In Pursuit of Purpose
Finding your purpose seems to be a buzz phrase in today’s society. At least in American culture, that is. We’re all trying to figure out what our ultimate purpose for existing is. We take every personality test, strengths test, and aptitude test under the sun. Yet, somehow it still eludes most of us.
I was raised in a single-parent household. My mom had to make some tough choices and ended up working seven different jobs at one time in order to support us. Because of that, the way she began fulfilling her purpose (the how behind the why) looked much different than she had originally hoped for and planned. After growing up and seeing this, purpose has become something that I am extremely passionate about.
Sometimes, the mundane of life or the chaos of life blinds us to our purpose. We get caught up in checking the boxes, returning emails, making phone calls, doing the laundry, or running the kids all over town and we forget that we have a purpose that is far beyond simply finishing the task at hand. And, I would even argue that there is a greater purpose in every single small task we execute that we often don’t realize is there. And today, I want to take a few minutes to remind us of that.
Here’s the first thing we need to remember —we all have the same exact overarching purpose.
If you’re a Jesus follower, we all have the same exact purpose. We exist on this earth to love God, love people, and make disciples. It’s really that simple. No need to read a book to discover why you’re here. The ancient texts contained in the Bible tell us plainly why we exist. The greatest commandments Jesus gave us were to love God and love people. The great commission He gave us before He left this earth was to go and make disciples.
Sometimes I think we people of faith tend to forget this. We make faith about us and God. We forget that there is more to our faith than just how we are doing with God. Faith is not just an up and down, vertical thing. We exist on this earth to love others and point them to Jesus. In every interaction, in every conversation (whether it’s with a 2 year old or 92 year old) — this is our purpose.
If following Jesus was just about me and my walk with God, He would have taken me to heaven the moment I decided to follow Him. There would be no point in keeping me here, or you for that matter. But He didn’t do that. Why? Because our faith is about more than just us.
If we are at the center of our faith, we are missing the point of our faith.
This can be easily forgotten in the day-to-day busyness. Or at least it can for me. But in everything, no matter what we do (whether we work in an office, are entrepreneurs, are stay at home moms, teachers, writers) our overarching purpose remains the same.
The question then becomes the how. How do we do live out our purpose on purpose? All of us have the same overall reason for existing, but how we accomplish it looks very different from person to person. That seems to be the place that some of us get stumped. We can get the why behind our existence, but how we are to do it can be challenging to figure out.
So let me start by saying this, the how will change throughout our lives. It will change based on our season of life. It won’t always look the same, and that’s okay! So, breathe for a minute.
For some of us, maybe the way we are to live out our purpose right now is to be at home and raise our kids and take care of our family. Maybe for some of us, it’s to start that blog or that business. Maybe for some it’s to start leading that group or start that ministry or nonprofit.
So what is it for you right now?
I want you to really think about it for a minute. Write down your overarching purpose and then write down how you feel you’re supposed to accomplish it in this season of life. And don’t be afraid. If you think it’s too big of a dream or too small or you think someone would think it sounds silly, it’s OKAY. This isn’t about them. It’s about what God is asking of YOU. Keep in mind, it’s not supposed to be comfortable. Following Jesus is not comfortable. He never called us to follow Him into our comfort zones. So chances are, if it doesn’t scare you, you are probably not thinking big enough. And sometimes for me, the scary and big things are often disguised as little things.
- Making a phone call
- Inviting someone over
- Writing that first paragraph of the book
- Writing your first blog post
- Recording your first podcast
- Remaining firm in disciplining your child (this one is a doozy for me)
It may seem small to some, but it has the potential for huge impact!
If you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “Gabbi, I don’t have an answer to that question of how I’m supposed to live out my purpose in this season of life. I don’t have a plan. ‘I don’t even have a pla’!” (thank you Phoebe from Friends) Then, first of all let me say, my-oh-my, have I been there before! It’s okay. You don’t have to have it all figured out all the time. But, let me just leave you with three steps that I have done and now come back to when trying to discern what God wants me to do in each season.
STEP 1: Spend time alone with Jesus
Yep, you read correctly. This first step is simple and ever so crucial. If we miss this one, you can forget the rest. Spending time with Jesus really is THAT important. We will never figure out how to live out our purpose if we don’t spend time with the One Who made us, gave us our skills, gave us our talents, gave us our passions, gave us value, and gave us our particular assignments to begin with. So, spend some time with Him — quality time. Get to know Him just for the sake of knowing Him. Get to know His voice and how He speaks to you and leads you personally.
STEP 2: Slow down and pay attention
Sometimes we want to know what it is God wants us to do, but we refuse to slow down. We keep our head to the ground just pounding it out day-in and day-out, checking our tasks off the list, meanwhile He’s right there pointing it out to us. If only we would simply look up.
This happens to me more than I would care to admit. I’m a doer. I like to blame it on my momma, but it’s probably just me. I hit the ground running, and I don’t typically like to stop. But when I do, something incredible happens. That’s the very moment when He speaks to me. That’s when I see something He’s been pointing me to all along. And side note… we’ll never point people to Jesus if we run right past them. I am often guilty of passionately pursuing my tasks rather than His purpose.
So do yourself a favor… and Him… and all of those around you, and slow down and simply pay attention. Chances are, there’s something there He wants to show you.
STEP 3: Ask for insight
Oftentimes, God speaks through other people. I like to think it’s because He created us for connection that He chooses to operate in this way. For me, sometimes there are people who say something to me that points me in a new or different direction for my life, or they make me think of options I had not yet considered. But a lot of the time, God uses them to simply confirm something I had already started. Once I felt like I knew what He wanted me to do, I would take a step in that direction and act in obedience. It was after I took a step that people would speak into my life and confirm what He was asking me to do.
But, whatever they may look like for you, we need people around us and further ahead of us who can speak objectively into our lives. Who come with no personal agenda other than to be a voice of wisdom and insight. People can usually see things in us that we often cannot. Being self-aware is quite the challenge, and we need others to point things out in us. So, after you have taken time with Jesus and you begin to slow down and pay attention, then look around and ask someone you trust for insight.
Regardless of how you are to live out your purpose in this particular season of life, I hope we never forget that God created us on purpose for a purpose. Amidst the staff meetings, the diaper changes, the laundry piles, the coffee runs, the writing, the driving — there is a deeper purpose that exists that He has called YOU to be a part of. Let’s not miss it.
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