To live on purpose, I have to decide what purpose is . . . for me.
Looking back over years of trying to figure this out, five significant moments helped me move forward.
Moment 1 – “It’s not about me” – On the very first page of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life, he says that any life purpose focused on oneself is a dead-end. God created us for relationship . . . with Him and with others. So, thinking about why you’re here has to start with a “who” that’s not you.
Moment 2 – “It’s in me” – God created a unique person when He made you. President Eisenhower’s mother apparently told him early and often, “there is a unique need in this world that only you can fill.” Every person has some unique ability, a superpower they bring to others in relationship. And every person has a unique story. God often uses my point of pain to lead me toward His purpose for me. It’s said that design leads to destiny. So, think about what you’re good at . . . what you love to do, that when you’re doing it, you lose your sense of time. These are clues to finding your unique, personal purpose.
Moment 3 – “It challenges me” – Bob Goff writes that if you want to find your purpose, go pick a fight. I’ve you’ve got a heart for the poor, pick a fight with hunger or homelessness. If you’ve got a heart for children, pick a fight with divorce or abortion or fostering or sex trafficking. The new Gatorade commercials cry out, “Make your rival your fuel.” God often uses that empathy for the least of these to call His children into their purpose and life’s work.
Moment 4 – “It helps me” – Everything we do in life is for a purpose. I’ve found that everything I do is either goal-achieving or tension-relieving! Knowing my purpose helps me set goals that leverage my energy and effort toward my purpose. It makes it easier to say no to invitations that are off-purpose. And it helps me stay aware of things I’m wasting time on . . . things that are merely tension-relieving like reorganizing my files or reading things that add no value to my life.
Moment 5 – “It feeds me” – Nothing is more fulfilling than knowing that God is using you in someone else’s life. Jesus-followers who are doctors and nurses must be some of the most fulfilled people on earth. Imagine knowing that God uses the work of your hands to help people get well. Pastors who are truly called and rightly motivated can’t help but smile when they see God do something amazing in the life of someone in their church. As a mentor, almost nothing is better than watching a husband you’ve poured into learn to love his wife as Christ loved the church.
Scripture: 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)
PS . . . I’ve discovered Kevin McCarthy’s book, The On-Purpose Person. It’s an excellent tool for crafting a life purpose statement.