The Church is full of people who are anxious to hear from God—but hearing God and following through on what He says are two different things. We often pray for God to speak and lead us into the life He has designed for us before we are willing to take those steps forward when He gives the word.
Many of us truly believe God has good plans and purposes for our lives. But how do we discern His purpose? How do we know if where we’re headed is out of selfish ambition, or Kingdom calling? And when we do see the vision He has for our lives, how do we get started?
Stepping into God’s calling for your life is quite a journey, and it all starts with discovering God right where you are.
1) Discover God
Before you can begin to understand who you are, you must have a revelation of who God is.
We are often self-focused. Whether you have a high or a low view of yourself, such self-concern is sinful. Not only will it prevent you from truly loving others, but it will prevent you from standing in awe of God and worshipping Him—the highest calling that we have on our lives, however that might differently play out.
God is not made in our image. We are made in His. And if we are His workmanship, then we can’t really discover much about ourselves unless we first know Him.
Getting to know God means, at the most practical level, spending time with Him. It means spending time in His written Word and in prayer, and allowing His Spirit to fill us and reveal truth to us.
2) Discover Who You Are in Christ
The biggest reason you can’t discover who you are until you know God is because knowing Him will change you. When you allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in you, you will be transformed and restored—growing closer to the original reflection of God you were created to be.
Your purpose as a believer is to build the Kingdom of God. This is the calling of every believer, but each person has a different role in this project. God must reveal to you what your part is.
Your role in His Kingdom work will utilize your natural gifts and talents, but it will also require His spirit to empower you. Your work is impossible without Him. As my pastor’s wife once said, “You are the only one who is qualified to do what God created you for, but without Christ, you lose your qualifications.”
But what if you aren’t sensing Gods leading?
If you aren’t sure how God is specifically leading you, then it’s important to remain faithful in the things you are doing right now and continue to move forward in your relationship with Him. Keep moving, one step at a time—don’t get stuck at a standstill. It could be that you are in the right place already! Ask Him to fill you with peace if you are right where you need to be, and to lead clearly if you need to pursue elsewhere.
3) Get Started
Once you sense God leading you into a specific purpose, you need to learn to move in the Holy Spirit to carry out that purpose in the everyday.
When a person begins to walk into their calling, you can expect spiritual warfare. If you were hoping for a life of ease, you will be disappointed. In choosing to live a life of purpose, you won’t be spared from hardship—but you will learn to rise above it. It’s so much better to conquer your fear than it is to run away from the hard situation. But don’t worry—it isn’t all bad! There are hard times, but there is also a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, paired with a burning desire to move forward and know even more of God and His plan.
But don’t let all this keep you from getting started. As you face challenges, equip yourself with resources and surround yourself with godly people who are also following God’s call. Along the way, you’ll need a few things.
You need mentors to guide you, offer advice and let your know if your direction is sound and seems to be in line with God’s plans.
You need peers for the journey to keep you grounded and remind you that you aren’t alone.
And finally, you need “mentees” (for lack of a better word), or people you can reach out to who aren’t as far along as you. It’s important to build the next generation, and we should hope to bring them even further than we are.
4) Press on Toward the Goal
Starting out on God’s calling for your life is an adventure, but there will also be times when you have to settle into a routine. You might get bored, or you may find that you aren’t as consistently excited as you were when you began.
In times of boredom, it’s important to preserve your focus and direction in the path God is leading you.
You can do this by practicing discipline. Stay rooted in prayer and biblical study to keep you pressing forward, even when you are tired and losing motivation.
You can also keep focus by learning to rejoice in the success of others. The more you allow yourself to be invested in the lives of others, the more joy and excitement will be cultivated in your life. Let their lives inspire and propel you to keep moving forward.
And lastly, you can remember what God has done for you so far. Look back and remind yourself how far He has brought you—and get excited all over again about where He’s leading you next.
Lauren DÕAlessandro is the founder and web manager of The You Are Project, an online magazine for Christian women. She also writes and does freelance web design and business consulting at www.laurendalessandro.com.