Popping the Anxiety of Purpose

Allow this article to remove some pressure and anxiety from your life. Tall order? Perhaps. Consider this to be the pin which pops the balloon. But before we get too far perhaps I should identify the balloon.

For practically everyone that chooses to follow Jesus, there is an aspect of performance anxiety. We strive to fit in with our faith community in the ways we dress, the ways we talk, and the attitudes and perhaps even the doctrines we adopt. Even if your church has a “come as you are” attitude this anxiety remains. But that is only a visible piece of a much larger iceberg.

We also have aspects of performance anxiety when it comes to following Jesus. Am I doing the right things? Am I fulfilling His purpose? Am I on the right path? Am I spiritual enough or religious enough to please Him? Am I praying the right way? Am I saying the right things? What am I doing wrong? Did I miss a turn somewhere or go left when He wanted me to go right? What’s my purpose? What does God want me to do?

Those questions tell us something about ourselves if we’ll listen. We’re so caught up in striving to do the right things that we’re missing the joy of knowing Jesus. Ready for the pin?

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, NASB95)  Now at first blush, this may seem to pile on stress and anxiety. Let’s take a second look.

We are His workmanship. Jesus is molding, shaping, chipping away, and transforming us. He’s doing the work whether we realize it or not. He’s the craftsman, I’m His creation. Our part is to let Him do it. To yield to His work in us.  

Every piece born of the craftsman’s labor has a purpose. Some are created to shine, some are created to plow, some are created to harvest. There are many good works and many ways for those to be met.

Jesus is crafting us to be the person He desires right now. Some may be crafted to preach, teach, and lead. Others to care, to tell of God’s goodness, to encourage, to pray, to worship, to serve in a thousand different ways. And none of these is more important than the other. Each piece from the craftsman’s touch has value.

More than that. God is shaping us today for the needs we will encounter tomorrow. The good works we do today may not be what is required tomorrow, or next year. God is already preparing us for tomorrow, perhaps for something we can’t even imagine today.

Our job is to be what God created us to be right now. To walk in who we are in this moment of time in Christ. Our value doesn’t come from what we do but from who we are. Or more specifically and correctly our value comes from whose we are.

Does God have a purpose for you?  Of course He does. Our job is not to figure out what that purpose is but to walk out what we’ve been crafted to do today. Let me put it this way, if God needs you somewhere He’ll make certain to get you there. That should pop a balloon of anxiety and stress we often have about following Jesus.

Why is this important to grasp?  If Jesus is the one shaping, if the good works are something He’s prepared all along, and our role is simply to walk in them then Jesus gets the glory, honor, and praise. Everything is in His hands, the preparation, the works, and the results. Our obedience is in simply walking out what He has formed in us because we love Him.

Jesus crafted you yesterday for today’s good works and He’s shaping you today for whatever tomorrow holds. All we need to do today is to walk in them with all the glory going to the one who made us.  

Dale Heinold
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