“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“A man’s steps are of the LORD; How then can a man understand his own way?” Proverbs 20:24
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.” Psalm 37:23
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119:105
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct
your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
It’s a shame how most people don’t really know what they want out of life. I spent a great deal of my life trying to figure out what I wanted. I ended up getting really frustrated. Whenever I saw others pursuing their dreams and giving it their best to achieve them, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What am I skilled at?” Notice I did not ask, “What do I want out of life?” or “What is my purpose?” I have asked these questions a few times before but the most pressing one was about what I was good at. Why?
1) There is focus
When I know what I am good at, it gives me a sense of direction. I may not know what my passion and burning desire is, but putting my effort into what I am good at gets me close.
2) A sense of accomplishment
Through increasing my skills each day I can feel like I’m headed somewhere. Even if it’s in a small way, like baking good stuff and selling it. At least I’m doing something I like and I’m actually good at!
3) There is joy
As you climb the steps of development and improvement, you can’t help but smile and enjoy yourself along the way. Too many times people tend to neglect joy in their lives doing even those things they excel at! Everyone owes it to themselves to have a good day no matter how it goes. The beauty of life, in general, is that there is always another way to do something or another option altogether. If some part of your day doesn’t go right, focus on something that will!
Looking at Moses
There are some things to pick up from God’s meeting with Moses in Exodus 3:4-14:
So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
7 And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
12 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
Notice verse 11. He asks, “Who am I?” Now how many people have low self-esteem? Everyone tells them how great they are at so many things. How they wish they could do the same thing just as well. How much potential they have to succeed with the thing/s they enjoy. Yet they still embrace the dark side. Where they have been told they don’t amount to anything. They’re not really worth it. They’re simply wasting their time.
Let me tell you this story. I had some friends in school who used to dis me so many times. I asked them why and they said it was because I was easy to dis and because I didn’t dis back. That was not the major impacting statement. After a few months of almost consistent dissing I asked, “What did I ever do to you?” The reply was, “You were born!” Now, I personally don’t care what sort of negative remarks anyone has had. If I could recover from that and be here today putting this post together, anyone can do the same! By the way, that year, I ended up being the biggest role model because no one had ever been dissed as badly as I was, on almost a daily basis, and still come out stronger than before.
I define this as: the act of receiving a huge negative impact through replies, remarks and comments to the point of gaining enough determination to resolve to prove others wrong. Very few people can testify of their success obtained this way. If you constantly get scolded and made fun of, do whatever it takes to shine and humble your critics in the process! Do not seek revenge, though, because that’s immature. It won’t make you any better the them.
Continuing with Moses
Let’s move on from Exodus 4:1-14:
1 Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’”
2 So the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
He said, “A rod.”
3 And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), 5 “that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
6 Furthermore the LORD said to him, “Now put your hand in your bosom.” And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow. 7 And He said, “Put your hand in your bosom again.” So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh. 8 “Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign. 9 And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land.The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.”
10 Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
11 So the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”
14 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
In verse 1 Moses basically said, “What if I make a fool out of myself?” Why was he worried about not being believed? You must not ever let anyone dictate your dream! Thing I love about being criticized is that it’s clear evidence that you’re doing the right thing. If no one is trying to pull you down to their mediocre level, then there is reason to worry. I’m not saying look out for critics, but rather, make sure you know what you want or are at least certain of what you’re aiming for.
In verse 10 Moses said, “What if I’m not good enough?” “What if I’m not articulate and my message isn’t so clear?” Can you see the way Moses had such a low self-esteem? The problem with him was that he had placed so much faith in his fear. A lot of the times people don’t realize that that’s why most of the time what they’re worried about happens. There ought to be a bit more trust.
This is the moment where God asks Moses a question that ultimately reveals the strategy in which Moses was to lead the people out of Egypt. So many people miss this. The question is in verse 2, “So the LORD said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?'” Here is the significance in the question. After Moses killed an Egyptian, he ran away to Midian and began improving on his talent. That’s in Chapter 2. When Moses was with his father-n-law, Jethro, he was taking care of the sheep. That was his talent. When God asked him, “What is that in your hand?” He really asked, “What is your talent?” Moses had great leadership skills and God acknowledged this and raised him to be a great leader. Obviously God did the same with David, though it’s not to say the others in the Hall of Faith were not great. These two, in particular, became great because of their talent.
What really matters
So many times we’re asked the wrong question: What do you want to do when you grow up? The right question is actually: What do you want to be when you grow up? What’s the difference, you say? Easy. The second question correctly points out the fact that we are human beings not human doings. We don’t find out who we are through what we do. We portray who we are by what we do. Sadly the initial question stops being asked when we are older. It now becomes: What do you want to do after school/graduation? What happened to being something? I believe this is why so many lose touch of the frist thing they wanted to be. Meaning the passion they had to be something when they were young, died. In other words, they lost their voice. Russell wrote a great post about that I encourage you to read it.
Defining the right motive
Say we do know what we want to be. Here is the other reason why the passion eventually dies out: purpose. 9 times out of 10 people don’t know why they want to do something because that question is hardly considered. The “why” question is a very powerful question. Why? It’s because it casts vision and gives direction. I read this example of it in the book “How successful people think” by John C Maxwell:
“We want to build a bridge?”
“Why do you want to do to build a bridge?”
“To make traveling more convenient and reduce congestion?”
“How are you going to do it?”
Lord Jesus talked about asking why as well: And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost (by asking why), whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, Luke 14:27-29.
Always deal with the why first then the how. John Maxwell says: Asking why helps you to think about all the reasons for decisions. It helps you open your mind to possibilities and opportunities. The size of opportunities often determines the level of resources and effort that you must invest. Big opportunities allow for big decisions. If you jump to how too quickly, you might miss that.
“Most people spend more time planning their summer vacation, than planning their lives,” Source Unknown. On that note I would also argue that most people spend more time planning their wedding, than planning their marriage!
Putting it all together
a) Understand that the best way to find your purpose is by first focusing on your talent. Consider Moses.
b) It’s not about what you want to do. It’s about who you want to be. What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?
c) It’s more important what you think about yourself than what people say about you.
d) It’s not the “how” question that matters, it’s the “why”. Asking why will always remind you of your reason for doing something, so when times get hard, that reason will be your motivating factor for going all the way!
Here are posts to help you on this subject:
The plan of action for your dream:writing it down!
6 things to do to encourage taking risks
10 ways on how to discover your talent
When life gets hard, go harder!