I dropped out of highschool. I was a terrible student and basically treated school as a place to make social connections, so my junior year was pretty much it for me. A few years later I remember hearing about everything my former classmates were doing with their lives, and I thought, “I blew it. It’s too late for me. I missed it, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” Any sense of fulfilling some sort of purpose seemed altogether impossible. I felt depressed and hopeless.
Fast forward to today – I have the honor of pastoring an incredible church while helping other leaders develop their potential and discover their own unique purpose. Besides that, I’m a few months away from releasing my first book project, I’ve earned a four year degree, and I’m one year away from receiving my Masters degree from Richmont Graduate University. God willing, I’ll go on to earn my PhD.
So what happened? What caused such a drastic shift in trajectory?
Well, first off, I discovered that the story I’d been telling myself was a lie . . . it wasn’t too late to do something with my life – to identify and walk in my unique God-given purpose! Secondly, I discovered that if you’ll step out of the boat, God will meet you on the water, and He specializes in redeeming lost time.
Do you feel like I did? Like it’s too late for you, like you’ve made too many mistakes, taken the wrong path too many times, burned too many bridges, or just waited too long? I’ve got great news – God knows how to redeem the time we’ve lost, the mistakes we’ve made, and yes, even the bridges we’ve burned!
God specializes in working in people’s lives AFTER it seems like it’s too late:
- After Lazarus died Jesus raised him back to life.
- After Job lost everything God restored it to him double.
- After the woman had been caught in the act of adultery, Jesus forgave and restored her.
- After Jesus had been in the grave for 3 days, God raised Him up with all power and authority!
God still does some of His best work AFTER it seems too late.
After you didn’t get the promotion. After you got a bad diagnosis. After you had to file bankruptcy. After you’ve made a mess with your life.
You may feel like you’ve already spent your time, wasted your time, or lost your time, but we serve a God Who knows how to redeem the time! God can “…restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25 NKJV).
Romans 4:17-18 (NLT) tells us that, “…Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping….”
If God did it for Abraham and Sarah, He can do it for you. And when you’re tempted to start thinking that maybe it’s too late, just remind yourself that you serve a God Who knows how to “…create new things out of nothing.”
So where do we get started?
STEP 1 – Turn to the One who gave you your purpose.
In Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV) the Lord said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jesus loves you. If you’ll seek Him, He’ll give you wisdom, insights, and divine strategies that will help get your purpose back on track.
James 1:5 (NIV) says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
If you need wisdom to get your purpose back on track, ask God and He will give it to you.
During this process I strongly suggest keeping a “purpose journal” where you can record the revelations you’re going to receive during this season of redeeming your purpose. This will help you to look back and trace the activity of God which becomes evidence of His purpose for your life. After journaling for awhile, you’ll begin to see a theme that’s connected to your purpose.
Learn more about discovering your purpose here.
STEP 2 – Start telling yourself a new story.
Stop telling yourself it’s too late. It’s not too late.
In the book of Numbers chapter 13, the Israelites were going to spy out the Promised Land. When the spies came back, they spread a negative report to everyone, basically telling them that they couldn’t do what God said they could (learn more about protecting your purpose here). In fact, in verse 33 they said, “…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (NIV).
They were telling themselves the wrong story, and they talked themselves right out of the promises of God. Because the story you tell yourself will shape the way you see yourself.
You’re not too old. It’s not too hard. Your purpose is your purpose. Refuse to tell yourself stories of doubt, fear, and defeat.
- You’re more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:37)
- You can do all things through Christ. (Philippians 4:13)
- If God be for you, who can stand against you? (Romans 8:31)
Start telling yourself a new story.
Learn more about the dangers of a toxic thought life here.
STEP 3 – Get back to doing what you know God created you to do.
It’s not too late to get back to obedience.
As a matter of fact, when it comes to walking in our purpose, it’s our faith in His promises that activates them. Sometimes we’re waiting on God when He’s been waiting on us the whole time.
In Revelation 2:5 (NLT) the Lord said, “…Turn back to me and do the works you did at first.”
God can redeem your purpose if, by faith, you’ll step back into what it is that God created you to do.
In Deuteronomy 30:3, the Message Paraphrase Bible says it like this, “GOD, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered.”
It’s not too late to get back to the place of obedience and do what you know God created you to do!
STEP 4 – Find someone or somewhere to serve.
While you’re in this process of letting God redeem your purpose, find a way to help someone else walk in their purpose.
Proverbs 11:25 (NKJV) says, “…he who waters will also be watered himself.”
In other words, what you make happen for others, God will make happen for you!
Get plugged into a ministry team at church. Join a small group. Find somewhere to volunteer and make a difference in someone else’s life.
If you want to experience a harvest of purpose in your life, find a way to sow seeds of purpose in someone else’s.
1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) says, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”
Learn more about Developing Your Purpose here.
STEP 5 – Don’t be afraid to start small.
Zechariah 4:10 (NLT) says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin….”
Don’t wait for perfect circumstances to reengage your purpose. Perfection is the enemy of progress. You don’t have to have the best to give your best.
So just get started.
The Bible tells us in 2 Kings 4 that there was a widow who had some debts to pay, but she only had a little olive oil in her house. Elisha the prophet told her to pour that little bit she had into as many large vessels as she could find.
Miraculously, as long as she kept pouring from her tiny jar of oil, the oil kept flowing and filling up the other large jars to the top!
Why? Because God doesn’t need what you don’t have to accomplish His will for your life. You’ll be shocked at what God can do if you’ll just start working with the little that you’ve got. God will bless and multiply the little.
5 Steps towards redeeming your purpose:
- Turn to the One Who gave you purpose.
- Start telling yourself a new story.
- Get back to doing what you know God created you to do.
- Find someone or somewhere to serve.
- Don’t be afraid to start small.
The fact that there’s still breath in your lungs is proof that you still have divine purpose. It’s not too late!
When Joseph was thrown into Potiphar’s prison, it looked like it was too late.
When Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children, it looked like it was too late.
When Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb, it looked like it was too late.
But it wasn’t.
Because we serve a redeeming God Who is able to create new things out of nothing.
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