Three Clues to Your God-Given Design


What does God want to do with my life?

If you are anything like me, you have probably wondered more than a few times, “What does God want to do with my life?” It’s hard to be intentional with your life if you don’t know what God’s design is for it. That is why we must first understand our design before we can begin to execute that design with intention.


As a worship leader, I love making music. If we stood together on a stage and I held an acoustic guitar in front of your face and asked you to sing a D note, something very interesting would happen. As you sang, without even touching the strings, the D string on the guitar would start to vibrate. That particular string has an affinity for that particular note. So when the D string “hears” the D note from your voice, it begins to resonate in response while the other strings remain silent as though they were “deaf” to it.

Likewise, God has tuned our hearts to resonate to certain things. My own heart may resonate at the thought of teaching or playing guitar to a room full of people while that same thought may make your stomach churn. God has tuned our hearts to different frequencies, but when we find a task that makes our hearts resonate, we have found an affinity, which is key to determining God’s specific design for our lives.


I’m not a great fan of American Idol, but most of us have seen those entertaining first few weeks of auditions. At the beginning of each season, scores of young hopefuls parade through the audition process with great affinity for music and vocal performance. Yet, there has rarely been a clearer example of how affinity alone cannot dictate your design. It also takes ability. While these poor hopefuls may have tremendous affinity for singing, if they have no ability to do it well, the judges are right when they say, “I don’t think this competition is right for you.”

So doing what you love (affinity) and doing what you’re skilled at (ability) must go hand in hand. Affinity without ability is failure. Ability without affinity is drudgery. Affinity with ability is sweet, but you still must have one other critical piece.


If we have the desire and skill to do something, there must also be an opportunity to do it. This can be tricky because opportunities often come and go in seasons. Sometimes we must sit back and just wait while honing our affinities and abilities until God presents the opportunity to employ them.

It’s like the freshman football player who warms the bench for two years, gradually getting more playing time until the coach finally calls his number. Eventually, he might be a starter in every game during his junior and senior years, but at first he just has to be patient for a couple of seasons.

Note that while he is waiting, he’s not wasting his time. He is honing his love for the game and honing his skills as he watches older players, listens to his coaches, and attends every practice. All this is in preparation for the day that his number will be called and he finally has the opportunity to serve.

Questions for Thought

Does any of this sound familiar? You’ve no doubt tried accomplishing tasks without all three of these critical elements in place. How did that work for you? Did you find it to be like sitting on a three-legged stool with one (or two) legs missing? Consider these questions as you seek God’s calling on your life:

Are there any areas of my life where I have affinity, but limited ability? If there are, am I setting myself up for failure? Are these tasks frustrating me?

Are there areas of my life where I have ability, but no affinity? Are they drudgery? Do I feel tired and burned out when I do them? If so, could I provide opportunity to someone with both affinity and ability for this task if I passed it on?

Are there any areas of my life where I have both affinity and ability, but need to trust God for patience as I wait for the opportunity to apply them?

Do I have a spiritual mentor or trusted voice in my life to help me discern what my affinities and abilities are, and to help me recognize opportunities to use them?

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