Excerpted FromThe Leader in YouBy Ebony S. Small Have you ever wrestle with the following questions? What have I been put on earth to do?What am I passionate about?What is my circle of influence? I certainly have. One of the allures of social media is that these outlets appeal to our intrinsic desire to understand […]
The Leader in You
By Ebony S. Small
Have you ever wrestle with the following questions?
What have I been put on earth to do?
What am I passionate about?
What is my circle of influence?
I certainly have. One of the allures of social media is that these outlets appeal to our intrinsic desire to understand and actualize our purpose in life. Many of us want to be lauded as significant. People create social media accounts like Instagram in the hope of gaining more and more followers—which is deemed by some as having significance.
Tom Peters wrote an article in August of 1997 titled The Brand Called You. Tom was one of the early voices who encouraged individuals to become their own brand. He wrote:
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
The idea that our skills and gifts make us unique, marketable and potentially profitable as an entrepreneur has revolutionized our culture. Social media has become the platform through which entrepreneurs promote their brand.
Yet a platform that transforms through effective leadership does so not through aesthetics like photoshopped images but through identity, character, authenticity, credibility and influence. Platforms that are purposeful and powerful for kingdom impact are forged through revelation from God, introspection, adversity, healing and restoration. Substance, not superficiality, is the goal.
So, how do we get there? The first step is to surrender to God, having discerned his will for our lives, and then following his process as he enables us to walk in the unique purpose he has called us to. Calling is directly tied to platform. Our platform is the vehicle by which others can witness how we steward the gifts God has given us as we serve him.
For many years I wrestled with understanding my purpose. Through Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life, I first embarked on the process of unpacking what I felt passionate about in life. These discoveries lead me to postgraduate study, followed by my introduction to serving in ministry. But throughout this process, which culminated in 2017, I wrestled with God in prayer concerning my life’s purpose. The concept of a platform was foreign to me. I never asked God for a platform. My desire was never to influence people. Instead, my desire was to please God. My platform emerged from a humble heart.
In our journey of faith, we might wrestle with the Lord for understanding. When our desire is to yield solely and wholly to God, we come to an understanding that missing his direction can take our life down paths and detours that rob us of precious time in fulfilling our purpose.
This reality births within us an intentional desire to be prayerful about seeking the plans of God. Wrestling with God means that we refuse to rely on our own understanding and instead accept that God will direct our path (Prov. 3:5–6).
A man in the Bible literally wrestled with God and discovered his purpose.
MATTERS OF THE HEART
Before the death of his father Isaac, Jacob stole the patriarchal blessing, which was to be given to his brother Esau, by deceiving his father (Gen. 27:1–29). As a result, he had to run away from his homeland. But God passed on to Jacob the covenant he had previously made with Abraham (Gen. 28:1–4).
In Genesis 32, Jacob obeyed God’s command to return to his own land and family but wanted protection from his brother Esau; Jacob thought Esau still hated him for stealing Esau’s blessing. In this defining moment of hardship, Jacob reminded God of all that God had promised. If I were to paraphrase Jacob’s thoughts at this point, they would go something like this: I am in this place because I’ve obeyed you, so now I need you to deliver me from an enemy who wants to hinder your will from being accomplished in me (Gen. 32:9‑12). This was bold.
God responded by wrestling with Jacob. They wrestled all night until the break of dawn. But Jacob said he would not let go until he received God’s blessing. What faith!
Jacob’s new identity (Gen. 32:27–28) and the subsequent platform for his leadership was birthed because he first obeyed God and then wrestled with God for the fulfillment of the Lord’s will in his life.
This physical wrestling is symbolic of the spiritual wrestling match that sometimes takes place in the pursuit of God’s purpose. During these wrestling matches Satan (or our own response to fear) causes a constant replay in our minds concerning our current condition. The goal is to cause us to doubt God and stop following his commands despite the fact that God is fulfilling his purposes in us.
With that in mind, we need to contend for our platform. We must make up our minds now that we will wrestle for its fulfillment.
Taken from The Leader in You by Ebony S. Small. Copyright © 2020 by Ebony Small. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. IVPress.com