#1: First Know Who You Are
As counter intuitive as this is, we cannot solve any problem if we don’t KNOW WHO WE ARE! Why? Because if you don’t know who you are, you will never know why you want what you want. If you don’t know who you are, and what you’re God given purpose is, you may end up being conformed to your environment. And this seldom leads to a happy and fulfilled life.
For example, if you don’t know who you are, being able to buy that big house you want is not going to make you feel any better about yourself. You may feel better for a while, but that nagging sense of inadequacy will keep coming any back anyway. At least until you have the luxury car, the luxury jewelry, the trophy wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend, or fill in the blank.
If you don’t know who you are, that Bachelors, Masters, or Phd will work for a while, but eventually those doubts will begin creeping back in. And you will begin to wonder whether you really deserved all that.
If you don’t know who you are, that dream job may work for a while. But get laid off, or miss a raise, or have someone else get the dream promotion, and you will be back where you started from.
If you don’t know who you are, that great ministry that you planned to start may give you temporary satisfaction, but if its not what God intended for you, it will bring frustration instead of lasting satisfaction.
On the other hand, if you know who you are, you may find new strength to fight that illness that is threatening your life and well being. If you know who you are, you may find the strength to recover from that relationship that ended, or that close family member that you lost.
If you know who you are, you may find the strength to overcome that sin that you can’t seem to conquer, or that debt that you can never seem to pay.
No. Everything starts with knowing your God given purpose in life, and gaining a sense of fulfillment from that. If you don’t have that. You don’t have anything.
The good news is that God has endowed each one of us with gifts and talents. Talents that he intends for us to use for His purposes.
The Root of Our Problems
The bad news is that most of us put more faith into what others say about us, what we should be doing, and what our purpose is, as opposed that internal sense of who we are and what we should be doing. For example, in today’s world, people with amazing artistic or musical talent are often told that they should go into “something else”, because that is what the economy will support. So, they bury their God given gifts and talents, and they spend their lives doing something totally unfit for their gifts. Tragically, some of these people run up tens of thousands of debts pursuing degrees and careers that they are totally unsuited for.
To solve our problems, we have to see where we got off track, and seek to get back on track. Admittedly, this can be a painful process. Changing a major after two years in college because we realize that our mother’s dream for us to be a doctor is not what God has gifted us to do, can lead to some painful confrontations.
The Loss of Community
Our communities have many needs, which is why God endows people with different gifts. Unfortunately, most of us are taught almost from birth that we should only take into account our personal needs, and not the needs of community, or even our future family. To make Godly decisions, we must be prepared to put our personal needs in the proper context. We must weigh our personal needs against the needs of the entire community. Our communities need teachers and nurses as much as they need doctors and lawyers. It needs artists and musicians as much as it needs engineers and IT Specialists. That is why God pours out an abundance of diverse talents and gifts.
We need to see our future families as God sees them. A current reality as opposed to a future possibility. Many of us spend years and years seeking college degrees or vocational training, then years and years perfecting our career or vocational skills, but very little time preparing to be a good husband and father, or a good wife and mother. We need to be preparing for both will equal vigor and enthusiasm.
#2: Live Life On Purpose
It is well known that 70% of children born in the black community are born out of wedlock. While a lot of emphasis is placed upon irresponsible fathers, there is plenty of blame to go around. Until the community is able to see this as a shared challenge, real solutions are impossible.
The root cause here is that young women as well as young men must associate sex with marriage and childbirth. This link, which God put in place, has been lost on a whole generation of young people. Sex is now seen strictly as a source of pleasure, and almost any means by which that pleasure is obtained is acceptable, as long as the parties involved are consenting. However, God does not see sex that way.
However, the main thing this statistic tells us is that most births in the black community are unplanned. We are not planning to have children, but we are having them anyway. This can negatively impact the image of any child. Realizing that 70% of our future adults were born into a world that did not plan for them to be here in the first place! What would you rather tell your children? That you as a parent planned for them, and welcomed them into this world gladly? Or that they were an accident that happened because you failed to use contraceptives that night?
The Purpose of Money
Money, like fire is neither good nor bad. It depends upon the use it is put to. God intends for money to be used to build strong families and communities. To be shared when necessary to ensure the health and well being of those communities. It is not part of God’s plan for some to have great wealth and hoard it to themselves, while others lack basic necessities. While God values work, and sometimes demands it, he does not value a CEO of a corporation several hundred times more than one of his workers.
#3: Avoid Common Traps
Once we understand our God given purpose, it makes it easier to avoid the common traps that cause us to fall into grief in the first place.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10.
The Bible tells us that the love of money can be a trap that we fall into, and can be difficult to escape from. Its cousin is status, which can lead us to buy cars that we cannot afford, houses that we do not need and cannot keep up, or to seek prestigious degrees that can leave us in debt for life. This is a major trap, and one we should avoid at all costs.