Have you ever felt like you’re on a different path than some of your friends or that you need to pull away from certain relationships in order to pursue God’s calling for your life? This is a common tension believers face when maturing in their faith.
In this detailed guide, we’ll explore why you may need to limit interactions with certain people when God gives you a special assignment to fulfill His greater purposes.
If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer to why you can’t hang with everybody when God has an assignment on your life: Your assignments from God require focus, wisdom and often sacrifice. Not everyone in your life will understand or support these callings, which can hinder your ability to wholeheartedly pursue your kingdom purpose.
Understanding Why God Assigns Special Purposes to Specific People
We Are Each Called to Play Unique Roles in God’s Plan
As children of God, we each have a special purpose and calling that only we can fulfill (Jeremiah 29:11). Our creator has intricately designed us with specific gifts, talents, personalities, and experiences to carry out unique roles in His great plan.
Just as parts of the human body work together, with each playing vital roles, so too are we parts of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). The eye sees while the ear hears. Similarly, one is gifted at teaching while another has the mercy to care for the sick.
Our diversity and differences enable us to complement each other.
Focus is Required to Fulfill God’s Special Callings
Fulfilling God’s special assignments requires undivided attention and focus on hearing His voice. We must block out distractions and “tune out” other voices calling us in different directions (Matthew 13:22).
Seasons of separation unto God are often needed to discern our assignments without outside influence.
Jesus himself modeled this laser focus during His earthly ministry. Though crowded and busy, He maintained connection with the Father and walked in step with His will (John 5:19). We too must fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Our Assignments Require Us to Be Set Apart for a Season
There are biblical precedents showing those with special callings on their lives experienced periods of separation from others. Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness before returning to deliver the Israelites from Egypt (Exodus 7:7).
Paul, after his radical conversion, went to Arabia for three years before starting his missionary journeys (Galatians 1:15-18).
Similarly, fulfilling our Kingdom assignments may require seasons of relative isolation to receive needed preparation, wisdom and anointing from God. During these seasons, many relationships and activities that previously occupied our time may need to be laid down for a period to fully focus on God’s plans.
Examining Biblical Examples of Assignments Requiring Separation
Joseph: Betrayed By His Brothers While Fulfilling God’s Purpose
Joseph received a vision from God that he would one day rule over his brothers (Genesis 37:5-11). However, his bothers became jealous and sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt (Genesis 37:12-36). Joseph was thus isolated and betrayed by his own family while walking in his divine assignment.
Yet later, Joseph was elevated to become second-in-command to Pharaoh and helped save Egypt and his family from famine (Genesis 41:37-57). As evidenced in Joseph’s story, carrying out God’s will can sometimes require painful separation from those closest to us.
Moses: Isolated in the Desert to Prepare Him
Moses spent 40 years in isolation in the desert before returning to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from bondage (Exodus 2:11-3:10). This extended time alone was necessary for God to shape Moses into the leader needed for this immense task.
Similarly, seasons of solitude are often required for God to equip us without distractions. As noted on BibleStudyTools.com, God used Moses’ desert isolation to teach him vital lessons in patience, faith and self-control.
Jesus: Tempted in the Wilderness Before Public Ministry
Before launching His earthly ministry, Jesus spent 40 days fasting alone in the Judean wilderness where He was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). This bleak seclusion and temptation prepared Christ for the trials and testing He would face in public ministry.
We too should expect that embracing a God-given assignment may lead us through a spiritual wilderness of isolation and temptation prior to releasing us into greater influence.
Paul: Received Reveled Truth in Arabia Before Joining Disciples
The Apostle Paul spent three years in the Arabian desert after his Damascus road conversion before joining the disciples in Jerusalem (Galatians 1:11-24). As noted on GotQuestions.org, Paul likely used this desert retreat to receive direct revelation from Christ about the Gospel message he would carry to the Gentiles.
Once again, isolation and solitary retreat played a key role in preparing someone for an assignment of great consequence.
Why Those Closest to You May Not Understand Your Assignment
When God gives us a special assignment or calling in life, it’s easy to assume that our closest friends and family will be supportive. After all, they know us best and want what’s good for us, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Here are a few reasons why those closest to you may struggle to understand or embrace the assignment God has placed on your life:
They Have Not Shared Your Encounter with God
If your friends and family have not had the same kind of divine encounter and calling from God that you have experienced, it may be hard for them to fully grasp it. They don’t have that personal relationship with God guiding them, so your calling could seem abstract or confusing.
Give them grace if they don’t immediately “get it.”
Their Support May Enable Counterproductive Patterns
Sometimes, our family and friends support us in ways that actually hinder our growth and purpose. For example, a parent may want to protect you from challenges God wants you to face. Or a spouse may prefer the comfort of the status quo rather than supporting a bold calling that requires sacrifice.
Their intentions are good, but their support contradicts God’s purposes.
Pursuing Earthly Rewards Does Not Align with Eternal Purposes
Many of those closest to us are consumed by pursuing worldly success, pleasures, or comfort. Your calling may threaten their preferred lifestyle or values. For example, a business owner may not understand why you left a lucrative career to begin an unprofitable ministry.
Your eyes are fixed on treasure in heaven, not on earthly rewards.
Rather than judge those close to you, offer grace and understanding. Avoid defensiveness and arguments. Over time, as you walk faithfully with God, He can change hearts and open eyes. Some may eventually become your biggest encouragers!
Until then, rest in the knowledge that God assigns us to special purposes which the world may not comprehend, but His wisdom and grace is sufficient.
Setting Healthy Boundaries to Protect God-Given Assignments
Be Selective About Who You Share With
When embarking on a God-given assignment or purpose, it’s crucial to be discerning about who you share details with. Not everyone will celebrate the calling on your life. Some may discourages or drain your enthusiasm with their doubts or negative words (See Gideon’s story in Judges 6).
Be led by the Holy Spirit regarding who needs to know specific details. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:6, don’t cast your pearls before swine or give dogs what is sacred.
There’s wisdom in keeping some details private until the appointed time. Consider telling only a small, trusted circle of encouragers who will cover your assignment in prayer and speak life and victory over it. Limit oversharing on social media where scoffers and critics have access.
Limit Time with Those Who Drain Your Focus
It’s admirable to try helping and fixing everyone, but that can easily divert you from what God wants you to uniquely accomplish. You might need to limit interactions with friends or family members who are perpetually negative, draining or distracting.
Set healthy boundaries and limits with them. Politely decline get-togethers that usually veer into vent sessions. Say “no” to nonessential requests for your time and energy. Don’t feel guilty about guarding your anointing, gifts, calling and assignment from the Lord.
He wants you to bear lasting spiritual fruit (See John 15:16).
Surround Yourself with Like-Minded Kingdom Builders
God often connects us with specific people to mutually encourage our kingdom purposes. Seek out and unite with Christians who share your values and aspirations – perhaps in a small group, ministry team or informal mentoring relationships (see Proverbs 27:17).
Discuss ideas, pray together, collaborate on projects. Brainstorm ways to spread the Gospel, make disciples and transform communities. As iron sharpens iron, you’ll inspire each other to grow, improve skills, overcome obstacles and walk in divine destiny.
Staying Rooted in the Vine While Fulfilling Your Purpose
Guard Against Self-Reliance and Pride
It’s easy to rely on our own talents and become prideful when God blesses us. However, we must remember that all good things come from God (James 1:17). If we think success comes from ourselves alone, we essentially push God out of His rightful place in our lives.
Proverbs 16:18 warns that “Pride goes before disaster, and haughtiness before a fall.” This sin threatens those fulfilling their God-given purpose. After experiencing some success in ministry, it’s crucial to give all glory to the Lord for enabling us (1 Corinthians 15:10).
As Jesus said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine” (John 15:4). We rely on His life-giving power flowing through us.
Submit Your Desires Daily to God
As Christ’s disciples, we daily surrender our own desires and accept God’s will. Jesus practiced complete submission when He prayed in Luke 22:42, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup of suffering away from Me.
Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” This models the humility we need in fulfilling God’s calling.
Rather than asserting our plans, we pray “not my will but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Our desires may sometimes align with His purpose for our lives. Other times, He calls us to sacrifice comfortable things. But we can trust that His way is best and will bear eternal fruit.
Remember Your True Value Comes from Christ
Knowing our true identity in Christ protects against pride. All value and significance come from Him rather than worldly applause. Ephesians 1:4 declares, “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” Out of His great mercy and love, He saved us and called us to participate in His glorious plans.
We contribute nothing apart from Christ’s enablement. As Galatians 2:20 says, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Everything we accomplish comes by His Spirit’s power from beginning to end.
When God puts a special assignment on your life, you often have to make sacrifices relationally and practically to stay focused on fulfilling your purpose. As we’ve explored, both Scripture and modern examples show that isolation, hardship and lack of support often accompany unique callings.
While this tension can be painful, we must remember that our identity lies in Christ – not the approval of others or worldly affirmation. Staying rooted in God’s love gives us the strength and discernment needed to set healthy boundaries and finish the race marked out for us.