“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
Since 2009 at age 25, I’ve been praying to God to use me as His instrument of love. I don’t exactly know how or to what extent, but in my heart I always believe that God created me for a purpose and that there is more beyond fulfilling my dreams.
For a couple of years, I’ve been contemplating on the essence and meaning of my life. I thought it’s simply about achieving my dreams and living life to the fullest by doing good deeds and an end goal of going to heaven. It sounded easy until series of challenges started unfolding in my life. Until my principles on faith, work, relationships and aspirations were tested during its course.
After graduating with recognition in College, my jobs started to define my identity. I got so focused in becoming excellent in what I do. Doors opened to better opportunities, bigger positions and higher pay as well. And the more money I was getting, the more I was getting myself stuck in the rat race. I thought I’ve got nothing to lose with more knowledge, and that it would prepare me for the worst that could happen.
As in the Law of Attraction, I focused my energy on what I want and I can attract the universe to give me. If I don’t get what I desire, I just check the horoscope to get a glimpse of what to expect within the year.
Just like Eve allowing her desire for wisdom fall into the serpent’s bait (Genesis 3:1-6), I took the power of the future into my own hands.
Materialism ate me alive, thinking that real security comes from financial stability, believing that I have the power to create it.
As human beings, we never get satisfied. We always want more apart from what we have. At work, our measure of success are bigger pay and higher position. And character, respect and integrity are most often overlooked and disregarded.
Have you ever taken a time to reflect if you’re working to live, or you’re actually living to work?
Have you ever prioritized work over God and over family? I am guilty of both, and my favorite excuse was that I had no choice because I was building my career. The truth is I had a choice, but I made myself a victim of the situation because I was fixing and resolving the problems with my own strength. My limited capacity to do things couldn’t solve problems that were getting out of my control. I only got myself to a pit of stress and frustration. And even if I try to be that responsible leader who takes accountability in all things, I failed in all other aspects. And it crushed my heart to bits because I made reputation my everything.
In life, we go through a roller coaster of emotions, and many times I cannot help but wonder why God allows us to go through difficulties, pain and suffering if He is truly a loving God. Does He listen to our prayers when we fall hard on our knees feeling lost in our lives not knowing how to move forward?
But you know, this was the Lord’s answer to me:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you.” – Matthew 7:7
Before, I only seek God when I needed something, and I get frustrated when He’s nowhere. I taunt His character even to the point of asking, ‘Are you even listening to my silent prayers, Lord?’ or ‘Have You turned your back on me?’. Yes I was selfish. I was deluding myself into thinking prayer is one-way and I was treating God as a genie, who could grant me unlimited wishes. Whenever I encountered life challenges and felt like the whole world shatters in front of me, I ask God ‘Why do you let me go through this?’.
And then one day, our God, our ever-faithful and loving God, revealed to me that He was shaking me to soften my obstinate heart and get rid of all the specks in my eyes that turned me blind.
God enabled me to see myself. As flawed as ever. And that I am nothing without Him.
That I am lost without my shepherd.
God appoints us with earth angels whom He chooses to lead us back to Him, and I’m grateful to such friend who introduced me to Victory, Fort. It was in July 2015 when I renewed my faith and started a spiritual journey to a more intimate relationship with God. I began to appreciate how God loves us as His own children that even if the original sin meant death and total separation from Him, His unconditional love prevailed. He sacrificed His only Son to die on the cross to redeem us from sin.
God has changed my heart to be more grateful. Now, when I encounter challenges, I don’t doubt God’s faithfulness any longer. Instead, I bow down my head in prayer to thank Him for the strength He has given me and for the wisdom to discern His desire for me.
I started to crave for God’s word, which has empowered me to overcome the worldly truth I shamelessly believed in. Today, when I pray, I surrender to God’s sovereignty, and it humbles me to acknowledge to our Creator that I can’t do anything without Him. Whenever I seek Him, my half empty cup is filled up. And despite my imperfect situations, I find myself complete and whole with His grace. Grace is God’s favor to each and every one of us. Pastor Joey Bonifacio beautifully stated in his book, The Promise No One Wants, that ‘grace has the power to take us where we are unable to go’.
God’s Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. – Psalm 119:105
When I surrendered my life to God, not only was my heart changed, even my motivations were. It is no longer about the worldly and materialistic desire I want to achieve for myself, but the character of faithfulness, obedience and complete trust that God desires for me so He can use me to fulfill my purpose.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9
You might be asking, ‘How do I know what is God’s desire for me?’
Let me share with you 3 Principles I learned the hard way in my journey of seeking His will, which I hope can help you in your life and career discernment.
CLARITY IS CERTAINTY
Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 15:16) When you fix your gaze on God and glorify Him, you’ll know in your heart what to do.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) God plants the desires in our hearts and you know it’s His will for you if you feel a strong burning desire for it.
Reflect on the following questions to identify your life purpose:
- What motivates you?
- What were you good at when you were a kid, which you’d like to pursue now?
- What do you love reading about?
- If money is not a problem and fear or failure is not an issue, what is the strong desire in your heart that you want to do?
- To measure how passionate you are on this, would you do this for free?
- How can you glorify God in what you want to do?
My prior motivation for success was monetary value and title. As God changed my heart to do what He desires for me, my priority now is to pursue my purpose and passion. Money is not my driver anymore, because I believe that money will follow later on once I focus my energy in using the skills and knowledge He has blessed me with to glorify Him.
After 7 years that God has been laying out paths to define His purpose for me, it’s only now that I understand what I have been praying for to be His instrument of love. My life purpose is not to fulfill my own desire, but to be an instrument of God to be His disciple, and in my own way touch people’s hearts with overflowing love that only comes from God’s grace. I myself have witnessed God’s abundant love embrace me through other people He has placed in my life during my lowest points, and who rejoice with me with every little triumph.
The number 7 has a significance in the Bible, with reference to 735 times being mentioned in the Scripture. God created the heavens and the earth, day and night, land and sea, animals and human being, including Sabbath Day, all in 7 days. Seven denotes physical and spiritual completeness and perfection, and this is no coincidence that it took me 7 years to be ready in heart, mind and spirit for God’s greater calling.
From a marketing and account management background, my desire has shifted to photography and digital creatives. I asked myself if it’s a burning desire, and my heart echoed with a resounding “Yes” because my driver is passion over money, and I find myself reading a lot about these topics. I have attended a lot of photography workshops before and what stopped me was lack of funds to invest on gadgets. Head knowledge without practice is a waste, and I have to tear down the walls that hinder me from doing the desires God has planted in my heart. I am now upgrading my camera and lens to level up my photography output, and the next step is to perfect the craft through practice. Digital creative integration will define the success of any business venture nowadays, and I am immersing myself in this field to expand myself and be up-to-date with latest technological trends. As Clive Staples Lewis, a British novelist and poet said, “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”
God is ahead of you. If you don’t know yet which path you should take, don’t worry nor be anxious because God knows the desires of your heart, and what you need to make it happen. (Philippians 4:6) Delight in the Lord and he will direct your path. Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be.
SEEK GOD’S WILL
Surrender to God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. We can only hear God’s message for us when we know how to listen.
How do we discern what God is telling us?
Read the Bible.
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His purpose.” – Philippians 2:13
You can refer to specific topics you want to pray for to lead you to a Bible verse. You may download a Bible application that has this feature. For instance, if you are going through a life crisis or you feel lost in your career path, you may look into “Purpose”, “Grace” or “Faithfulness”. You may read the Bible verse or the whole chapter, it’s up to you. The Holy Spirit will guide you. “Serve the Lord with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind.” (1 Chronicles 28:9) Reflect on the Scripture, and how it applies to your life.
Do fasting to consecrate yourself to God’s purpose.
Jon Bloom wrote on his blog site, “Fasting tests where the heart is. And when it reveals that the heart is with God and not the world, a mighty blow is struck against Satan.” A hunger for God’s word with an open heart and listening ear allows us to hear Him more clearly.Listen to the voice of God than the voice of people or the voice of fear. The fear of man proves to be a snare and a trap.
Keep Delighting in the Lord
God’s perfect timing may be in days, months, years or season, but He is faithful to His promise. When we call out to the Lord, He will answer. We will know it’s Him silently working through us as He casts away our fear and worries, and replaces it with peace and bliss. The Lord will always guide you and satisfy your needs, as we receive wisdom from the Holy Spirit. He will strengthen you. (Isaiah 58:9-11)
FAIL YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS
God will give grace so you can lead where He wants you to lead. He will fully equip you with the skills, knowledge, opportunities and connections.
There is no fixed formula on this, you just have to do it.
Discover your AHA moment.
Think big from the start and learn from others. No dream starts small. Focus on what problem you are solving. Don’t let initial failures stop you from learning and innovating. Babe Ruth, the legendary baseball player said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”Ray Kroc bought McDonald’s at age 55. Colonel Sanders franchised KFC at age 62. Julia Child published her first Cook Book at age 50. Charles Darwin wrote the Theory of Evolution at age 50.Elon Musk, a business magnate who founded Paypal declares, “If things aren’t failing, you are not innovating enough.”
Accountability requires humility. You can’t do everything on your own and you don’t know everything. Build relationship with the Masters who can help you be your best to succeed.
I declare God as my Life Coach and Career Mentor. As I commit to the Lord whatever I do, He will establish my plans. (Proverbs 16:3)
♡ If you enjoyed this story, I’m sure you’ll love this too→ Desiring God’s Will with a Stubborn Heart