Do you ever feel at times that life has become one big popularity contest? I’ve felt that way for a few years now and, honestly, it is such a TURN OFF. We live in a culture that is almost infatuated with the idea of being impressive or being impressed. I see it everywhere. In the workplace promotions are based on like-ability versus true skill. On Instagram, perfectly lit photos with interesting aesthetic and a decent amount of likes are boosted to the top of news feeds for more attention. Even our churches succumb to the pressures of putting on a production like Beyonce at Coachella without having even a fraction of the budget. It can all be overwhelmingly DRAINING to watch as everyone competes to be “the best" and the most popular.
Noticing this has led me to ask myself “Are my actions and decisions purpose driven or popularity driven?” I’ve been candid about a lot of things on the blog and one of those things has been my freedom from the need to please. As I’m continuing my journey of living authentically, I’ve found that the danger in trying to be “the best” keeps a lot of us from being OUR best. Simply put, you could be doing the most and achieving the least because you’re totally missing the point of what your life was intended to accomplish.
If you’re a church kid like me, you've heard the words PURPOSE, ANOINTING, and CALLING used all too fluidly, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that the basis of these words are BIG FACTS that should never be forgotten. These words summed up mean that there is a specific reason and function for everything. There’s a target to be reached that is specific for our lives, our relationships, our businesses, etc. Moreover, I believe that all of our purposes are APPOINTED by a really big God who has some really big plans that He needs to be accomplished. Appointed simply means decided on beforehand. Think about that, for real. God already assigned and appointed a reason for my life and your life. That is a game changer in a world that tries to suck us into this purposeless popularity contest where we’re looking for others to validate our moves.
So how can we pinpoint if we’re living for popularity or purpose? I’ve read so many books on purpose, watched so many messages about purpose and I can honestly say, there is no “one size fits all" journey that you’ll go on as you seek to live purposefully. One thing that does FIT ALL when trying to identify your specific purpose is: PRAYER! Prayer is so UNDERRATED yet so PIVOTAL when you’re aiming to live more purposefully. Why? BECAUSE GOD CREATED EVERYTHING FOR A PURPOSE! Why not just ask Him instead of trying to let the wind lead you? At the start of the year, I went on a fast for 21 days for this reason alone. I needed to hear what God wanted to do with my life. I was tired of the popularity contest that left me feening for affirmation and validation. I vowed that I would not spend another year “shooting blanks”. On day 5 of the fast the topic was...you guessed it...PURPOSE. While praying, a wave of understanding concerning purpose was revealed to me from Jeremiah 1. I encourage you to read it when you get a chance. All the specific pieces of my individualized purpose are all being revealed month by month since that day. It's been mind blowing. However, I wouldn’t have the clarity that I have now had I not set aside the time to INTENTIONALLY PRAY. God wants to tell you why He’s created you, but you have to be willing to hear and receive the answer that He gives you. Prayer is simple. Talk to God like He has all the answers and ask Him for what you need. (Be prepared for the answers He gives you once you ask.)
Along with praying, I also ask myself questions before making decisions to walk more in purpose. Some of the questions I ask are:
· What would God think about this?
· Am I doing this to be impressive or to be intentional in this area of my life?
· After I make this decision, will I need validation from people to feel good about it or will I be content with my decision whether they notice or not?
· What is my honest motive for doing XYZ?
· When I am involved with this, does it drain me or fuel me?
Again, every person’s journey to identifying purpose is different. The one thing I know to be true is that when you begin living from a place of purpose versus popularity, JOY quickly arises in you. Joy is different than happiness, because it isn’t dependent upon what is happening. When you live for popularity and accolades from people, you’re generally just HAPPY and the happiness is fickle because people are fickle. The attention essentially controls your mood. Talk about all over the place! #NOTHAPPENING Having purpose filter every area of your life brings such clarity and removes the pressure to perform. I’m finding that I’m able to approach life with so much more confidence, because if it ain’t filtered through my life’s purpose, I AIN’T DOING IT! (Sorry to all the grammatically pressed readers).
So sis/bro, you gotta get some clarity on your purpose. Don’t live another day hitting and missing in this popularity game we call life. There is a specific reason why you’re here. Aren’t you curious to know what it is? How would your life change if you got a glimpse of the purpose God has for your life? How would your relationships change? How would you feel about yourself after knowing? You can’t miss out on this opportunity! PRAY and ask God about your purpose and don't stop until you're clear about it! Get in line with it and watch the peace and joy flood into your life. I can promise you that.
-Your Sister-Friend Maya