In the last few weeks, we have been studying purpose- particularly as it relates to Esther. So far we have discussed what she teaches us about:
- The common misconceptions about purpose and how to avoid them
- The positive correlation between existential questioning and purpose
As I've been studying and writing about her, one of the things that struck me about the story of Esther is that it's typically portrayed as a Cinderella story or fairytale. What do I mean by that, you may be wondering? I mean that, in my experience, people tend to focus on:
- Her beauty
- Her chastity
- How gracious and submissive she must have been for choosing to wear what the king liked, unlike all the other virgins (Esther 2:15)
- The fact that she was chosen to be the king's wife (going from rags to riches)
However, as stated in one of my previous devotionals on her, she was more than just the king's trophy wife. Esther was fierce! Think about it. She knew that going before the king without permission could get her killed, but she was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for her people (death) if it meant that they might live (Esther 4:11).
In just focusing on her afore-mentioned attributes, without any mention of her bravery, willingness to break protocol and fight, we do both Esther and modern women a disservice (particularly little girls). This is because that version of her story:
- Exacerbates the problem of limited female representation (in terms of how little we are spoken of generally and in what contexts we are spoken about when we are discussed, particularly where the matriarchs of the faith are concerned)
- Objectification of women's bodies (either as weapons for "tempting godly men" or for the sole purpose of pleasing them)
- Depreciation of women's roles and identity
Also, we miss yet another lesson that Esther teaches us about purpose- how essential it can be in helping us achieve our goals. For example:
#1 Purpose makes us steadfast
One of my favourite personal development books is "The Wisdom of Andrew Carnegie" by Napoleon Hill. In it, Carnegie advised that one of the steps to major achievement and change is "definiteness of purpose". As we have studied extensively in the last few weeks, purpose is:
"The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists"
In other words, it is the "why" behind your existence.
Any goal or change that you may seek in your life/to your existence in this season is the "what".
Esther shows us that, if you can discover your why, then you will also discover the emotional pull or greater cause that makes your "what" meaningful, worthwhile and- most importantly- achievable.
#2 Purpose helps us to do whatever it takes to succeed
As previously mentioned, Esther risked her life in order to save her people. That is not to say that she wasn't scared, she was (which is why she protested to Mordecai's suggestions at first) but she understood that- as the old adage says- "fortune favours the bold". This basically means that most big wins come with a certain amount of risk. We've seen this with many of the Biblical women that we have explored thus far. For example:
- Achsah, who was audacious enough to not only ask for land for her dowry but water to irrigate the land as well
- Jael, who was willing to put her life in danger to help the children of Isreal win a war
- The Woman with the Issue of Blood, who was willing to be unorthodox and upset the status quo to get what she wanted (her healing)
- Rebekah, who used the opportunities afforded her to ensure that God's promises to her came to pass
And Esther illustrates this same principle. She went from fearing for her life to coming to the conclusion that if she perished, she perished (Esther 4:16). But she never would have preserved both her life and that of her people if she had not been willing to take the risk of going before the king without permission.
This basically means that purpose makes us steadfast when "the going gets tough" whether, like Esther, that means risk or something else (like sacrifice, discomfort or any other sort of obstacle). For, as Napoleon Hill once said: "Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit".
Related: Lessons from Jochebed on how to balance the risks and rewards involved in making our dreams a reality
#3 purpose draws us closer to god
I've heard it said that you know that a dream is God-given if and when you could never achieve it without Him. In other words, if your goals seem like something that you can attain in your own strength- they are too small! Do you feel that way about your goals, lovely? I've got good news for you. This was also the case for Esther, given how potentially life-threatening her mission and objective was. Hence, she called a 3-day fast before she even attempted it (Esther 4:16).
I know how overwhelming and frightening it can be to have a vision that is much bigger than you. But, as Esther demonstrates (and I can attest to as well), this is not a bad thing. It simply draws us closer to God and deepens our relationship with Him so that it can, ultimately, be achieved. In other words, it is simply a thorn in the side or reminder that "without Him we can do nothing" (John 15:5).
#4 purpose places us in ALIGNMENT with the right people
As I wrote in this devotional on the Queen of Sheba, "our lives rise and fall in line with the quality of our relationships". Esther clearly understood this which is why she sought mentorship from:
- Hegai who used his experience and knowledge of the king to advise Esther about what to request when she went to see him, thereby helping her secure her position as queen (Esther 2:15)
- Mordecai who helped her to see the true purpose behind her journey so far and role as queen (Esther 4)
Throughout my life but, especially along this blogging journey, mentors have played an integral part (and still do!). I truly would not have come this far without them. But-
WHAT ABOUT YOU, LOVELY?
You now know what purpose is and why it's so important, especially with regards to achieving your goals in this season.
Now it's time to put it all into action!
If 6 (weekly) one hour 1:1 calls with me, where I mentor you and help you:
- Discover your purpose through skills/gift assessment
- Unpick and bust through your blocks
- Develop an action plan for your goals
And, like my mentors (and Esther's before them), also provide you with:
- Spirit-led counsel
- You-centred sessions (rather than a blanket approach)
- But, most of all, results
sound good to you: