Destiny

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Destiny. It’s a funny thing – something we always seem to be trying to grasp; yet at times, feels as elusive as the wind.

Deep within our hearts, we all have the same burning question, “Why am I here? What’s my purpose? Does my life even matter? Do I matter? Am I enough?”

During my time on Vancouver Island, while working as a videographer, I wrote a song and filmed a music video called “Destiny”. I snuck away one weekend after a long, six day work week and found my way to the old piano sitting in the corner.

My fingers felt as heavy as my heart, emotions swirling around like a tsunami of uncertainty. I hummed softly, tapping out the melody in my head on the ivory keys.

I was living in a season of the “unknown.” I had my next four months mapped out in front of me without a clue as to what was going to unfold in the future beyond my time on the Island.

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You might be in the same spot I was – a college aged girl who was roaming the world trying to find a place to settle and thrive. It can be frustrating to feel like you’re on an unending journey, behind in life, stumbling through the dark – hoping that you’re heading in the right direction.

Destiny is the ingredient that makes life worth living. It’s the ultimate plan God has for our lives – the purpose for our existence. People with a sense of purpose and destiny walk through life with greater hope, courage & resiliency.

Sometimes we equate ‘reaching destiny’ as ‘reaching material success.’ As if having a fancy car and important job title will finally make us feel fulfilled and significant.

There’s a reason our soul begins to feel unsettled and unfulfilled when we spend days binge watching Netflix (pftt I never do that…) , eating take out and going shopping.

Each one of us have been placed here on earth for a purpose by God. He created us with our destinies in mind.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

We were each given unique gifts and talents that are directly tied to our destiny. The dreams God has planted inside of us are meant to glorify Him and to serve others.

We cannot attempt to strive and claw our way to fulfilling our destiny on our own. We will fall flat on our face.

Reaching destiny is not just a matter of talent, strength or intelligence. It’s a matter of Divine Design.

Only God fully knows what we were made for, because He’s the One who created us! He planted dreams and gifts in us for the purpose of blessing others and filling our life with joy.

Maybe your heart swells when making music or furiously typing out a new blog post (AKA me haha) Or you might be more of a left brained person and delight in building new structures & solving equations.

Our passions, talents & skills can all be hints towards our destiny but the purpose is always to glorify God and bring others closer to Him.

You might be thinking… “Yeah! This destiny thing sounds awesome. I want my life to be meaningful and passionate, doing things I love, helping other people, serving God – sign me up!” I wish it was that simple.

The truth is that we only reach our destiny when we learn to serve the purpose of every season in our lives.

God often gives us the dream before He reveals the blueprint. If we saw all the twists and turns it would take for us to reach our destiny we would most likely back away and say “Thanks but no thanks. That looks way too hard.”

Illustration by Sefira Ross

One of the most meaningful stories in the bible for me is Joseph.

I received Joseph as my Torah Portion for my Bat Mitzvah and it was the very first message I every shared.

As I studied the life of Joseph I saw how remarkable his journey truly was.

“Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.” (Genesis 37:5)

Joseph was the favourite out of the family. Joseph was also a dreamer. God gave him a dream that one day everyone would bow down to him. Excited about his dream he eagerly told his brothers but was only met with resentment and hatred.

  1. Not everyone will be your cheerleader

You may have a God-given dream that you’re excited about but not everyone is going to celebrate you. Others may be jealous, they may try to put you down and plant doubt in your heart. Just because you have a dream doesn’t mean you need to share it with everyone.

“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” (Genesis 37:19-20)

The enemy doesn’t want us to fulfil our destiny. In fact that is the last thing he wants for us. He will do everything in his power to hinder, destroy & hold us back from pursuing our purpose. When we have a God-given destiny in our hearts the enemy puts a target on our back.

The enemy will try and use the painful circumstances in our lives to get us to give up.

He will use betrayal from our closest friends, injustice, isolation & suffering to wear us down and attempt to defeat us.

The good news is that God uses the exact same things to shape us, refine us, strengthen us and prepare us for what He has in store… if we’ll let Him.

The fiercest battle ever to take place goes on every single day in our minds.

God wants us to have a mindset of faith & hope, believing that no matter what we face God can work it out for good.

The enemy wants us to have the mindset of fear & bitterness. He plants thoughts in our minds like “Why would God let this happen? How dare those people treat me like that? I guess I was wrong to think God gave me a dream… it’s never going to happen!”

When we think (even worse speak) those seeds of defeat, believing the worst is going to happen, we limit God’s divine plan from unfolding.

“So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.” (Genesis 37:23-24)

Joseph adorned a beautiful coat of many colours representing how much his father Jacob loved and cherished him. When his brothers stripped his robe off of him and threw him into a pit they were doing more than just harming him physically, they were trying to wound his heart.

Doesn’t the enemy so often try and do the same thing to us? He doesn’t attack our lives to only cause us physical pain & suffering. He wants to damage our hearts and minds, trying to strip us of our identity as children of God. He wants to peel off our stance as beloved, cherished sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father who adores us.

The enemy wants to skew our thinking into believing that God doesn’t really love us, we aren’t so special after all. He knows if he can take away that one thing we cling to, that God is for us, He loves us and He’s chosen us, he can rob us of our destiny.

However, when Joseph was in the pit he didn’t begin to doubt God, turn his back on him and stop believing that He loves him. Just like Joseph we need to know deep down in our hearts that God loves us and nothing could ever change that from being true.

No matter what the enemy throws at us, no matter how much of a mess our live may seem, nothing can keep us from our destiny if we hold fast to our faith in Him.

“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.” (Genesis 39:1)

Joseph was sold into slavery. He had a dream that one day everyone would bow down to him… yet here he was, a slave in Egypt. The lowest of the low.

2. Sometimes we have to learn to serve before we learn to lead.

If Joseph had decided to clean Pharaohs house, run his errands and do whatever else a slave did… with a bad attitude, complaining, dragging his feet, tired, disappointed, frustrated… I wouldn’t hold it against him.

Who would be happy being a slave? Who would do his best even though he wasn’t where he wanted to be? Joseph did.

Joseph decided that if he was going to be a slave, he was going to be the best slave there was. He knew that everything he did was unto God. He wasn’t just serving Pharaoh, he was serving the God of Israel.

“The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his attendant.” (Genesis 39:2-4)

Oftentimes, we can be asking God for promotion, opportunity and success; but are we doing our part? Are we being faithful with the little, humble, small tasks He’s asking us to do? Are we actively seeking how we can serve those around us?

God recently challenged me on a certain issue. I love photography & film-making. As a result I had tons of hard drives chock full of files that were in complete chaos. I couldn’t find anything and it seemed like such a monumental task to organise it all that I kept putting it off. Finally God spoke to me and said “You have to prove yourself faithful in the little things first.”

I couldn’t expect my blog to grow, new customers & clients to come rolling in or opportunity to come knocking if I was neglecting to do what God was calling me to do – get organized. Not very glamorous or thrilling but it was necessary.

Joseph didn’t realise it at the time but by serving with excellence he was actually getting prepared and equipped for his own destiny. God knew that Joseph would become second in command of all Egypt, not only was God teaching him the ins and outs of the palace through his slavery but He was also refining his character & testing his heart.

“Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” (Genesis 39:6-7)

If the enemy can’t destroy or discourage us he will try and tempt us.

Even Yeshua faced temptation from the devil in the wilderness while fasting.

3. We cannot allow temptation to entrap us while we’re in the process of waiting for our destiny to unfold. Temptations will come and make false promises of love, comfort, significance & satisfaction. We have to be careful we don’t make a mistake in a moment of weakness that we will regret for a life-time.

“Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15)

After Joseph did the right thing and refused Potifer’s wife, he was treated unfairly and thrown into prison… for a crime he didn’t even commit!

Even when Joseph was at his lowest place, God used what was meant for evil, for his good.

In fact, it was in the least likely place – a prison, that Joseph was able to use his gifts of interpreting dreams. (Read full story here Genesis 39 )

I’m sure that when Joseph was in the prison he felt forgotten, betrayed, alone, and frustrated. Have you ever felt that way when you’ve been let down? I know that I have.

God had given Joseph the dream of one day ruling over his brothers; and yet here he was – a convicted slave in prison – falsely accused of one of the worst crimes imaginable.

Joseph could have let his heart grow bitter, forsake God, stop doing his best, stop believing for change… but he didn’t. God was working on his heart during those cold, lonely, dark days in the dungeon. Filling it with forgiveness, mercy and love.

Joseph ended up interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, getting released from prison, becoming second in command, saving all of Egypt and his family from famine.

For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:52)

Just like God worked in Joseph’s life, He is working in our lives. He takes what the enemy meant for evil and turns it for good. Don’t let the God-given dream in your heart get snuffed out.

What God has promised will come to pass. The road to your destiny may be difficult. Like Joseph, we may face injustice, affliction, isolation, betrayal and even humiliation. God will use those painful experiences to refine and shape us; and to prepare us for the purpose He has for us.

We may be at our lowest point, wondering if things will stay this way forever. We can’t lose heart and give up on our dreams in the waiting. He can lift us out of where we are and bring us into our destiny. We must choose to forgive, have faith, and show kindness to those who have wronged us.

If you remain faithful to God, He will cause you to be fruitful in your affliction Those pressing, crushing times in your life will only serve as an olive press, squeezing, pure valuable oil out of you.

God is getting you fit for the service He’s called you to. Never underestimate how He might use your gifts in the least likely places. Once you have proved yourself faithful in the pit & in the prison God will bring you to your rightful place in the palace.

There’s this heart wrenching scene in the movie, Moana, where the girl who was chosen by the Ocean to save her people gives up. She pours out her overwhelmed emotions and begs the ocean to “choose someone else.”

The concept of “following your destiny” sounds easy, breezy and beautiful (yes that was a covergirl quote) but it’s not the flawless, effortless journey that it can often sound like. It comes with struggle.

It can often feel like we’re wandering, directionless, completely dependent on the Holy Spirit for guidance. At times it asks for total surrender and causes us to uproot from where we’ve settled and begin again to where God is leading. Often it requires us to journey alone and take the road less travelled, which makes us feel like we have to bear our burdens on our own shoulders without the support of others at our beck and call.

We can be tempted in the midst of the process of reaching destiny to break down and beg God “please, choose someone else.” That’s what Moses did when God called him to save his people. He allowed fear, insecurity and his own flaws to beat him down into “not feeling good enough” for the job.

But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13)

Even when we know we’re called to something specific we look at our own abilities and question God. We look at the battles ahead of us and get worn down with exhaustion from fighting our current struggles and think “There is no way I can keep going, choose someone else.”

When God first appeared to Moses his immediate response was to hide out of fear. “At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.” (Exodus 3:6)

When God calls us into our destiny our first response is not always joy and perfect peace; but is often fear, shame, uncertainty and a desperate plea for Him to “pick someone else.”

If we can overcome our insecurity and not look to our own strength; but trust that God is with us and is able to be everything we need to reach our destination, then we can find the courage and confidence that we will need to reach the Promised Land.

The second thing that God asked Moses is “What is that in your hand?” to which he answered “a staff.”

God will ask us to use whatever we have. We may not have everything we want. We may envy the talents of others or covet the perfect house, family, marriage, career, or connections of others; but when God calls us, He is able to use whatever we’re starting out with.

God can take our ‘ordinary’ and turn it into something powerful. He can take our small idea, our little talent, our natural knack for something; and create miracles – when we surrender it all to Him and walk in obedience.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

I know first hand how tiring it can be to walk through the wilderness of life. How crippling fear can overtake us and doubt can engulf our faith and dampen our joy. This is why God commands us to be strong and courageous.

Courage is “great strength in the face of pain or grief.”

We can take heart because we know that we are not alone. Even when we feel stuck or tempted to settle where we are we can let God’s power by his Spirit propels us into our destiny.

There’s so much I could say about destiny and the journey to God’s promises. I think the ultimate take-away I have from this is simply – trust in God. Trust in His power, His wisdom, His timing, and His way. Trust that He knows what’s best for us and have the courage not to settle for anything less.

To find our destiny, we need to let go of fear and embrace courage; knowing that we are never alone because the Lord our God is with us wherever we go and He will ultimately lead us to where we belong.

This article originally appeared on Liat Nesher’s blog, July 9, 2020, and reposted with permission.