To say we’re excited about the possibilities that 2021 may bring would be an understatement. By now, vision boards may have been thoughtfully crafted and S.M.A.R.T. goals have been set, but as we embark on a new journey, how have you positioned yourself for a purpose-driven year? When we say “purpose-driven,” Rick Warren, author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For?,” explains that “to be purpose-driven is to be driven by God’s purposes.”
There are so many resources regarding purpose available, but the only way we can be driven by God’s purposes is to directly consult with Him first. Before we map out our goals for the year and activate our ambition, we have to receive guidance from The One who directs our paths.
The Word tells us, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV). Those things you’d like to accomplish this year: a new career, flourishing business, a prosperous ministry — He wants you to have them! However, when we’re solely led by our desires, we tend to end up disappointed and drained. True freedom, joy, abundance, and peace comes from doing things God’s way. To be positioned for a purpose-driven life, we’ll need to walk through three fundamental steps. Let’s dig a little further into what that looks like.
1. Read God’s Word.
If you want to hear from God, start with reading His Word. The Word is living and it’s one of the ways God communicates with us. Develop a daily habit of spending at least 15 minutes reading the Bible. You’ll notice that not only do you have more clarity, but you’ll also have peace knowing that God has a plan for you — and it’s to gift you His best. In addition to hearing His voice through scripture, the Bible is a powerful weapon for spiritual warfare, equipping you with wisdom to conquer strongholds that attempt to destroy what God has called you to do. When you come across obstacles, having the Word in your heart gives you a firm foundation to stand on.
2. Strengthen your Prayer Life.
How is your prayer life? Oftentimes, when we’re looking for direction, we tend to turn to books, podcasts, and more recently, growing social platforms like Clubhouse. The perspective of experts can be helpful, but more importantly, we have access to an all-knowing God. Proverbs 21:30 reminds us that, “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord” (NIV). We don’t need to seek external sources concerning what we should do when God holds the plan for our lives.
Treat your prayer time as your opportunity to have a meeting with God. It’s your time to ask Him, “What would you like me to focus on in this season?” “How can I best serve you?” Whatever questions concerning the next steps on your journey, bring them to Him in prayer. When your prayers are rooted in faith, God is faithful to answer them. A key component of this step is also taking the time to listen to His still, small voice. In Priscilla Shirer’s book “Discerning the Voice of God: How To Recognize When God Is Speaking”, she explains, “If we’re always impatient, filling in the silent margins during prayer, in our decision making, and in every other aspect of life, we leave little space for God’s powerful direction to resonate in our already crowded schedules and hearts.”
After you have prayed, sit in expectation to hear from Him. Be sure to keep a journal nearby to take note of what God reveals to you during your quiet time. Lastly, don’t be discouraged when the answer doesn’t come right away. Before God manifests what you’re praying for, He has to prepare you. You don’t have to worry about falling behind schedule because His timing is perfect.
3. Go on a Fast/Spiritual Detox.
Fasting prepares our hearts to hear God’s voice and really puts things into perspective. When you set aside the things that you desire, as well as the noise of this world, you’re able to solely focus on God and can hear Him speak more clearly. This is an opportunity to humble ourselves, repent, pray, worship, and seek the Word of God. Talk about divine rejuvenation and restoration! A great resource on how to effectively fast is John Eckhardt’s book, “Fasting for Breakthrough & Deliverance” which provides techniques to enhance your seasons of prayer and fasting. Fast as the Lord leads you and prepare yourself physically for fasts that last longer than a couple of days. If you have concerns about your physical ability to fast, consult your physician before fasting.
4. Stay Rooted in Faith.
When you ask God for direction, do you believe that He’s going to answer your prayers? We may not realize it, but sometimes, when we go to God for help, we don’t believe He’s going to come through for us. Doing things God’s way doesn’t always feel comfortable, and sometimes, it won’t make sense, but continue to stand firm in your faith. If you’re asking God for clarity in 2021, you have to believe it’s on the way. In those times of uncertainty, remember His promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future.”
As we gear up to have our most prosperous, abundant, and joy-filled year yet, we must remember to consult with God first on all things. Ladies, if you know it’s your time to be purpose-driven, let’s get in position with The One who directs our paths!