The names you carry will give you courage to move through the world with clarity and purpose for God’s name and Kingdom. God has a lot to say about who you are and whose you are. Your next step? To let it change everything, in how you live and what you do. You are invited to participate in God’s work in the world. You have been named to go share the name of Jesus.
Maybe you’re already living into your name or maybe you’re wondering how to even begin. God masterfully utilizes all the ways he has “named” us so that we can minister to others. He has not created you accidentally. You were creatively, imaginatively, and purposefully portioned—designed and destined by God to reflect his goodness to the world around you. And you are invited by God to excavate from your life’s narrative, your gift mix, and your passions—the calling that accompanies your name.
What I mean is: Your beingness, your namedness, is essential to your doingness.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself and your community—your church family, your friends, your inner circle—to help you unearth what to do with the names you’ve been given:
1. What am I good at? God is not going to call you to be a professional basketball player if, like me, you can’t manage holding a ball and walking simultaneously. We all have to get out of our areas of comfort, but God will use your strengths as part of your calling. If you struggle to know what your strengths are, ask your community to offer some insight.
2. What am I passionate about? Or if “passion” is too much pressure, what sparks your curiosity? What interests you, intrigues you? What do you wake up thinking about? What would you love to pour more time into? God has given you your passions for a divine purpose.
3. What does my neighborhood, city, school, and/or world need? What wrongs can you work to make right? What injustices or disadvantages anger you that you want to fix? Perhaps you and your community are the ones to help make a difference.
4. What are the open doors in my life? Don’t waste your life banging on closed doors. Ask God to show you what paths and purposes he is anointing in your life. And along with that, don’t worry so much about the doors God is opening for other people. He’s got them on their own journey, just as he has you on yours.
5. What season of life am I in? A college student, a stay-at-home parent, and a marketplace employee are in three totally different life seasons. That’s not a mistake. God uses each season to shape us and ready us for the next phase of our callings. Don’t despise any life season, for the Lord rejoices in small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10).
6. What is my personality type and gift mix? God uses the specific ways he has made you and named you to help you understand what you have been put on this earth to do. Self-assessment tools (Enneagram, CliftonStrengths, APEST, Myers-Briggs, or others like them) are a useful way to help you get to know yourself and, therefore, your calling.
7. What does my Christian community sense God calling us to do? Calling or sent-ness isn’t always an individual pursuit. What is God calling your church community to do? What group of people is God calling your squad to minister to?
8. What does a “timeline” of my life reveal? Draw a timeline of your life, with all your big life experiences in chronological order. Step back and notice any themes, any patterns, any processes that God has used in your life. What names have defined your life trajectory? Ask God to reveal to you what your life story might mean for what he’s calling you to do.
The prophet Jeremiah called God’s people to pray for and work toward the peace and prosperity of the city, to “build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away!” (Jeremiah 29:5-6, NLT).
You are invited to participate with God in making your world into a garden-like, shalom-like place where others are empowered to flourish. This has been your mandate since the Garden of Eden. You are here to work for the prosperity and peace of wherever God has you. (Basically, if your dreams are all about you, you aren’t dreaming big enough yet.)
You have been named to do something—for God’s glory and Jesus’ name. This might not end up being your career, but whatever your career or season of life is, this is what you are called to do for the Kingdom. God takes the raw material of our personalities, our experiences, our Christian community, and the Spirit’s work in our lives to craft our sentness. God has named you with perfect plans to send you.
Taken from Known: How Believing Who God Says You Are Changes Everything by Aubrey Sampson. Copyright © 2021. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Aubrey Sampson serves as pastor of discipleship and equipping and is a part of the preaching team at Renewal Church in West Chicago, which she co-planted with her husband, Kevin. Aubrey writes regularly for Christine Caine’s Propel Women and has contributed to Proverbs 31, Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience, Christianity Today, and more. She speaks at churches and events around the country. Aubrey is earning her master’s degree in Evangelism and Leadership at Wheaton College and serves on Lausanne North America’s “Women in Church Leadership” strategic think tank. Deeply passionate about helping hurting Christians find healing so that they can fully embrace their God-given identities and purposes, she has authored three books, Known, The Louder Song, and Overcomer.