Last night I attended Relentless Hearts Night. Relentless Hearts is the women’s ministry at Relentless Church, headed up by Pastor Aventer Gray. The panel included Young Adult Pastor Amie McDonald, Worship Pastor Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, and Youth Pastor Mariah Rideau.
The topic of the night was purpose.
“Some of us are walking around with a counterfeit purpose.” Pastor Aventer Gray
Pastor Av started the night by snatching edges. I didn’t attend with the intention of sharing so forgive me for not having every detail of the evening. But, I did jot down some gems that’ll bless your life.
In order to know His thoughts, you must have a relationship with Him. Everyday you must align yourself with His will. -Pastor Tasha Cobbs Leonard
Jeremiah 29:11 was a popular verse last night. The New King James Version reads For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. The NIV substitutes thoughts for plans. And, the MSG (my favorite) says I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. The John Gray version would say “Saddown somewhere! I got this!” with some duck lips and a hand on his hip. He’s such a clown.
Let’s dive into these thoughts and plans, though.
My husband’s engineering firm has a co-op program for college students. Every morning, the co-op reports to my husband for her daily assignment. His company is responsible for providing practical application which enhances what she is learning in the classroom. She knows this will give her a leg up once she begins her engineering career, but she has no clue what to do or even how to do some of the tasks. All she knows is that she’s supposed to be there. She relies on my husband and his co-workers to guide her. Every morning, she clocks in and the first thing she does is check-in with my husband for her assignment.
When you wake up, do you ask God for your daily assignment?
No, because your day is already planned. Get the kids to school. Go to work. Cook dinner. Go over homework. What if He wanted to show you a scripture you’d need while speaking with a co-worker? What if He wanted you to call a cousin you haven’t spoken to in a while? What if He wanted you to take the highway that day instead of the back roads? Forego tidying up for a 1-on-1 conversation with your oldest child?
The only way to know the thoughts of God is to ask and listen.
If you don’t hear anything the first time, continue doing what He has commanded you to do. Pray without ceasing. Sharing the Gospel. Reconcile with your brother/sister. But, don’t stop asking. The more you communicate, the more familiar His voice will become.
The more you reveal yourself to God, the more He’ll reveal your future self to you. – Pastor Mariah Rideau
Pastor Mariah’s “Australian story” is one she should tell over and over again. It’s so good. When she talked about faking it…. whew chile! In 2012, I was desperately searching for a lucrative career. In reality, I was a broke pharmacy technician, with a 2 year old daughter, in a 2 week old marriage, with no plan. Feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place, I declared to my husband, “I’m going to be a pharmacist.” My husband just sighed and said, “You better be sure,”. “I am!” I said in a voice so high I had to clear my throat afterwards. I wasn’t convincing, but I hoped he had fallen for it anyway. I bounced into the bedroom (in an effort to appear like I was happy and secure with my decision), shut the door, got down on my knees and with a tremble in my voice I said, “God, I don’t want to be a pharmacist.” Feeling afraid and like a failure, I fell asleep.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” – Bob Goff
I didn’t want to be a pharmacist, but I also didn’t want to be broke. And, I certainly didn’t want to be responsible for my family having a less-than life. Over the next couple of months, I started having some very honest conversations with God. I remember passionately shouting on my drive home, “If it’s not from you, I don’t want it.” I didn’t waver on that. I didn’t want success any other way. I also reminded Him that I was 28 years old and He needed to speed it up a little bit. After pacing back and forth across my bedroom floor, still wearing my pharmacy scrubs, telling God how I really felt, I opened an email from Holly Gerth. She was talking about a God-sized dream. A God-sized dream is a dream too crazy for you to speak out loud. It’s impossible for you to carry out without the help of God. I became angry. I needed to present a plan to my husband that made sense. I didn’t have time to entertain an idea that sounded crazy and impossible. A God-sized dream was going to give my husband 10 more gray hairs and possibly cause him to reconsider the vows we had spoken just months before.
Despite my reservation, I laid back on the bed and allowed my mind to imagine a life without limits. If I could do anything for God’s glory, what would that be? I closed my eyes, pushed back the doubt, and waited. To my surprise, the vision I saw was a desire I had had years before that felt too big, too complicated & too unrealistic to even consider. I sat up in with the most confused look on my face. Really, God? I jumped out of bed thinking, “No. Uh uh. Nope.” But, in my heart, I knew I had asked and God had answered. When my husband and daughter walked in that evening, I was standing beside the stove with raw fish still in a dish. I was so shook, I couldn’t even prepare dinner. He cooked while I told him what had happened. That night I Googled “How to become a life coach”.
There is no purpose outside of Jesus Christ. Some of us are exhausted because we’re chasing a self-driven purpose instead of a God-given purpose. – Pastor Amie McDonald
I have always known I wanted to make an impact doing what God had created me to do. So, how did I become so clear? All I know is, this time around I had done two things differently:
- 2012 was the first time I had asked God to reveal His plan to me instead of telling him what my plan was and begging Him to bless it.
- Marriage created a strong desire to do His will and be in His will. I prayed more. I read my Bible more. I worshipped more. In fact, it was during that time I started watching Pastor Ron Carpenter online. I listened weekly and took notes ferociously. I knew that I had a history of messing things up and I knew that the only way I could have the life I wanted was if I walked with God. I had a strong fear of being a wife and mother who tore down her home with her own hands. Consequently, my prayer life and my worship became a top priority. And, I just did whatever I knew to do…forgiving and reconciling with my mom and dad, praying for my enemies, tithing, emailing a daily devotional to anybody that would read, fasting, etc.
When God speaks, He isn’t like “Ooops. I wish I could take that back.” He spoke you into existence on purpose. – Pastor Mariah Rideau
No matter how you came to be, God formed you in your mother’s womb. Period. Every hair on your head, every finger, every toe. You were created with an assignment. And, you won’t become alive-alive until you discover it and start to walk in it. No matter what it looks like right now, your life is on purpose, Sis.
How much spiritual maturity do you have when your comfort zone is tested by the Lord? After God says it, there is no more discussion. -Pastor Aventer Gray
The comfort zone is real warm and cozy. And, even when it’s cold and frustrating, at least you know what to expect. At least it’s not scary and unknown. But, hear this:
When God sends you into a foggy place, you gotta know that you heard the voice of the Lord. – Pastor Tasha Cobbs Leonard
All of the pastors shared stories of frustration, doubt, and having no idea what God was doing. But, when they emerged from the fog, they saw how God had ordered their steps in a way only He could.
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (1 Cor. 13:12, MSG)
When you’re looking for your purpose, you’re seeking God’s intention for creating your life. Your path will not be straight and sunny. At times you will only be able to see the step directly in front of you, but He will guide you with His voice. And, He will leave breadcrumbs along your path like, figuring out the thing that excites and frustrates you, the thing that makes you cry, the thing you could do all day, the thing you’d do for free. He will put people on your path to encourage you. When someone passes you with a stick in hand, take note. Find yourself a stick, also. And, when you see a path with a little too much light that looks easier, but the destination isn’t yours, keep going the other way. Satan loves to distract us with an easier path that leads to a lesser reward.
As you pursue God’s call on your life, let have 1 more edge snatching.
Your ego won’t just keep you from failing. It’ll also keep you from succeeding. Don’t come at me talking about “I don’t know where to start.” You DO know where to start. You just don’t want to look dumb. Get over it. – Bria Hash of 4ourty.com
The late Dr. Myles Munroe often said,”The graveyard is full of songs that were never sung, books that were never written, inventions that were never creates, poems that were never spoken.”
We’re all wimps. We want a 100% money back guarantee that this thing is going to work out. Remember Moses? He was like, “Um, you want me to do what? You know I stutter, right? You sure you don’t want someone else to do this?” He knew you’d get into that mess. He knew you’d have that issue. He knew you’d feel inadequate. And, He called you anyway. God loves to dumbfound the enemy. He could have sent an eloquent speaker to free the people of Israel, but he chose an Israelite orphan whose life the Egyptians spared, a stuttering fugitive to bring His people out of slavery. And, we think our problems are insurmountable! Ha!
If you’re in the Greenville, SC area and you’d like to attend Relentless Hearts Night, text Hearts to 864-409-7633.
If you haven’t identified what you desire, I invite you to download My Abundant Life Journal.
If you feel like you have a grip on what God has called you to do, but you feel stuck, sign up for a 60 minute Power Hour Call with me while the price is still a crazy low $30.
And, of course, if you enjoyed reading, leave a comment below and share Woman, Live! with all your girlfriends!
But, for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.