We often have our life all figured out. We know exactly how the Lord wants to use us, we have plans about what we’re going to do tomorrow, next month, and next year, and we talk about our testimony and life as if we understand the plan every step of the way.

Except, we don’t. In reality, the Lord can call us out of one situation and into another—or He might keep us in a situation for a while. Just look at the life of Joseph—he was in a prison for 13 years! And, that was after having been beaten and sold into slavery by his brothers.

We often talk about having a “Joseph anointing” or “being an Esther,” but are we willing to take up the mantle? Are we willing to truly surrender our dreams and exchange them for the Lord’s?

The refining process is never easy, but it’s better to be refined than to go through life without ever walking in our true purposes that only God the Father knows and created us to live out.

We can all give examples of the twists and turns that the Lord has taken us on throughout lives. But, they are not in vain. If we are living each day in obedience to the Lord—that is, in genuine conversation with Him and making the most out of what He has endowed us with to steward—then we can rest confidently that He is working all things for good.

The twists and turns might not make sense today—although, the Lord often reveals the purposes to us sooner than later to strengthen our faith—we don’t need to fully understand them: all we need to understand and know is that we have a good Father who loves us more than we could imagine and wants us to live out our purposes even more than we do!

Put simply, I never, ever ever, would have guessed what I’m doing now three years ago. Even setting aside my vast research agenda and various advising roles, my two startups couldn’t be more different on paper—one (Living Opera) is an art-technology startup that produces multimedia and is heavily anchored in the Web3 world, and the other (Dainamic) is a financial technology startup that produces forecasts and predictions for organizations to understand their potential consumers and portfolio of risk better. While my engagement in the cryptocurrency and NFT sphere “might” have been possible on paper, it wouldn’t have been nearly this rich and diversified absent my saying “yes” to the Lord one step at a time and simply walking in obedience.

That walk is obviously not over—there are still many questions on my mind about how the Lord is going to move certain situations forward. But, you know one question that’s not on my mind? The sovereignty and love of the Lord. That’s already been resolved, which takes a lot of the burden off.

Let’s get practical. How do we know if we’re walking in the purposes of God?

1. Embrace small beginnings – say “yes” to even seemingly small acts of obedience. If you want to be a writer, then pursue opportunities to write and actually execute on them. I am constantly baffled by how many people don’t execute or leverage gifts that are put in front of them.

2. Remain flexible – we don’t know everything… in fact, we frankly don’t know that much at all, so walk with humility and be open to growth and change. If you’ve been asking the Lord “use me,” then don’t be surprised if your circumstance changes. Don’t shy away from challenges.

3. Pursue excellence – whether you’re writing code, building a pitch deck, or singing an opera, we are called to set an example. People start taking notice when believers do exceptional work and maintain a humble and kind heart; that prompts people to start asking questions and opens them up to conviction by the Holy Spirit.

Think about how to apply these suggestions in every day life. They’re not exhaustive, but they’re a good start. If we really believe what we say what we believe, then the process of surrender is actually the best thing we could hope for—an exchange of our short-term aims for God’s best.

Written by Christos A. Makridis, an alumnus of Stanford University

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