“May we have some glue?” my young niece asked me one day, years ago, when she and her siblings and cousins came to visit.
“What do you need it for?” I hesitated, as any responsible adult would when one kid representing six others asks for glue. They were great kids, but even the best of the best can have some hair-brained ideas at times!
“We want to make a bird’s nest.”
By this time her cousin had joined her, eager to start their project and wondering what was taking so long.
“Why not make mud to hold it together, like birds do?” I suggested.
“Yeah!” they both shouted and were out the door in a flash.
Their nest turned out looking fairly authentic, and I was impressed. They perched it in the branches of a bush and came in for lunch, hopeful that a pair of birds would choose it for their new home.
As impressive of a nest as it was, I knew it was unlikely to meet the standards of the creatures God specifically designed to build such things. I hoped they wouldn’t be too disappointed.
Envying and Imitating Others
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As I was musing about this incident later, a thought hit me.
As adults, we don’t usually attempt to make nests for birds who are capable of doing it far better than we can. But we do often try to imitate what others are doing after admiring their abilities and accomplishments.
The problem is, God doesn’t call us to do what others are doing or accomplish what they have. He has created each of us well-equipped to accomplish what He has specifically called us as individuals to do. Just like He created birds to be experts at building nests.
Unfortunately, we tend to be envious of others and ask God why we don’t have Sue’s abilities, Mike’s opportunities, or Laura’s results. God’s Word cautions us about this:
“Who are you, O man, who answers [arrogantly] back to God and dares to defy Him? Will the thing which is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does the potter not have the right over the clay, to make from the same lump [of clay] one object for honorable use [something beautiful or distinctive] and another for common use [something ordinary or menial]?” (Romans 9:20-21 AMP)
Don’t be a Copycat
Just as each piece of pottery is important for its created purpose — some for “honorable” purposes and others for more “common” purposes — the same is true of us.
It is crucial that we embrace the fact that we are created to be different from each other.
We aren’t supposed to function alike, look alike, have the same interests, or focus on the same tasks. We aren’t all supposed to be on display. We aren’t all supposed to be behind the scenes, either. Some of us are called to sit and visit with the guests, like Mary, while others are called to serve them, like Martha.
The more we try to be like someone else, the less we are who God created us to be. And the more we think someone else should be like us, the more we are inhibiting them from being who God created them to be.
Our only focus should be on living and fulfilling our God-given purpose and encouraging others to live theirs.
But What About Unity?
We sometimes mistake God’s call to unity and to be one body to mean He wants us all to be alike. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. He emphasizes various places in Scripture that we are each equipped with different gifts and, just as body parts look different and have different functions, so do we.
We are, however, called to work together as one within these different functions to serve Him — to be the hands, feet, head, and heart of Jesus to the world around us. How each of us does that will look different from others. But each is vitally important. When one person doesn’t live their purpose, it is the same effect as if one’s body part is missing or doesn’t function as it should — making them “handicapped” or “challenged.”
That’s how important you are. And that’s how important it is that you function specifically as God strategically designed and created you.
Embrace Your Uniqueness for God’s glory
Being true to yourself isn’t for self-glory. God didn’t design us with our unique set of qualities for others to admire and try to imitate. He didn’t intend that we embrace our uniqueness out of pride. In fact, Scripture says,
“For by the grace [of God] given to me I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself [and of his importance and ability] than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has apportioned to each a degree of faith [and a purpose designed for service].” (Romans 12:3 AMP)
God has apportioned to each of us a “purpose designed for service.” His reason for giving us purpose is to be His “hands” and “feet” in service to Him.
Clues to Knowing Your Purpose
That said, God has also lovingly designed us to feel fulfilled when we are living His assigned purpose.
Think back to the times when you felt most alive, on top of your game, happy and complete. Reflect on the specifics of what you were doing, the outcome, and what you valued in the experience that made you feel that way. When you can identify those things in multiple incidences, you’ve discovered your purpose. Your purpose is something that brings fulfillment to you, glory to God, and contributes to the building of His Kingdom. Your purpose is something you can live every day for the rest of your life and never tire of it.
If you’d like help to discover your purpose, click over to the Discover Your Purpose page and sign up for a life-changing coaching session. We’ll discover your purpose together and write a Life Purpose Statement that will give you clarity in all aspects of your life for the rest of your life!