Purpose requires development. I don’t know which door God will eventually open for you, but I know it’ll be the door you’re prepared to walk through. Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said it this way, “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” So, in this article i want to be your Purpose Coach and help you eliminate some of the mystery around how we develop our purpose, even if you haven’t discovered what that purpose is yet. (For help discovering your purpose read my article, Discovering Your Purpose )
[shareable cite=”@PastorTHall”]I don’t know which door God will eventually open for you, but I know it’ll be the door you’re prepared to walk through.[/shareable]
Purpose Development happens in two stages: (1) Divine Development and (2) Intentional Development. Often, these two stages are happening at the same time. In this post we’re going to take a deep dive into both realms.
The first realm of development is divine development. It’s God using where you are to prepare you for where you’re going – often without your knowledge. It’s like the hit 80’s film, The Karate Kid (one of my all time favorite movies). In case you haven’t seen it (which would be tragic) I’ll give you the run down.
In the movie, martial arts master Mr. Miyagi agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager named Daniel. Day after day Daniel arrives at his teachers home expecting to receive some training only for Mr. Miyagi to give him a list of chores instead. First he tells his young student to wash and wax his cars (wax on/wax off). The next day he tells him to “stain my fence.” Then “paint my house” and finally – “sand my deck.” Day after day its the same thing – one disappointing and meaningless job after another and no training.
By the time he’s done with all of these labor intensive chores he’s had enough! After all, he came to this karate master to learn a skill, but it seems like all he’s gotten from his teacher is taken advantage of. Just as he’s about to storm away in a fit of rage, Mr. Miyagi reveals to Daniel that the tasks he was assigned were not random. In fact, young Daniel was unknowingly learning fundamental martial arts techniques through what seemed like meaningless, disconnected, and annoyingly repetitive chores. Suddenly all the hard work that seemed like a waste of time was worth it!
This is how divine development works.
You may not realize it, but God is using your past and present circumstances to prepare you for your purpose. What may seem like meaningless, disconnected, repetitive tasks is often the hand of God training and preparing you to walk in your purpose. God usually doesn’t reveal what He’s doing while He’s doing it because He knows that we would either try to control the process or mistakenly think we’re ready before we’re ready. So, if like Daniel you feel frustrated, tired, and ready to quit – please be encouraged because God has you in a season of divine development. But how can we know for sure?
Because with God, waiting time is never wasted time. He’s always working behind the scenes using where you are to get you ready for where He’s created you to go. In fact, Psalm 138:8 says, ”God will work out His purpose for my life.” How? One way is through divine development.
[shareable cite=”@PastorTHall”]With God, waiting time isn’t wasted time.[/shareable]
Below are the 4 “D’s” of Divine Development. Read through the list and see if you can relate:
1. Dry Seasons
God often uses the dry seasons of life to develop you for destiny.
One of the advantages of a Life Coach or Purpose Coach is to help you gain persepctive. The truth is that a dry season is a season of life where nothing good appears to be happening and you feel like you’re in a funk that’s hard for you to explain to others. During dry seasons there often appears to be no forward movement in your life. Nothing seems to be changing, and God often feels distant or indifferent. The fact is He’s neither, but it feels this way.
Moses spent 40 years on the backside of a dry barren desert tending his father-in-laws flock of sheep. It seemed like meaningless busy work that didn’t scratch the itch of destiny buried deep down inside of him, but this was no ordinary dessert – it was the desert of divine development. It’s been my personal experience that most of the time spent in the dry season of divine development wasn’t just about God teaching me something new, but also helping me unlearn something old.
2. Difficult People
Sometimes God brings abrasive or difficult relationships into your life to help you develop your emotional intelligence and teach you how to sustain life giving relationships It’s not the easy relationships that teach you the skills you need to cultivate and sustain healthy ones, it’s the challenging people that build your relational strength and endurance.
I’ll want you in advance that resisting this lesson is futile.
Learning how to love people well is required curriculum in the school of divine development. Why? Because the one thing that every persons purpose has in common is that we’re all called to somehow make a difference in the lives of other people. The quicker you learn how to deal with difficult people the sooner you’ll be ready to walk in your purpose. Does this mean that all relationships are created equal and that you should keep toxic relationships in your life? No. In fact to read more about how to identify a toxic relationship, read my article 10 Toxic Relationships to Look Out For.
3. Divine Disappointment.
Our response to disappointment often reveals our readiness to walk in our purpose.
Can you celebrate when others do well or do you secretly compare yourself to them and make a mental list of all the reasons why you should have gotten their promotion or opportunity? Our ability to push past our disappointment and do the right thing or respond with the right attitude will often determine how long we stay in this stage of divine development. (To read more about the dangers of a bad attitude, check out my article, 4 Attitudes Guaranteed to Sabotage Your Success).
Sometimes God will intentionally promote people around you who are less qualified than you are just to show you what’s really in your heart. If you can genuinely celebrate their success, you’re ready. If you can’t and your first instinct is to get jealous and competitive – you’re not.
The good news is that God is a God of second chances. If you’ve failed this test before – no worries, God will orchestrate another opportunity to give you the chance to get it right. I’m convinced that we’re not ready to walk through our own door of destiny until we can celebrate the doors that God has opened for others.
[shareable cite=”@PastorTHall”]We’re not ready to walk through our own door of destiny until we can celebrate the doors that God has opened for others.[/shareable]
When it comes to purpose I always coach people to pay attention to discomfort.
Pain. Betrayal. Offense. False accusations. These are just a few things that Joseph, in the bible, had to endure prior to walking in his own God given purpose. It was all used as a means of divine development. God often times harnesses the presence of pain to develop our ability to keep our hearts pure and teach us how to forgive others. I once heard another pastor say that “God will often allow you to be offended until you’re no longer offendable.” To some degree I believe this is true. This stage of divine development is where God teaches us how to develop thick skin while keeping a soft heart. I know this stage of development isn’t comfortable, but it’s extremely valuable.
To read more about the importance of forgiveness, check out my article The Stronghold that Poisons Your Purpose.
The second stage of developing your purpose is Intentional Development. This is the stage of development where you’re playing an active and intentional role in your own process. Below are three non-negotiable ways to develop your purpose.
1 – We Develop Our Purpose Through Relationships
The first rule of Intentional Development is: You can’t develop your yourself, by yourself.
You need to build relationships with people who are already doing what you believe God created you to do. People who are further down the road, people who share the same values, people who are smarter than you, more experienced than you, and people who have more battle scars than you.
You need a Life Coach or Purpose Coach. You need mentors, coaches, teachers, a pastor, and the kind of friends who believe in you enough to challenge you to become everything that God created you to become. In the Bible Elisha had a mentor named Elijah. Titus and Timothy both had a mentor/father in the faith named Paul. Joshua had Moses. Mary had Elizabeth, and the 12 disciples all had Jesus. Why? Because you can’t develop yourself by yourself. Proverbs 27:17 (NIV) says,
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
In order for you to build these kind of relationships, it will require you to take the initiative. If you’re sitting around the house waiting for a potential mentor or purpose coach to pick up the phone to call and ask you if he can mentor you, that call may never come.
Typically speaking, successful people are busy people who place a very high value on time and they’re not going out of their way to look for new responsibilities. You’re going to have to be the initiator. Pick up the phone and call them. Offer to take them to lunch, dinner, or coffee. Do whatever you have to do to accommodate their schedule (rather then expecting them to accommodate yours).
Of course, the first relationship you have to cultivate if you’re serious about developing your purpose is your relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “If you abide in me, I will abide in you and you will bear much fruit, but apart from me you can do nothing.” You can’t neglect your relationship with the giver of purpose and still expect to successfully and effectively walk in your purpose. Spend time building your relationship with Christ through prayer, worship, studying the scriptures, and joining a small group at church.
Remember, if you can fulfill your purpose without God, than you haven’t discovered your God given purpose. The purpose He gives you will always require His help to accomplish it.
[shareable cite=”@PastorTHall”]You can’t develop your yourself, by yourself. We all need relationships.[/shareable]
2 – We Develop Our Purpose Through Exposure.
Typically we rise to the level of purpose that we’re exposed to.
That’s why you have to be intentional about exposing yourself to new and/or bigger environments – environments that initially might require you to step outside of your comfort zone. For example, I’m a Pastor, so every chance I get I expose myself to new ministries, churches, people, environments, and leaders who think bigger and help lift the lids off of my own limited thinking. Every time I leave these vision expanding environments, I walk away rethinking my definition of what’s possible.
Let me show you what I mean:
Before God used Moses to lead Israel out of Egyptian captivity, He exposed him to Egyptian leadership by arranging for Moses to actually be raised in Pharaoh’s palace. Why? It’s the law of exposure. You rise to the level of life and purpose that you’re exposed to.
Elisha was exposed to Elijah’s ministry and leadership for a period of time and as a result he received a double portion of Elijah’s abilities and anointing. It’s the law of exposure.
Jesus recruited his ministry team and then exposed them to His teaching, serving, and ministry of performing miracles. Once they had been exposed to those new environments, Jesus released them to go and do the same thing.
It’s the law of exposure.
Being a big fish in a small pond may serve to feed your ego, but it won’t help you fulfill your destiny. You have to be willing to expose yourself to bigger environments.
Don’t be afraid to expose yourself to the kind of environments that are directly connected to your purpose. Environments that are unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and at first a little bit intimidating.
If you feel called to lead, expose yourself to leadership environments that are going to help expand your vision and understanding of leadership.
If you feel called to ministry, expose yourself to ministry environments that will help feed your purpose and rethink what the kind of ministry you feel called to can look like.
If you feel called to music, business, starting a non-profit, or the health field – expose yourself to the kind of environments that will feed that purpose.
You’ll be shocked at how much exposing yourself to new environments will help to change the way you think about the possibilities of your purpose. I’ve also discovered that exposing yourself to certain environments is a great way to discover what you’re purpose isn’t. Sometimes one experience in a particular environment is all you need to realize that it isn’t the path that God’s created you to walk on. Either way, don’t be afraid to expose yourself to new environments.
3 – We Develop Our Purpose Through Investment.
The first and most important investment you can make is in yourself. Why? Because you can’t give something to others that you yourself don’t possess.
The proof that you believe in yourself is revealed in how much you’re willing to invest in yourself and yes, investing in yourself will cost you something. Proverbs 4:7 (NIV) says, “…Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
In the bible, God likens His relationship with us to a potters relationship with clay. He’s constantly and lovingly molding us according to His will and purpose for our lives. Investing in yourself is like giving God (The Potter) more clay with which to mold you. But how do we add more clay to our lives?
- Carve out personal development time in your weekly schedule.
- Read books that are related to your purpose.
- Listen to podcasts.
- Go to conferences.
- Take some classes related to what you feel God calling you to do.
- Find a mentor or hire a personal life coach or purpose coach who can help you see your blind spots.
Will it cost you something? Absolutely. Will it be worth it in the end? Absolutely.
Lastly, investing in yourself also includes investing in your physical health.
As far as you can help it, do whatever you can do to ensure that you don’t cut your life and purpose short by neglecting your health. Some people try to excuse this point by saying, “Hey, when it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go.” But we all know deep down inside that that’s not entirely true. It’s very possible to neglect the gift of life that God’s given us and cut life short. It would be tragic to die prematurely with purpose still inside of you because of something that you yourself could have prevented.
Yeah, a gym membership might be expensive, but it’s not more expensive than open heart surgery.
Your purpose is precious and someone somewhere is counting on you to walk in it.
[shareable cite=”@PastorTHall”]A gym membership may be expensive, but it’s not more expensive than open heart surgery. Invest in your health.[/shareable]
- When it comes to developing your purpose there’s two realms of development (I)Divine Development and (II) Intentional Development.
- Initially, Divine Development is often happening without our knowledge.
- Intentional development happens through (I) Building the right relationships, (II) Exposing ourselves to vision expanding environments, and (III) Investing in ourselves.
- Write down the names of 2-3 people you’re going to build a relationship with.
- Make of list of environments you want to expose yourself to that are related to your purpose and could expand your vision.
- Write down 3 ways you’re going to invest in yourself in the next 30 days.