disqualify me from the assignment.

I sometime think, “If only God knows that I…” then I remember that He knows. But He still asks me. He doesn’t really ask, that’s just courtesy, He sends me.

He knows it’s going to be a fight for me to stop seeing my lack of wisdom, clarity and self-imposed inadequacy as barrier, yet He still sends, me.

He knows I’m going mess up. In fact, He might be just sending me from the mess I am.

Sometimes I feel like Isaiah as God sent him, unclean. Unworthy. At other times I see the giants the assignment demands I confront and I want to run, but He still chooses me.

I wonder if God knows that I don’t like the people He’s sending me to. Sometimes it’s the place and at other times the conditions.

As He sends me I realize how comfortable I am and how much I want to stay in that comfort. There are times His assignments have revealed how much I want to hold onto stuff. How attached I am to some stuff.

There are times I’ve hesitated to follow God into the unknown because I was too scared I would mean I’d miss out on some things I liked.

God’s call on me has uncovered some of the things I placed worth or value in.

I don’t know exactly what, but there is something about God’s assignments that force introspection. I guess one of the questions underlying the introspection is, “Am I good enough”.

Then again, If God asks, no sends me, doesn’t that say I am? It says I am good enough for the assignment. As messed up and ignorant and weak as I am. I am good enough.

One of the saddest things though is difficulty in believing it. The scary thing: God trusts me enough to send me.

I want to follow Jesus, the Christ. I follow Him and yet every time I receive an assignment from Him I have to relearn that if He sends, I’m the man for the job. My responsibility is to go.

You’ve just read this but I think I’ll say it again; perhaps you’re in the same space:

I don’t know exactly what, but there is something about God’s assignments that force introspection. I guess one of the questions underlying the introspection is, “Am I good enough”.

Then again, If God asks, no sends me, doesn’t that say I am? It says I am good enough for the assignment. As messed up and ignorant and weak as I am. I am good enough.

One of the saddest things though is difficulty in believing it. The scary thing: God trusts me enough to send me.

I guess one of the reasons I doubt myself is simple. I Am Jonah. And I have to keep reminding myself, If God is sending me then I am good enough.