God created you for a purpose. You were no accident. He designed you with specific talents, interests and gifts, and chose the place and time you would be born. You didn’t choose your family either. This wasn’t an accident. And all of this makes you unique. Unique in a way that a fingerprint is unique. There are no copies.
And God knows the purposes He created you for. And He promises that He created you for great things. He insists that He plans for you to prosper, and for you to have a hope, and a future. And that promise is true even though you aren’t experiencing it in your life right now. Don’t copy somebody else’s dream for your life, or try to be them.
Designing your life takes faith. Faith is the evidence or truth (fact) of things you still don’t see. It is the substance, or matter (reality) of things you hope for. Faith isn’t something you psych up in yourself. And it is not a magic prayer you pray that brings about the desired outcome when you wave your stick and, shazam, there it is. I know we sometimes make it out to be a magic formula.
Faith is born out of knowing who God is, and knowing how He feels about you. Its very foundation is based on the character of God. It is grown by our hearing the truth and embracing it. And a perfected faith brings back results. And faith is what keeps us going even when we don’t see the results right away.
Designing your own life takes clarity. If you are going to reject the default life that the universe will try to push on you, you will need clarity on what your life should look like. Dream, and write down your dreams. Put your dream into bite-size goals and actionable to-do lists. If you have no written agenda or goals for your life, the default will creep in.
Failing to plan, is the same as planning to fail. There has to be a clear way in which you can hold yourself accountable. If you have no clue where you are going, it is really hard to get there. We are far too easily distracted to follow through if we don’t have written, objective goals.
Designing your life takes knowing your design. It is often said that you can be anything you want to be. I am sure you have been told that too at some point. That is simply not true. God designed you uniquely with a specific purpose in mind. If you understand that purpose, you will accept that your life has certain limits. Those limits are not restricting. They are incredibly liberating. It will set you free to say no to some things you have hated with a passion. And it will open your eyes to ways you can contribute with your strengths.
Research proves that children who were told they could be anything they wanted to be, fare poorer in their lives than those whose parents set their course for them. They are poorer both financially and emotionally. Most parents have some clue as to the aptitude of their kids. Of course some parents ignore those talents with horrible consequences. All that to say, your life needs to be designed around your design. Not the trends, dreams and pressures the world tries to force on you.
Designing your life takes community. A support group that believes in you, challenges you, and is aware of both your design, and the life you are trying to design. We were created for community, so embrace that power. But you need to be diligent in picking your community. Do it on purpose.
Your community has to strike the balance of being able to cheer on what you are attempting and caution you when they see you stepping into your danger zone. That takes some insight. People who blindly cheer you on in everything you set out to do, will cost you as much of your dream, as those who are constantly telling you it’s impossible. True encouragement is wise and honest.
Be quick to forgive, and overcome fear. One of your great assets that makes you unique, is the family and the community you were born into. It shapes your perspective and moulds you into somebody you would never have become without that influence. It shapes your values and belief systems to see things as only you can see them. There is a darker side to that same coin though.
The family and community you grow up in will also often be the cause of your pain, brokenness, limiting beliefs, and the lies you tell yourself. Learn from those unfortunate events, forgive those responsible, and let God take care of you. Then those things will work together for good in your life. If you let fear stop you, and bitterness to take root, these things will stop you from your God given dream life. And if you reject your family and community completely because of the pain or embarrassment they have caused you, you will most definitely not achieve your best life.
The Designer Life takes perseverance. My oldest brother used to say: “brilliant people are a dime a dozen, but persistent people, now those are rare treasures.” Of course that saying was often directed at me. I guess I needed to be reminded to not just be brilliant, but also put my smarts into consistent action in order to bring results.
Dreams without actions to go with them are simple fantasies. And living in fantasy land will get us nowhere. And even when we put actions to our dreams, we are guaranteed to encounter plenty of obstacles. Those are the moments when we need to allow the obstacles to refine our dreams, and persevere in faith, believing that we will eventually succeed. It is true that success takes longer than expected. It is also true that when it gets darkest, success is closer than we normally think.
The best life is designed around God’s purpose for you. More than just the gifts and talents you were created with, God has a greater purpose for your life. You may have been created with gifts and talents that make you an incredible architect, or artist. And in your life, you use those talents to bless people, and make people laugh, or inspire community by how you design spaces. There are so many things you can use your gifts for.
Beyond that, beyond achieving the best life for ourselves, we were all created to use our talents and the fruits of our talents to bring the kingdom of heaven down to earth. Whether it is by helping less fortunate kids eat, or assisting third-world business growth, or mentoring kids in your community, God has a role for you to play in building His kingdom here on earth. So don’t forget the importance of those moments when you design your life.