I’ve been studying the idea of assignments for a few weeks. I initially thought this was going to be my blog relaunch post. But after talking to about the 12th struggling mama, I figured I needed to talk about Mommy Guilt (you can read about it here). Then on Sunday, my pastor preached on purpose and it was almost word for word what I’ve been studying! You can listen to it here. Let’s dive in.
This fall I took a couple of girls on a trip out of town. As we were talking, I had a realization that God had moved my family to Northwest Arkansas on an “assignment.” That’s not a word that I use very often and over the course of the weekend, I used that word a bunch. I think it took getting away from where we live and work to realize there is so much purpose in what we’re doing.
We are all here for a reason. Wherever you are, whatever space you’re occupying, there’s a reason. Do you know what it is? That question can feel daunting. If you aren’t sure what your assignment is our very unkind friend, Shame, likes to rear its ugly head: “How pathetic. You don’t even know what you’re supposed to be focused on!” But at the other extreme, if you do know your assignment, you can easily get frustrated and bogged down by the big-ness of it all: “How on earth am I supposed to accomplish this while keeping my marriage, children and job all healthy at the same time!? That being said:
What is your assignment?
Assignments are a little bit different than a calling. I like to compare it to school. When we enter school, our goal is to graduate. But between our first day of kindergarten and getting our diploma, there are a lot of assignments that have to be completed. Assignments are also like books. They are made up of different chapters that are all telling the same story. Your assignment for this season of your life is a chapter in your story.
I am not sure what the big ‘ole forever calling is for my life. I’m pretty sure that’s a blessing and protection from Jesus ;). Jon-Michael and I are called to serve the Church. We have dreams and things we would like to see God do in the future, but we don’t know many of the details. I do know what my assignment is for this season: To walk closely with Holy Spirit, encourage the Body of Christ to trust God and create a culture of “home.” They sound a little broad but they are my assignments for this season, however long it may be.
What about you?
The purpose of this post is to encourage you to know WHO you are, WHAT you want and WHERE you’re going. I was really struggling to figure this out myself last year and my pastor told me, “You have one life. You get to determine what is a part of it.”
Here are some practical ways to figure out your assignment:
- This might be obvious, but pray and ask God.
So many Christians don’t know that God is speaking to them. Jesus said: “My sheep know My voice,” (John 10:27). We have to have our ears bent towards Heaven.
The first time I ever heard God speak to me was about my assignment. I was arguing with my mom about college plans. I went to my room angry because she wouldn’t listen to my perfectly laid out teenage plan. The Lord said, “Have you ever asked Me what I want you to do?” I genuinely didn’t know that I could, let alone that He would answer! And in that moment, He called me into ministry. But I had to ask.
2. What do you want?
Ps 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This muscle takes time to develop. Sometimes I have no stinking clue what I want! Other times I want ALL THE THINGS right now!
I recently transitioned out of an area of ministry that had been all I’ve known, and I wasn’t sure what my next assignment would be. JM asked me for months what I wanted and I would get frustrated because it felt impossible: I wanted to be a stay at home mom, but I also wanted a little break from my kids and to work some. I also wanted to help him pastor our campus and be available for mentoring and counseling. I didn’t see a way for all of it to come together, but Jesus made it happen. I had to know what I wanted in order to see the miracle of God providing for all three of those desires.
3. What are your gifts?
What are you good at? What is easy for you? What would you do for free and still find fulfilling? I could sit with people all day long and hear their hearts about where they are with Jesus- all day! It fills my tank and I leave charged up.
Years ago, I took my spiritual gifts test and my number one gift was hospitality. I was disappointed because that wasn’t a cool gift. Fast forward several years, and my assignment is to create an atmosphere of “home.” Of course, hospitality is my gift! Take these tests to get to know yourself better. Don’t answer the questions based off of what you think the answers should be. Answer truthfully.
4. What problems do you see?
This is a big one for me. You might be seeing a problem because it is your assignment to answer that need. I recently noticed that people in our church arrive late and try to sneak out early without talking to anyone. For someone who’s assignment is to create a culture of “home,” this wasn’t working for me. So I came up with a plan… Every week, we invite one family from the church over for dinner. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s a start.
I am more of an introverted person. So, if I see an area where something needs to improve, I often stay quiet, wait for someone else to get the idea or just pray for a solution. Please hear my heart: Prayer is powerful and miraculous. I have NO doubt that God answers prayer! I just think His answer is often to use us.
1 Corinthians 12:17-20 tells me that you are a vital part of what God is doing in the world. Truly. We need you to know who you are and what your assignment is so that we can all benefit from it. I heard someone say on a podcast this week that, “You see my weaknesses through your strengths.” There are many areas where I am weak. If my weakness is a place where you thrive, you might look at my weaknesses and think, “Well, if she would just do it this way…” But God put you in my life because that is where you are strong! He designed us to work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we each operated in our assignment and celebrated and supported those around us in theirs?
I have attached some homework in case you need a guide to help you navigate what your assignment is. Feel free to print it off and use it. Next week we will talk about how to set up priorities and intentionally focus on our assignments. Thanks for spending valuable time with me. I hope it was beneficial to you! Let’s choose to trust Him together!