Getting connected to Jesus awakens something within us all. It awakens the desire to be someone, to make a difference, and to accomplish the impossible! We begin to hear God speak to us and become connected to the original purpose He created us for -- the very reason He placed us on this earth! You've probably felt the surge of excitement and joy that comes when you get a revelation for why you were born. But then it is as if we are transported from the mountaintop of excitement back into the daily grind of life. In the daily grind we face challenges with family members, work, money, health and more. Then there are those struggles that are very personal to us, those things that we dislike about ourselves. Day by day its as if the dream to make a difference and accomplish the impossible is sucked dry and we can see no way of ever getting there! And if we could get there, we are sure that it will take at least 150 years! Am I talking to you yet? Have you had these thoughts and experiences? My guess is that you probably have or currently are. And if you haven't or aren't currently....well....you will. So here are some pointers for navigating your destiny and dreams successfully:
1) Destiny is not a Destination, It's a Lifestyle
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines "destiny" like this: "what happens in the future : the things that someone or something will experience in the future". I find that if we look at destiny as this spot in life where we finally "arrive", we will end up super frustrated in the meantime! Destiny isn't that certain place where you finally get to be all you can be and do great things. Destiny is everything that happens tomorrow until we meet Jesus in Heaven! Destiny is a process, not an event. It is more of a journey in a certain direction than an arrival at a certain destination.
Joseph is a perfect example of this. His story is spelled out in Genesis 37-50. As a young man he dreams of greatness. There is no question that God placed those dreams in his heart. However, his early interpretation of those dreams were clouded by his own pride and unbridled ambitions. Early on, Joseph wanted greatness so that he could be great. God wanted greatness for Joseph so that through Joseph, He could bless His people. Josephs destiny then included being thrown into dumpster by his own brothers, sold into slavery, placed into prison, and falsely accused by authorities! For 23 years Joseph would experience "the grind" of life until this dream would finally come to pass. This process so changed Joseph that he could look at his brothers who so terribly mistreated and betrayed him and say this: "But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them" (Genesis 50:19-21). We know that we are truly growing when we can say that everything that we're doing and have experienced is helping us toward fulfilling our dreams and God-given purpose!
2) Don't Fall Into the Comparison Trap!
We all have our hero's of the faith that we respect and admire, and we sometimes desire to be like them. I love both Bill Johnson and John Bevere! And you know what? There have been times that I've found myself playing the comparison game trying to figure out where they were in ministry when they were my age. It's a trap! It leads to discouraged feelings and we begin to undermine our own significance to God! If we are not careful, we can even become unfruitful in our current season because we're so preoccupied with the future - a future of which we have very limited understanding. Jesus never allowed His disciples to play the comparison game without stopping them dead in their tracks! When they argued over who would be the greatest, Jesus reminded them that ultimate greatness was following His example of serving without the need for reward (Luke 22:24-30). When Peter questions Jesus about his future vs. John's, He redirects Peters focus back where it needs to be - on following Jesus (John 21:20-22).
3) Unfruitfulness is a Sign that we are Off Course!
As I said earlier, when we embrace negative, discouraged, and depressed feelings about our future, we can easily become unfruitful in our current season. Remember when Jesus cursed the fig tree in Mark 11? Have you ever wondered why Jesus would curse a fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season? Seems a little mean and ridiculous. But when we understand that Jesus lived His life anchored in another world it makes sense. Jesus lived with a renewed mind. He was constantly pulling Heaven into the earth. So according to Jesus there is no such thing as an unfruitful season because that doesn't exist in Heaven! In context the rebuke of the fig tree was actually also a rebuke of Israel for getting caught up in a religious system, so much so that they didn't recognize the very Son of God. Just the same, when we allow our dissatisfaction and unbridled ambition to bring discouragement, we undermine our current season and treat it as common. There are people you are supposed to influence right now, there are ways you're supposed to serve right now, and things you need to go through right now that are actually taking you in the right direction. But if we become fruitless because of our contempt for where God has placed us, we are off course! God expects fruit in every season of our lives!
So keep navigating my friend! When you get up each morning remind yourself that "this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!" Make a commitment that you are going to make a difference in the lives of those within your circle of influence. Pray that God will help you be more and more like Jesus. If you will do this, you will always be on track for where God wants to bring you. You will be ready and prepared when doors of opportunity open to you.
Pastor Marc P Eidahl
Campus Pastor -- New Life Bismarck