At the start of 2016, I had this thought that if I had a ‘life verse’ that I could apply to my life, my ministry, and even for this blog, the journey of it all would go a lot smoother. I wanted a compass that would help me guide my ministry. So I asked myself:
Taylor, what’s your lane? What’s your purpose in your ministry?
What is going to guide your ministry? What is going to make sure you stay where God wants you?
At first these questions seemed innocent enough. I just wanted something concrete that could keep me on track and in line with God’s will.
But the more I asked these questions, the more obsessed I became with getting the answers.
I listened to TED talks, sermons, and Podcasts, read blog posts, books, and academic journals on finding your calling and knowing your purpose. All of them had two questions in common. To find your calling and purpose ask yourself: what did you want to be when you were little, and what are you good at/ what do your friends tell you you’re good at?
What did I want to be when I was little? … I wanted to be a Wal-Mart cashier when I grew up (this is not a joke… I had two separate cash registers in case my pretend store got busy and I needed to open up lane 10).
What am I good at? … my mind blanks.
What do my friends say I’m good at? … I don’t think my friends have ever told me what I’m good at.
I analyzed my personality traits; tracked career choice patterns starting at age 5 till now, and criticized my strengths and weakness.
I started to question my ministry, and myself. Without realizing it, self- reflecting became more like self-loathing. Feeling sorry for myself, I begged God to answer my questions, to help me realize my strengths, and to confirm, again and again, that I’m called to full-time ministry.
I was so laser-focused on these questions and finding the answers that I lost sight of God’s original call on my life… All because I wanted a glimpse of what He had planned for my ministry, so I could dream in the right direction.
The more I begged God for answers, the more distance I felt from Him, and through the process of self-reflection to self-loathing I seemed to develop a selective memory.
I did, however, remember a line from Jennie Allen’s book, Restless, that showed me an exit from the wilderness I was wandering in.
“No unique purpose for your life will fill your soul. The only thing that will fulfill and settle your soul is God himself.”
You see, my heart wasn’t in the right place. I wanted to know the plans of God so I could take them and dream bigger and better things. I wanted the road map to my life because I wanted to make sure failure wasn’t an option.
I wanted control of the life that I had already surrendered to God.
Once I could admit my selfish need for control, the Lord brought the scripture He had used to confirm the call to full-time ministry to my mind. It all clicked.
To paraphrase pastor and author A.W. Tozer, “As God is exalted to the right place in our lives, a thousand problems are solved all at once.”
Here it is, my life verse, my compass for my ministry, my life, and this blog.
“I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you” (Isaiah 41:9).
I truly believe that our calling and our purpose on this earth is the same.
First and foremost, we are called to be a daughter or a son of the King, and secondly to be a minister of the Gospel. Our great purpose is to know God and to make God known.
There is no greater calling. There is no higher honor than this purpose.
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