“What’s my purpose?”
Whether or not you’ve said those exact words, all of us have asked the same question. What am I here for? Does God have a call on my life? Some of us carry that question with us well into adulthood, even to the grave. Confronting those tough questions is better done now than later – just ask anyone who’s racked up a mountain of debt for a college degree they aren’t using.
But unlike an online quiz (something along the lines of “Which Divergent Character Are You?”), there’s no algorithm to spit out a quick answer. We discover our purpose as we walk in relationship with the One who gave it to us in the first place.
So rather than “Five Easy Steps”, we’re offering some simple encouragement for your journey.
You DO Have a Calling
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
– Ephesians 2:10 NIV
Don’t let the familiarity of that passage numb you to its impact. You were hand-crafted by God to do the good work he has shaped you to for.
Paul’s saying you’re not just another cog in the wheel; you’re a work of art – a “masterpiece”, as the NLT puts it. True artists invest a piece of themselves in what they create. When God “skillfully wrought” you, he put his heart into it. That’s personal. That’s unique.
And that’s intentional. God intends for your life to have meaning, to be both useful and beautiful. So if you’re tempted to believe that you’re nothing special, that’s an ugly lie.
Believe it: You – yes, you – have been masterfully crafted, on purpose.
It’s Bigger Than You
God’s dreams are God-sized. And if that’s a no-brainer, why do we settle for dreams that are “me-sized?” Be brave and evaluate your life goals with these questions:
Have I allowed God to shape my plans?
It’s easy to live by default, building our plans around our own logic, the expectations of others, or whatever life brings our way. But if we’ve been painstakingly crafted by the Creator of the universe, wouldn’t it make sense to ask him about our purpose?
So ask. And listen. As we surrender our own plans and yield our hearts to him, God will give us the direction we need.
Are my goals possible?
If you can achieve your goals with your own ability, we’d like to suggest that you’re shooting too low. The pattern we see in Scripture, from Noah to the apostles, is that God calls his people to tasks that are too big for them. That way they get to see him come through for them. He gets the glory, and they accomplish far more than they imagined was possible.
Don’t let fear keep you from all that God has shaped you for. If your dream isn’t impossible – if there’s no risk involved – let God stretch your faith. Dream bigger.
“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.”
– C.S. Lewis
Is the ultimate end of my ambitions my own happiness or security?
If your life goals are motivated only by what will make you comfortable, you’re overlooking a what Jesus taught: following him means laying down our lives.
After all, that’s what Jesus did for us! Ultimately, your life purpose should line up with Jesus’ life purpose: to redeem a world full of those he’s hand-crafted to be his own.
Rather than asking what career will offer the most money or satisfaction, here’s a better question: “God, how can I be a part of fulfilling your dream?”
It’s Better Than You Imagine
Does the word “surrender” make you cringe and cling all the more to your own ideas? You’re not alone. That struggle we all face indicates how much we forget about God:
- He’s wiser than we are.
- He’s more loving than anyone, ever.
- He knows us better than we know ourselves.
- He sees the big picture of our future.
And so much more! Basically, he’s pretty smart, and he’s really good, so he created you in such a way that obeying him brings him the most glory and brings you the most fulfillment.
Sure, there will be hardships and sacrifice. But surrendering your life to the purpose he’s crafted you for will be an adventure, a joy, and the best idea you’ll ever have.
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
– Frederick Buechner