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Ditch the Labels: Don't let the world's expectations suppress God's assignment

When we were young, many of us dreamed that one day we would change the world. Some of us thought we’d be heroes—saving those around us from impending danger. Others believed they’d be fearless leaders—fighting for those who couldn’t fight for themselves. We weren’t afraid to dream big and believe in ourselves without hesitation. That is until we grew up.

This desire to make a difference did not mean we were selfish, despite what many have said about our generation. It was a God-placed dream meant to awaken passion and resilience from deep within. With our child-like faith, we believed it was possible. But over time, those dreams faded away and the possibilities with them. Why? Because the labels of the world became louder than our dreams.

See, those desires have not been lost—they have been suppressed. Suppressed by the negative voices of the culture, critics, and cons. The voices that told us, “You’ll never do that,” or, “You’re not as ___ as you think you are.” In our weakest moments and darkest days, we sold our dreams for a bleak reality.

I’ve seen this in my own life as I struggled between what the world was calling me and who God called me to be. It took me years to learn how to decipher between the two because I was letting in the wrong voices. You need to know that God’s call upon your life will never go away. If you are 10, 30, or even 70, He wants to re-awaken those dreams inside you, but you will have to be able to decipher between God’s calling and worldly labels.

Labels will always try to hinder you by who you use to be or who you are now. But God’s calling will always speak to your potential as the man or woman He has created you to be. It speaks to the eternity He has placed upon your life. Labels are only able to see what is happening in the natural, while the call of God sees past the here and now and speaks to the supernatural that is at work in your life. Living according to calling allows us to continually grow and improve. This generation has been limited and labeled for so long that leaders no longer realize they’re leaders. They’ve been stuck in their past or present and only working out of the natural.

In the midst of the craziness that was 2020, my mom said something profound that has stuck with me ever since. When people were paralyzed by fear and consumed by anxiety, she said, “We shouldn’t be asking, ‘God, why is this happening?’ but rather, ‘God, what are you doing through this?’” God’s thoughts and ways are higher than our own. If we constantly question why we haven’t gotten that promotion yet, why we’ve had to come up against certain trials, or why others are getting blessed while we’re still waiting, we will only be operating as the world—limited to what we see or have seen. In order to be leaders that change the world, we need to think and act differently than the world does.

I believe we can change the world once we fully step into our calling. Doing so will require us to lean on God and not our own strength. It will mean we have to reprogram our thought processes. But though it will require some of us, it will grant all the more.

This calling to change the world stretches beyond our own lives and carries into other lives as well. As leaders, our calling is to help those around us develop into who they were meant to be. As we learn to see ourselves the way God created us, we will begin to be able to see His creation as He intended and not as they have been.

It takes a lot to see past a person’s hurts, brokenness, and flaws and into their potential, but this is what Jesus modeled to us time and time again throughout scripture. He saw where people were then—caught in sin, shame, and hopelessness—and still believed they were destined for more. His response wasn’t, “Why have you lived this way?” but rather, “Go and sin no more.” In other words, go and live out the life I have called you to live.

He took a dirty tax collector named Matthew from taxing his own people for self-promotion to become a devoted apostle and author of the gospel. He took a murderer named Paul from persecuting Christians to become one of the greatest preachers and a martyr for Christ. If you think about it, God specialized in using the limited and labeled to change the world. He was a leader that always believed in his followers more than they did and believed they were capable of great things. As leaders in this time of history, we can and must follow His example.

Each of us has a calling to change the world, but it begins with us ceasing to see this generation as the problem and beginning to see it as the solution. I want to challenge each and every one of you reading this to redefine how you will see yourself and those around you. Speak to the God-given potential that God was placed inside of them long ago, work with them through the labels to discover all that God has for them, and begin to dream again about how we can change the world.

 

This article was extracted from Issue 4 (Winter 2021) of the AVAIL Journal. Claim your free annual subscription here.

 


 

This article was written by Arden Bevere

 

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Arden Bevere is the youngest son of John and Lisa Bevere and the cofounder of Sons & Daughters, a movement committed to raise up a generation of uncompromising followers of Christ who will transform our world. He has a passion to see his generation go further than any that came before it, fully alive in this God adventure.

 

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