Finding Your Purpose
Large curtains adorned the stage that many kindergartners and I stood on, while proud parents with cameras filled the room. Dressed up in puffy princess dresses, nicely trimmed suits, uncomfortable tights, and nicely groomed hair we performed the chicken dance. Out of sync and with our partners we went round and round and clapped and shook our bottoms as cameras’s flashed throughout the auditorium. Following this popular and well-known dance came our introductions and the question of our life. Except, at this age we didn’t feel pressured to have the answers and to know it all. We simply responded with an answer that had no strings attached, no boundaries, and what we believed would bring us the most joy.
“I’m Natalia,” I said as I leaned into the microphone. From the side of the stage the teacher asked, “What do you want to be when you grow-up?” “A police,” I responded looking out into the sea of adults. “A police what?” the teacher inquired, to which I responded, “MAN!”
Let me just tell you that no, I did not want to be a man, and no I am not a cop. So what was that little girl in the white dress thinking? Who knows.
My point is (humbly illustrated with an embarrassing story) that we hear it from the moment we can begin to comprehend that we are on this earth to do something.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
And then it continues as you get older and turns into:
“What are you doing after high school? What are you going to major in? What are you going to be?”
The social pressure to know what we want to do for the rest of our life starts as early as kindergarten. It is almost as if people expect us to know everything we want to do in life from the moment we are born. I don’t know about you, but what I wanted to be constantly changed and is yet still constantly changing.
The problem is that we are asking the wrong question. It isn’t about WHAT you want to be, it is about WHO you want to be, because who you want to be determines what you will do. Finding your purpose in life isn’t about having all of the answers right here and right now. It is about becoming who God created you to be and doing what He has called you to do, right now. In my personal experience, God doesn’t lay out a giant map and reveal everything we are going to do for our entire life so that we can have a full response ready when people ask. Rather, He guides and grows us step by step as we make the daily choice to follow and obey Him. You see, your purpose isn’t about knowing what you are going to do for your entire life. It is about what you are going to do TODAY, because what you do today is a small but significant piece of the puzzle that will one day be your entire life.
I hate to burst your bubble (and mine) but we aren't going to wake up one day and know the entirety and detailed plan for our life. We can keep waiting, but it isn’t going to happen. Finding our purpose is exactly what it says it is. It is about “finding” it, and finding it in everyday life.
I want to lay out some practical steps we can take to living a life of purpose on a daily basis instead of being so consumed with a grand response. These steps are taken from the book of Jeremiah, chapter 1.
1. First off, you need to know that God DOES have a plan for you.
I know that this scripture has been quoted a bajillion times throughout history, but it is still powerful and true. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1.5, new King James Version). Contrary to what you might think, God did not create you, drop you on the earth, and say, “No purpose for you!” (in a soup nazi voice, ahem, Seinfeld reference). He created you with a purpose, and you need to start by simply believing that powerful truth. You just have to understand that “finding” requires seeking. Seek God on a daily basis and He will guide you to live your purpose on a daily basis.
2. Stop questioning the things God tells you to do, and stop making excuses.
“Then said I: Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” (Jer. 1.6, NKJV)
There are already things God has told you to do. I know that for a fact. Perhaps you have done them, and perhaps you have not. Perhaps you are waiting for an explanation or further revelation as to why you should do it. Don’t. Just be obedient and do it. Do what He tells you to do because THAT is your purpose. Sometimes we are waiting for a show in the sky, a glory-filled spotlight on a golden map, or a booming voice in order to believe something is our calling. Well, let me just tell you now that 99% of the time no flashing lights or thunderbolts will appear with arrows saying, “THIS IS YOUR PURPOSE! THIS IS YOUR PURPOSE!” And guess what, you don’t need them.
3. Know that we are all called to do the same thing, just in different ways.
“See, I have this day set you over the nations, and over the kingdoms, to root out and pull down, to destroy and throw down, and to build and to plant.” (Jer. 1.10, NKV)
God cares about one thing. People. Whatever it is that God has called you to do it will have the same focus as my purpose and your aunt Carrie’s purpose. To lead people to God. We are all called to root out, pull down, destroy, and throw down the ways of this wicked world in order to build and plant the Kingdom of God in people’s lives and hearts so that they will have a relationship with Him.
4. You are going to face opposition, don’t let that stop you.
“They will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,”’ says the Lord, ‘to deliver you.” (Jer. 1.19, NKJV)
Many Christians begin to do the things God tells them to do and then the moment they face opposition they stop. Of course you are going to face opposition! When you think about it, we are living in our enemy’s territory. When that is the case, there is bound to be trouble. If there wasn’t going to be trouble, Jesus wouldn’t have had to purchase our victory. Don’t let opposition stop you from doing what God tells you to do when you have already been given the power to overcome it. That just won’t cut it as an excuse.
You are called to do amazing things for the Kingdom of God, I honestly believe that. The things God tells us to do might seem small and insignificant, but they will have an everlasting impact. No person and no deed is small in the eyes of God. It is a heart of obedience that leads to a life of purpose. Find and live your purpose in everyday life by doing the things God tells you to do. Then you will have a life of joy, peace, and fulfillment.
Bible translation used:
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.