Are You Living on Purpose?
Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? How do I get there from here?
I believe these are four questions that every man (and woman) is looking for answers to (or at least wonders about)? Even when my son was 9-years old, he was curious about “his purpose” in life. Even though he didn’t understand the intricacies of life, even he wondered what he was put on this Earth to do.
I’m just thankful that God has blessed me with the opportunity to be the one to help my children “find their way.” As a speaker and educator, I’m constantly asked by students to give them answers to some of life’s most challenging questions – like the ones I mentioned above. Unfortunately, they’re disappointed when I tell them I can’t do it. I tell them in actuality, no one can. As humans, we can only assist people in finding their purpose, but we can’t give them one or tell them what it is, and here’s why.
If you want to know the purpose of a thing, you can’t ask the thing (or something similar to the thing); you have to ask the maker of the thing (i.e., the manufacturer). The manufacturer predetermined what the product would do and accomplish BEFORE he or she built it. See, the problem is, most of us go to “other products” to find out what the purpose of our product is. It’s kind of silly when you think about it. If cars could speak, why would a car ask another car, “What’s my purpose?” The car, the driver, and even the mechanic can only tell the car what they think its purpose is based on their own experience with other cars. But who do you think knows more about that particular make and model car than ANYONE else? That’s right, the manufacturer – the one who drafted the plans, crafted the idea, and envisioned its use.
So, when a student asks me, “What is my purpose?” I always re-direct them to the manufacturer (whoever they believe that is for them). Personally, I tell them, I believe God is my manufacturer; He’s my creator, my designer, my author, my architect, and my sculptor. Everything I am (all of my features and faults) he created. I entered this world through my mother’s womb (with the help of my father), but I believe I was conceived in the mind of God BEFORE my mother and dad even “hooked up.”
Although I don’t believe we can define anyone’s purpose for them, I do believe we can help each other find it, by getting each other to ask better questions of our manufacturer and allowing our manufacturer to reveal it to us in our heart. If this sounds a little to deep for comfort, allow me to make it very simple.
I believe there are three general steps in finding, accepting, and living your God-given purpose in life. In order to understand this process, I will use a simple metaphor – a gift. You are a gift. Your life is a gift. Your gift is made up of your unique, talents, skills, gifts, and abilities – what I like to call your spiritual DNA (your desires, nature, and abilities). If you can grasp this concept – of YOU being a gift, the rest of the explanation will be easy to understand. So take a moment to make sure you understand this concept.
Okay, with that in mind, here’s the process of finding, accepting, and living your purpose:
1. Identify WHAT your gift is (i.e., your unique talents, skills, gifts, and abilities)
2. Determine WHO you would like to share “your gift” with the most (i.e., in your heart of hearts, who do you think could benefit most from your gift?). Identify at least three groups (ex. For me, it’s students, teachers, and men).
3. Choose HOW you’d like to give your gift away. Meaning, there are several ways to share your gift with others; for me it’s teaching, speaking, writing, creating, and researching, among other things. This is when you put your “gift” into action; it’s how you’re going to earn a living doing what you love. The great thing is that you don’t have to pick just one way. Pick the way(s) that excites you the most and taps into your natural abilities. This is where passion comes from, when you give your gift away.
Guess what? That’s it! The purpose of life is simply to know what your gift is, and to use it in a way that benefits others while bringing joy to your manufacturer (all at the same time). The way I personally describe it as it applies to my own life is simply this: To use my God-given gifts (to communicate, motivate, and educate) to achieve God-given goals (to serve and support others). I would encourage you to adopt your own mission statement for your life, and it let it be your compass. Because one of the worst things you could ever do in life is to NOT know what you want, and spend all of your life trying to get it. Think about it.
Stay in His grip!
Your Study Verse: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)
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