“I know the plans I have for you…” Jeremiah 29:11
Growing up, for my 16th birthday, my parents asked if they could give me a “Father’s Blessing” for my birthday. I was reluctant while imagining the other things a 16th birthday could bring, but I ended up receiving a gift that has altered my life, family and purpose forever.
One particular line my dad spoke over me really stands out: “I hope you never believe that just because you’re not like me in every area of life that I think you’re a lesser person; that’s a common belief among sons of type-A dads. In fact, I believe the very best hope for the LeTourneau name lies in the very ways that you are different from me.”
What a revolutionary statement! As people, and Christians, we can struggle not to judge others or expect them to conform to our ways. We often condemn differences that are actually a big part of God’s creative design. We often want people to recognize our way of doing things as the “right way.”
But here, in a father-son relationship where such conforming expectations can often be at the greatest heights, my dad was actually blessing my differences, recognizing—and helping me recognize—that it was those very differences in my life that were not like him that would probably make the biggest difference in the world. I tend to think our Heavenly Father sees much the same way.
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
You are going to reach people that I will never reach. You have gifts I can’t dream of. You are called to different places, through different ways that I am not. And that’s a beautiful thing! But those intentional differences crafted straight from the Father’s heart are also why we often struggle to live out our purpose—because it’s different than the person on our right, or our left. We too often compare and end up hiding the very light that is supposed to rise up and shine from within us!
Identifiers to Help “Connect the Dots”
Here is a stepping-stone like path of identifiers that can help you recognize different, important parts of your life and how they may fit with other pieces God has given you. These areas of our lives can look like a big, scattered “connect the dots” puzzle as we try and decide which one to pursue. But start to connect the dots and you just might see the picture He is trying to show the world through you!
Dream: What do you want to give the world, in a big picture sense? Do you want to give hope? Second chances? Education? Resources? What about new ideas and inventions?
Compassion: Who or what does your heart naturally break for? It might be a cause or subject that always wrenches your heart when you see it in a movie or story. It might be something you or someone close to you has passed through. Is your compassion for orphans or widows? The poor or oppressed? Perhaps broken families, or maybe for those impacted by slavery/trafficking? Your heart has probably already been talking with God about your compassion fairly frequently, we just have to slow down to recognize and identify that it just might be Him speaking to us.
Passion: What subjects do you enjoy? What talents or gifts has God given you? Is it art or music? Sports? Media or technology? Maybe business, government or education? When you combine your compassion with your passion, you can begin to see a new way you might be able to reach out to those you have compassion for.
Purpose: How are you going to make an impact? Will you open a facility or start a business? You could teach, coach, or mentor others in a formal or informal way. Might you write or speak, or maybe travel to encourage or deliver resources? You might simply become a professional in your field. And there are so many other ways.
Nations: This part is pretty self-explanatory. Where? What nation, community, culture or neighborhood grabs your heart? Is it your nation/neighborhood? Is it an Asian nation or an African nation? Perhaps it is a European nation or somewhere else. There are so many possibilities and yours is important.
So imagine you start to connect those dots: What if you wanted to give New ideas and inventions to those who are poor, using your passion for business to open a facility in an urban area. Or, what if you wanted to give hope to victims of trafficking in an Asian nation using art as a method of reviving their spirits.
The truth is we aren’t just called to dream big dreams; we must have the courage to persevere and live them out. This all starts with taking a first step into what may start out as unknown territory.
Our impact rarely comes from trying to live out some great thing, or build a great ministry. I believe it starts in a very simple way when we stop looking at what we do not have in our hands, and start to look at the pieces of His heart that He has put into ours. Great faith lived out is often little more than great obedience in the presence of difficulty, opposition or the unknown. Our obedience starts simply by taking those first steps with Him into the “Yes.”
Our first steps might be to write out a goal or plan. Maybe start to research more about your compassion. You could even take a vision trip to visit the people or place you are called to—not necessarily to do anything yet—just to ask the Lord what He is doing and how He is calling you to join Him.
Each dot in your life might not bring much clarity on its own, but together they represent something awesome! Whether it’s a nation you are drawn to or a compassion that makes your heart well up with hurt and hope at the very same time. To truly live your purpose don’t simply look for the road that goes towards one of these dots as a destination in your life, but get childlike before God and play a good ol’ fashion game of connect the dots with your Father. See the picture He has already painted within you, the picture He is trying to reveal through you to the world!
“Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1
Joey LeTourneau, along with his wife Destiny and their five kids, live in Redding, California, and work across the nations to see the Father’s heart revealed, and want to see God’s children empowered to live out every purpose they’ve been created for–that no purpose would fall to the ground. Joey has authored six books and recently created a revolutionary new board game that helps people dream into their potential purpose–especially for youth around the world. Together, he and his wife founded Imagi-Nations LLC, a movement to “Imagine nations changed because you lived your purpose and dream.”
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