Jennie Allen gives you a practical plan to identify the threads of your life and intentionally weave them together for God's glory and purposes. Using the story of Joseph, Jennie explains how his suffering, gifts, story, and relationships fit into the greater story of God—and how our stories can do the same. Discover how your gifts, passions, places, and relationships aren’t random; they’re deliberate and meaningful. And when it comes to your suffering...it’s possible it has produced the very thing you want to give back to the world!
Is there something restless in you? You're not alone. We live with lots of things and lots of people, but do we live for something? We all die a little inside when we think we aren’t living for something, and are ready to die when we think we can’t. But that purpose feels slippery sometimes. We glance over at people functioning in their gifts and God is using them in big ways, and we want that. But it can feel so far away. Let's attempt something here together: to dream.
A lot of us feel lost and small. And because of that we desperately want to find “God’s will for me.” We want to know that we exist on purpose and for a purpose. We often try to find “God’s will for me” without simply first understanding God’s will. But we will only ever discover his will for us within God’s will for this earth, for eternity, and for his people. We were made for this story—his story. And yes, he wrote little parts for each of us in his story. Or else we wouldn’t exist.
Moving into our God-given purposes requires an understanding of our God-given gifts and strengths. Before we learned to be afraid and insecure and full of mixed motives about using our gifts, we were children, with pure, simple gifts and abilities. Every one of us. Sparks of our future can be seen in our childhood. Our simple childhood fantasies contain a lot of information about the way God built us to live out his purposes.
“You have to thank God for the seemingly good and the seemingly bad, because really, we don’t know the difference.” God has a will, and we cannot see all of it yet. God gives and he takes away. We have Scripture and we know his story in part, but what we won’t fully know until we see him face-to-face is how our stories were working together for good within his story. It's possible that our suffering is producing the very thing we want to give back to the world.
If we are going to think about our purpose, there is no escaping this question: Do we stay in our place, or do we need to go? Some of us have jobs we hate and will be called to stay, and some of us have jobs we love and will be called to go. The paradigm of a believer is completely different than that of those without God. Without a living God, you get to be your own god. With a living God, who works for eternal purposes, he gets to use us however the heck he pleases.
God is big enough to plot the number of stars and your hairs, and he is big enough to plot your life. He is intentional about who he lays in your path. Joseph intentionally leveraged every relationship in his path for the glory of God. Despite the chaos of his circumstances and the incredible evil brought against him by people he trusted, he never quit choosing to trust and love people. He never wasted opportunity to serve—even those who wronged him.
We all are longing to live for something bigger than ourselves. As believers in Jesus Christ with need all around us, we get to. We look past the normal of mundane jobs and boring places and see the need in them, and passions start to wake up. God built us to take the material around us and invest it into our nearest need.
God’s goal for our lives is that we would live in complete and utter surrender and dependence on him. He built us to need him. And it is always his mercy to show us that need, whatever the cost. So as we process how we each spend our lives while we are here, know that nothing we have done matters without the Spirit of God. Don't spend one fleeting day here without embracing as much of God as you can on earth.