Figuring out your purpose could be a lifelong venture. It involves, whether you like it or not, a spiritual journey, an emotional one, and a lot of common sense. I didn’t admit my purpose until I was way out of college and had several hours of counseling under my belt.
It’s not an easy road for some of us.
There’s confidence to build.
Talents to cultivate.
Reality to see.
It can take some time. And even with all of that, it could change and morph into something different, new, unthought of, and all of that is just our side of things. What about God? Does he really intend for us to have some sort of cosmic purpose?
I kind of think God has it all figured out, but he can’t dump it on us in one gigantic bundle of knowing because we just can’t handle it. So he lets it unfold, and we find it as we grow closer to him and continue down the road.
With all of that said, though, I think there are some clear things that PURPOSE is not. Sometimes it’s helpful to identify where you’re not going, so you can more clearly see the route for which you’re meant.
Here are some helpful tips on what purpose is not.
Purpose is not…
- Something told to you by a teacher or friend. Teachers and friends can be helpful along the road to purpose, but they can’t decide it for you. You really have to discover it for yourself.
- Easy. It will take a lot of hard work. Whatever your purpose ends up being – teacher, writer, bringer of justice – it’s going to take work.
- Fast. There’s somewhat of a process to it that takes time. You might have to go through doorway number one before you even know about doorway number two. Good things take time.
- Fixed. A person’s purpose in life may be the same throughout his/her life, but it might not be. Your purpose at twenty may be different than your purpose at forty. Life builds upon itself. If you keep moving and growing, then your purpose may very well too.
- Mortal. Since God is eternal and those that believe in him will have eternal life, then it would stand to reason that the purposes of these people might extend beyond the grave.
- Singular. We play different roles throughout life, some at the same time—daughter, sister, mother, friend. Our purpose in each of those roles may vary. It may not, but it may, so it’s good to not limit yourself to always being just one thing when God may intend for you to have a variety of purposes to the different people you touch.
- About you. Selfish. Our purpose isn’t in a bubble. It should always extend outside of ourselves. When our purpose serves only ourselves, then perhaps we should refer to it as ambition or our goal, not our purpose.
- General. Sure we could make some blanket statements like our purpose is to love others, honor God, speak truth, and that may all be true, but discovering personal purpose is more geared to what only you can do, and there are things in this world that only you can do. You alone have experienced life through your lens, had your perspective, fought your fights. God knows you by name. His desire for you is personal and real. Not far away.
- Meaningless. Solomon, the richest and wisest man in the world, found at the end of his life that everything was meaningless. He found no purpose, no goal, no hope, but yet he still urged others to turn to God and obey him. Finding true purpose can only be found with the help of God. Everything else is meaningless.
- Cryptic. It’s not a buried treasure with a torn up map and a missing X to mark the spot. Knowing our purpose may not be obvious. It may take time. It may be hard, but it’s not some guessing game with a dire hope of hitting the jackpot. It’s part of a relationship—a walking along with your creator, discovering who he is and who he has made you to be. He wants you to know that stuff. Trust him, and he will show you.
How about you? What do you think about purpose? Do you know yours?