You suck. You’re unworthy. Undeserving. Unqualified… At any point in each of our lives, we’ve heard these words, or some variation of them. We’ve heard them uttered from the lips of those whose opinions we hold dear. Worse, if honesty were to prevail, we may even finally admit that we’ve heard these words in our own minds.
Everyone has a purpose — this singular theorem has shaped several lives, particularly in the Church. Isn’t it always so great to see that pastor or doctor who so glaringly appears to have not just discovered said purpose, but is walking confidently in it? He/She seems to have it all figured out. If you never believed in “all things work together for good”, when you meet these people, your inner skeptic takes a hike, and suddenly, it all seems possible. Perhaps if this person was able to find their unique calling and so boldly answer the call, then it would be possible for me too.
Knowing your purpose and summoning the courage to take the terrifying leap that walking in it involves, are two completely different things. It’s so much easier to watch someone else do it and be “happy” for them, because when it comes to the business of fulfillment, we often externalize rather than internalize. We’re more comfortable in our comfort zones, no pun intended. We would rather adhere to a predictable and reliable structure than plunge into the scary and infinite uncertainty of the great unknown. Bills do have to be paid after all, right?
The question however, becomes, why? Are you content with an okay existence that pays the bills and keeps things easy and “stress-free”, instead of exploring the bold, vibrant life that comes with doing the one thing God literally made you to do? Would you rather survive on your own terms than take a literal leap of Faith? Honestly, the answer to these questions, depending on who you ask, will differ. Many jump right up and proclaim how eager they are to explore uncharted territory, conquer the world, live by faith, etc. Then why don’t they? Why don’t we all?
The truth is that purpose is terrifying. It can come with several discomforts, especially regarding validity. Why, of the several billion occupants of this beautiful planet we call home, would God choose me for this task? What does He see in me that I’m so fatally blind to? Why me? Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? These thoughts propagate feelings of inadequacy that inevitably lead to further frustration and in many cases, depression and anxiety. We are, and will always be, our biggest and most prevalent hinderance to the life and purpose that God has ordained for us.
“Self” can be defined in a few ways… “One’s own desires or pleasure.” “By one’s own efforts.” “Of, or directed toward oneself.” All these definitions, regardless of their focus, have one thing in common — they each disregard others. If you look closely enough into the lives of all those paragons of purpose that summon emotions of inspiration and frustration in many of us, the one thing you will likely find, is people. That Pastor’s life and purpose, are incomplete without his congregation. That doctor? Take away all her patients, and she’s just a highly educated lab coat wearer. In each of these cases, it is the introduction of “others” that leads to total fulfillment, both professionally and purpose-wise.
Take away all those lives the pastor/doctor has touched, and they’re just people who struggle like each of us. They have problems of their own, like us. Bills to pay, like us. Family to support, or impress, or disappoint, also like us. Their insecurities don’t take on a different face than ours … they have simply stopped letting those insecurities get in the way of their purpose.
Let me call your attention to a scripture you’ve undoubtedly heard/read a few hundred times; “Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, I have known you and called you by name.” Jer. 1:5 This is God speaking here, folks! He, in His infinite wisdom, created us and molded every inch of us to His uncompromising standards, unique in every way. We each have a purpose, and you’re no exception!
“God does not choose the qualified, he qualifies the chosen.” Sure you’ve heard that one even more frequently than the above scripture. You must now be wondering, “If that’s the case, then why don’t I feel qualified? Nay, why do I feel colossally under-qualified for the responsibilities in my life and purpose? Why, despite my many efforts, does my own mind still taunt me with visions of inadequacy and impending failure?”
Perspective in its simplest form, means point of view, and your perspective goes a long way in not only shaping your attitude, but shaping your purpose. Perspective is the difference between crumbling under self doubt, and overcoming the limitations of your own self.
Jesus actually said it best in the Book of John;
“I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains.” John 12:24 GNB
Put simply, we are tools in the Hands of our Father. A piece of charcoal, on its own, probably doesn’t think it can be a tool for beautiful art. On the contrary, charcoal is one of the least pleasant things to look at, but in the hands of an artist, this same little piece of charcoal can be used to create baffling works of art. Similarly, regardless of our own shortcomings, flaws, insecurities and failures, we too can be used as tools in His Hand.