One of the most difficult things in life is learning how the Bible can help us make practical choices about our everyday lives. Today on the blog, my friend Eunice shares how the Word of God was a guide to her as a college student choosing a career. I hope you are encouraged as you read. Ladies & Gentleman, Eunice Makinde:
In the spirit of turning 30, I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose. It’s a word that connects us all. A word that we all pursue whether we realize it or not. A word often used in Christian circles to describe something tremendous and usually something that feels greater than ourselves. For me, the Bible has been a source of comfort in discovering and understanding my purpose. It has shed light on who God sees me as and how He would have me live.
Most of my life, I dreamed about becoming a famous fashion designer that put together fashion shows to raise money for war-torn African countries like Darfur, Sudan. That dream transpired to owning a non-profit that gave back to war-torn communities, and that dream quickly evolved to merely wanting to serve other people. As much as the vision changed, I quickly learned that at the heart of these dreams was a desire to find what we all desire to discover, purpose.
Sophomore year of college, I had a pre-adult life crisis while reading the book “Captivating.” The book talked about the Proverbs 31 woman and the pressures Christian women often feel to live up to a standard of success that felt very unattainable at times. That booked ripped open my heart, uncovered wounds I’d hidden for years, and wrecked my reality of what I thought I knew of self. This awakening was so tremendous that I have vivid memories of sitting in the passenger seat of a friends car one night, balling my eyes out and stuttering through the words, “I don’t know who I am.” Cue Chris August. My life seemed to be falling apart, I was on the verge of flunking out of school, coming off an injury (there went my whole being the “fast black girl” cover), and I wasn’t too sure what my relationship with God looked like at that time. It also didn’t help that my freshman year of college I had written down 3 goals: 1) win a national title 2) get good grades, and 3) better my relationship with God (whatever that meant), and at that moment I realized I wasn’t really on my way to achieving any of those personal goals.
Suddenly being known as the “fast black girl,” felt more like a mask than a badge of honor, and this pre-adult life crisis in retrospective brought me to my knees. I desperately needed answers; I desperately needed to take the question of who am I to God. I remember growing up hearing about fasting, and I recalled being told by my parents that it was one way of blocking out the day-to-day noise that gets in the way of hearing God’s voice, so I thought why not give this a go. I was serious, I mean I had to be, what college athlete in the middle of their season decides to fast for three days? So I waited and waited, and in true Jesus fashion, he answered, on THE LAST DAY. I wish I could say it was a spiritual moment where the heavens opened, and I heard the audible voice of God, but no, I had to meditate on God’s response for clarity, because this time around the answer to my question came straight from the Word of God.
I am a firm believer that the easiest way to know and hear God’s voice, is through His Word. We serve a very personal God, and his Word, which is also his heart for humanity, becomes personal the more we engage with it. Nothing beats going through a situation or needing an answer to something and opening your Bible directly to a passage of scripture that speaks to the very thing you prayed about, and you know that it’s for you. That was what Isaiah 49 and 58 were for me that day. Passages I read for the first time that day. The title of chapter 49 in my Bible reading, “The Servant, the Light to the Gentiles,” and chapter 59 reading, “Fasting that Pleases God.”
It was then after some back and forth with Jesus (because let’s be real, I was hoping God would tell me I was supposed to be a lawyer, doctor, teacher, etc.) that I understood what God was telling me, I was called to serve. This answer was hard to understand or accept at first because it wasn’t super definitive, it didn’t get me out of my current situation, in fact, I still had to find a possible resolution, to those things. However, this revelation did require my total reliance on God, and it became the driving force behind every decision I’ve made in my life since then. These passages of scripture spoke to every feeling I was experiencing at the time and are a constant reminder of God’s purpose for my life in moments of feeling inadequate, overlooked, tired of waiting, and needing direction.
A friend explained God to me like this once; let’s say you pray and ask God for a flower, God is the type of God that will sometimes lead you to a bed of roses or presents you with a bed of roses and asks you to pick anyone you want. He directs, presents, and at times leaves the decision up to you. Figuring out what my purpose was in life happened like this. God placed it on my heart to take some time to silence the noise, spend more intentional time with him (I had a choice to be obedient and do that), and in that, He presented to me an answer or solution. Although He could’ve been direct, as God can be, He gave direction and allowed me the freedom to make choices from that point on based on the clarity He gave at that time. For example, I made a decision that day that if an opportunity doesn’t allow me the ability to serve others, well, it’s not for me. Trust me when I say, opportunities have come my way since then, but some possibilities have been more natural to pass up because they just didn’t fit into my purpose. It doesn’t mean I don’t still prayerfully go to God when opportunities arise; instead, it just becomes more natural to know which ones to consider, bring before God prayerfully, and which ones to give a definitive no, right away.
I love Hebrews 4:12 because it speaks to the power of the word of God, it reads, “For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
Meaning the Word of God is alive, active, and can pierce through what is convoluted and make things clear. It did that for me, and it can do that for you.
What question(s) are you hoping God will answer? Maybe God has responded, and you’re struggling to lean into His Word? Sometimes God shows us step one, and then we get to take step two and three. What steps should you be taking? And which ones should you pass up?
God has a purpose for your life, and if you don’t know what that is, might I encourage you to seek Him and his Word? Unplug from social media, go for a walk, do something you love, in a space you feel connected to God in a deeper way, then crack open the Word daily, and I promise although it may take some time, He will and always answers.
Bio: My name is Eunice Makinde; I’m a writer, pastor, certified strengthsfinder coach, community psychologist, social activist, and soon to be thirty-year-old living in this crazy world and just trying to leave it better than when I came into it. I’m passionate about bringing racial reconciliation to our communities and the church and enjoy hiking, dancing, karaoke, traveling, and an excellent documentary here and there while enjoying the simpler things in life with the people I love. You can find me on Instagram @eun_mak or follow my writings and travels on http://www.chasingproverbs.com.