I had a family member ask what I did for a living. When I explained all the many facets of what I do for a living, they asked the question again in a different way, “Do I work?” I guess my answer did not meet the traditional views of “working.” As I've spent the last eight years navigating the balance between the distinct parts of who I am; the full-time student pursuing a Master’s Degree of Divinity, a full time Pastor/Mentor/Encourager of a unique virtual based ministry and entrepreneur working to grow a business from the ground up, I’ve experienced this response quite often. And I have learned a few things that might be of encouragement to those living on purpose.
I have learned in the last eight years just how true this statement is, some people will not understand the unique calling on your life, and it is not for everyone to understand. Those people will question you and try to talk you out of pursuing and living in your unique calling. I have also learned they many will not support you. A few will ignore you and will make a concerted effort to not recognize any progress you make. Others will outright criticize you. In times like this you have to pray for grace and discernment to not go in on them and discernment to know who is motivated by ignorant love and who is motivated by malice. There will be times where you have to look the other way. Life is full of well-intentioned people who think they understand you. It's also full of people, like the people who criticize or don’t support the way I have been called to reach people across the world, it isn't really ministry or “church” since church happens in the confines of church building. As you work harder at fulfilling your God-given calling there will be plenty of awkward relationship moments. It may be difficult to cope. You might feel hated, isolated, alone or misunderstood. You might feel confused, frustrated or angry. Your confidence might even take a hit. I encourage you to learn not to major in the minor and keep this in mind, many stood in the crowd mocking our Christ as He hung on the cross. So you are in good company!
They never tried to understand Him or what He came to do. Instead, they labeled Him a lunatic and sentenced Him to death. These are the people of which Christ said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). It's possible to forgive those who never tried to understand. We must love the well-intentioned but misinformed the way Christ loved those who outright hurt Him. Sometimes it's possible to have close relationships with people who don't fully get who you are but then there are times that you have to press forward to your mark alone. And as you push forward toward the mark and assignment the only person that needs to understand you and be pleased with you is the ONE who created you for the assignment. So as your pressing forward ask Him to give you a Heart like His. A heart that can honestly say “Forgive them, they have no idea what they're doing.” And then continue to press forward thru the mocking, just as Christ did, to fulfill Your calling.
That’s the good news is that the Father ALWAYS puts people in your life to support you, but you don't get to choose where that support comes from. Sometimes you have to go outside the ones you most love in order to find the love you need right now. You have to go outside your normal networks to find your soul tribe and your like-minded folks who will understand you in ways your family and friends can't. It doesn't make them wrong. It doesn't make you right. It just means they don't understand that you are different.
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