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Don’t Get Squeezed into a Mold
By Joel Osteen - Oct 30, 2012
When my father went to be with the Lord, I had to accept the fact that God's purpose for my life was not the same purpose as my father's. His calling was to help bring down the denominational walls and let people know about the fullness of the Spirit. When I took over, I felt pressured to be like my father, to fit into that mold. I thought I had to minister like him, run the church like him, and go down that same path. But when I searched my heart, I knew my calling was to plant a seed of hope, to encourage people, to let them know about the goodness of God. At first, it was difficult because some people had been in the church for 40 years. I thought, "I can't be anything different. What would they think? They may not like me. They may not accept me."

One day I read a scripture talking about David. It said, "David fulfilled his purpose for his generation." I heard God say right down in here, "Joel, your father fulfilled his purpose. Now quit trying to be like him and go out and fulfill your purpose." When I heard that, it was like a light turned on inside of me. I realized I don't have to try to be like my father. I don't have to fit into a certain mold. It's okay to run my race. I am free to be me. After all, God doesn't want us to be an imitation of somebody else; be the original God created you to be.

Friend, there is an anointing on your life, and it's not so you can be like someone else. You are anointed to be you! But if you let people squeeze you into their mold and bow down to that pressure and change with every criticism, that's not only going to take away your uniqueness, but it's going to lessen God's favor. It's going to reduce His anointing on your life.

As the church started to grow and more people were watching on television, the critics came out of the woodwork saying, "He's not like his father. He's too young. He doesn't have the experience." Even now, "Joel is too much of this, not enough of that." If you change with every criticism, you won't have a chance. I believe one reason that God has promoted me is because I have tuned out the negative voices and done my best to stay true to who God has called me to be. I don't try to compete with somebody else. I don't let people control me and feel guilty if I don't fit into their box. I don't get upset because somebody said something negative. I look straight ahead. Like the apostle Paul, I do my best to run with purpose in every step.

I learned early on that in order to please God, you may have to disappoint a few people. The scripture talks about how some people loved the praise of people more than they loved the praise of God. One of the tests that we all have to face is when someone in our life that we love or look up to—a friend, a boss, a family member— wants us to go a certain direction when we know in our heart that God wants us to go another direction. We don't want to lose their friendship. We don't want to disappoint them. We want their approval. But if you're going to fulfill your destiny, you've got to be strong. You have to have this attitude, "I want the praise of God more than I want the praise of people. I have an assignment. I have a purpose. I have a destiny. I'm going to become who God has created me to be!"
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