The music was loud and crackly. The old, vinyl record was spinning out praise music that made my little heart beat wildly. I danced joyously, lifting my tiny, eight year-old arms. In that moment, nothing else mattered. It was just me and Jesus.
There are a lot of things I don’t remember about my childhood, but I vividly remember wanting to give Jesus my everything. God had placed worship in my heart, and because I had an innocent child-like faith, His Spirit was stirring up a divine purpose within me.
But what would that purpose be? How would the Jesus that I grew to love so much want to use me? I didn’t feel like I had any special gifts, but I wanted to go “big” for Him. I just wasn’t sure what “big” meant.
Maybe He would send me to Africa? That felt remote and and scary and would require a big faith. Maybe He would call me to singleness and serve in the slums? That didn’t sound particularly enjoyable but would require a big sacrifice.
It wasn’t until later in life did I realize that “big” has more to do with faithfulness and obedience. It’s less about specific assignments, and more about being open to God’s will. But what is God’s will exactly?
Defining God’s Will
As believers, we often ask, “What does God want me to do?” It’s a good question, but a little premature. We need to start with, “Whom does God want me to be?”
Who we are will drive what we do.
We always have to start with our identity and belonging in Christ Jesus. Stated another way, God wants us just “to be”—be still, be enough in Him, be holy and transformed in his presence. And as we are changed in God, He reveals his will to us.
In Romans 12:1-2, it states “I appeal you therefore, brothers (sisters), by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by test you may discern the WILL OF GOD, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Notice, with a commitment to being holy and renewing our minds, we become a people that are able to understand God’s will. We learn to be, as our knowledge of Him, through the study of His Word and obedience to righteousness, grows and transforms us.
This transformation process, also known as sanctification, is guided by two clear directives Jesus shared with us. They are:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you…” – Matthew 28:19-20
Basically, the will of God is revealed in us through the way we love God and love others. Put Him first and above all else. And then love others in this same way, with a supernatural love, even when it doesn’t make sense or is messy and hard. We love them with patience and gentleness, but also with truth, in the way that leads to freedom and life.
The important thing to remember, as Jesus calls all of us to this mission, is that if we are not who we are meant to be, we can not effectively do what we are meant to do.
Being the right person in Christ allows us to see clearly the path He will assign to us individually in how we accomplish His will. Once we are the right person, made holy, He can use us specifically in what we are called to do.
Your Specific Calling
“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” – 1 Corinthians 7:17
This is the place that God gets crazy creative with His people. In His amazing grace, God has granted each of us with unique gifts, personalities, spiritual proclivities and passions. He has placed us in specific times in history, in various locations and with differing backgrounds to specifically accomplish His will, for His glory and our greatest ultimate good.
His specific assignments can look different, but we all carry out the His same purpose and mission. We are uniquely equipped—but marching to the same drum beat. Or in my case, dancing to the same scratched vinyl record.
What I didn’t realize as a little girl was that the “big thing for God’” was already written out, already given to me. My mission and purpose was not hidden. It was simply waiting to be revealed. And so is yours.
In pursuing what God had already commanded, in developing a heart that loves God more than anything, willing to love others and walking in holiness through the refinement of His Word, God direct’s us toward those specific assignments He has prepared, using the gifts He’s so graciously given.
As adults, we make it too complicated. But in child-like faith, we can see the simplicity and perfection. God is willing to go big. His will is big. And He desires to use you in big ways, not always visible and shiny ways, but eternally significant ways.
It will take grit and faith and perseverance and possible rejection. It will require us to deny ourselves, turn from the comforts and pleasures that compete with our affection for God. And it will call us to the mission of an invisible God for an eternity and kingdom that has yet to be fully revealed.
He is able to accomplish His plan for us when are hearts are open to HIm. When we begin by trusting in Him, we find rest in His will. Then through His perfect timing, he reveals our specific calling in a way that you and only you can accomplish. But no matter what you are called to do or where you are meant to go . . . don’t ever forget to dance joyously.