One of the biggest challenges in life is to stay focused upon the assignment the Lord has appointed for us. In life there are many adversaries and distractions that can take you off track so that your life misses the mark. This is called "mission drift." Perhaps most people in this world have drifted from their primary purpose and mission in life.
The following are signs you are also drifting away from, instead of moving toward, your primary calling:
1. Continual frustration shows you are not walking in your calling.
Continual frustration is one of the most obvious signs you are not walking toward what God has internally wired you to pursue. Frustration may be a God-given sign to awaken you to the real passion and purpose He has assigned for you. A person suffering from mission drift will be going against the internal impulses from God that give them delight while being engaged in them. Going against these internal impulses means that you are also doing things that do not match your gifts, passion and grace which will also give you much frustration. Those in continual frustration need to take much time reflecting to detect the source of their frustration.
Merely continuing in life in frustration is foolish, because you may look back at the end of your years and realize you wasted your whole life working in the wrong vocation.
2. Burnout shows you are not walking in grace
Another telltale sign you are suffering from mission drift is that you have to work hard at accomplishing things with very little fruit to show for it. Jesus has called us to enter His rest (Matt. 11:28-30) and cease from our own labors (Heb. 4:9-11). When in mission drift we are not walking in obedience to the Lord. Hence, we are not being sustained by His grace and are working merely with fleshly strength. This can soon lead to emotional or spiritual burnout if we don't readjust.
3. You show the lack of fruit
When you are hitting your sweet-spot regarding your calling, you are doing things that few can match. Every person is unique and has a calling unlike any other. When you are hitting the mark in your purpose you will bear a lot of fruit just the way Jesus called us to (John 15:8). When you are in mission drift you do not maximize your effectiveness which results in a lack of fruit.
4. You are not following your original vocational purpose
When in mission drift you have strayed away from the original calling God has given to you. Every once in a while I review my prophetic journal to make sure I am still pursuing the original calling God gave me when I first started serving Him more than 30 years ago. The methods may change as I mature, but the mission remains the same since He chose us before the foundation of the world and gave us a purpose before we were even born (2 Tim. 1:9).
5. You are not focused but scattered with too many objectives and activities
Activity does not necessarily result in productivity. Many people are very busy running around focusing on minor things and neglecting the primary things God has called them to. I am not saying we should neglect the mundane and ordinary routines of life, but that we make sure within those routines we prioritize and manage our time in such a way that the most important things are taken care of first. When we don't prioritize our time, our activities will not match our purpose.
6. You have no time to invest in key relationships
The kingdom of God is built upon relationships, not ministry or work. Everyone is called to invest in key relationships whether it be our immediate family, spiritual children, mentors, or key people we are called to "do life" with. The enemy would love for all of us to put programs before people, because at the end of the day the only thing we will take with us into eternity are people not programs, real estate, money or the material things in life. When you have no quality time for those key relationships, then most likely you are suffering from mission drift. We need to proactively pursue those people who are the most important to us in life.
7. You are doing good things but not what you do best
The enemy of best is usually something good. The enemy does not come in a red suit with a pitchfork; he comes as an angel of light. Hence, one of his greatest strategies is to get you so focused on doing something good for God or your family that it blinds you to what is best. To avoid mission drift we always have to keep first things first and keep the main thing the main thing.
Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church and Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, New York, and author of numerous books, including Ruling in the Gates: Preparing the Church to Transform Cities. Follow him on Facebook or visit him online at josephmattera.org.
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