One Summer afternoon. I was sitting on the couch, eyes staring at the ceiling. But I wasn’t just enjoying the summer sunlight streaming through the window. I was desperately asking the question, “What is my purpose in life?” I had been unemployed for nearly six months. Even though I had submitted my resume to many places, no-one was calling. What now? I felt stuck. What was the right answer? I felt like God was leading me to leave my last job—so I did. But I didn’t know what was next and it was extremely discouraging.
When I went through that season of questioning, I had so many people telling me I had made a mistake and really what I needed the most during that time, was encouragement.
Is that you today?
Are you asking the same question, “What is my purpose in life?” Well friend, I want to be that encouragement for you and share what has helped me to persevere when life is disappointing.
Why Is Finding Your Purpose Important?
I’d like to say that my experience I first shared—how I left a job without having another job—brought about me finally finding my purpose in life. But the truth is, the job loss was only one part of the story. At the time my job was “my purpose” because what I thought was my purpose in life, wasn’t happening at all. And I also felt like it was completely out of my control.
Throughout my young teens, twenties and early thirties my one heart’s desire was to be a mom and wife. But despite this great desire, I was constantly faced with a disappointing reality. I never had a boyfriend. Likewise, it felt like no one wanted to date me—at least anyone that I was attracted to and that I felt like I could actually marry. Without dating, it meant I’d never get married and never have children.
Even though I desired these things deeply—did that mean that wasn’t my life purpose?
The defining moment for me really was when I had to face the question:
“How can I reconcile what I thought my purpose in life was—with reality?”
The reason finding your purpose is so important to you is because it is deeply rooted in how God created you. It’s specific to you—not anyone else! Your purpose is yours—not someone else’s! And when you discover your purpose, it’s like something deeper comes alive in you and you feel like; “This is what I was born to do!”
If you’re looking for what your life’s purpose is, remember this, I was, jobless with no prospects of marriage in the near future, but I eventually found my purpose. And you can too! So, what did I do? I’ll share with you.
What Does It Mean to Find Your Purpose?
So, what does it mean to find your purpose? Often we think of finding our purpose as something that we do—either our work, ministry, or our role. For some people they grow up always knowing that they wanted to be a teacher or a doctor. And for some, it has become their life’s purpose. But, it turns out that finding my purpose was never really about being a wife and mom, only. It was more about the reason why I felt God was calling my heart to that desire.
Becoming a wife and mom meant that I would be loved and would be able to love my own children. And with that, I was passionate about wanting to do that well. To honor and respect my husband—to be his companion, friend, and helper. Raising children was honorable to me—a way that I could guide, train, and watch them grow in the Lord and to live a godly life.
Finding my purpose wasn’t really about what I did or who I am—a wife, a mom, or a teacher.
The more I wrestled with trying to find my purpose, over time, God began to show me that those desires to be a wife and mom didn’t have to go to waste. He helped me to see that finding my purpose was really more about why I was passionate about being a wife and mom.
And I truly believe this is true for all of us too.
How do you discover your purpose in life?
Think for a moment about the person who’s life purpose is to be a doctor. There’s usually a reason why they want to be a doctor—and that is the real answer to finding your purpose. It’s why we do what we do.
And this is how you can discover your purpose in life too.
Maybe for you, you are looking for something meaningful, something that makes you come alive. Am I right?
But before you can discover that purpose—exactly what it is you’re supposed to do or feel like you’re led to do in life—you have to understand why you have this drive in the first place. Otherwise you’ll just end up doing what others think you should or even what you think you should, because it seems logical.
Like when everyone said that my purpose in life was to be a teacher!
I was a natural with kids and there were a lot of teachers in my family. Seems logical, that I become a teacher, right? But after 3 years of being enrolled in the student education program at my college, being a teacher was the last thing that “felt right” to me. I hated being up in front of a whole class of students, but I really enjoyed interacting with students one–on–one. Fast forward to years later, I now homeschool our son. And believe me, this was the last thing I ever thought I would do. But, all those years I spent in the education program really prepared me for now.
To discover my purpose in life, I needed to do be willing to ask those deeper questions of why I wanted to find my purpose. Why did I feel compelled to do something? And you can ask those same questions too. When you do, it will reveal to you the why—the real purpose that you are longing for passionate about.
Finding Your Purpose in God
What if you’re not sure at all what your purpose is? When I did become a wife and eventually a mom, I faced the question, again. “What is my purpose in life?” Even though all along, I felt like being a wife and mom was my purpose in life! It mainly came about because I felt like a failure—and like I was losing myself in the process of motherhood. But I needed to be reminded, as Christians, God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). With that being said, He began teaching me very specifically through the Bible that He has given us a blueprint for living a godly life that is guided by His principles and priorities.
Finding my purpose in life came about by finding my purpose in God. Take heart, friend, He is with you and you’re not alone, He will also give you great peace and direction as you look to find your purpose in God, too!
- God Created You Uniquely
First of all, God has created you uniquely. I briefly mentioned this before, but He has gifted you with many things! Some of these things you might not even consider as “gifts” because they don’t seem like a big deal. But these simple things are important.
God has gifted you with a specific:
- Physical Quotient
- Emotional Quotient
- Cognitive Quotient
- Spiritual Quotient
Quotient is just a fancy way of saying a measurement or quality of something. And for each of us, that quotient is different. One person’s physical quotient is being tall, while another person’s physical quotient might be that they are short. Both qualities can be a strength. Each of these quotients are a part of who God uniquely created us to be as we grow, learn, and live. And these directly relate to your purpose and passion.
Not only is this your identity—but also as a Christian you have your identity in Christ.
- You Have a Role
No matter what stage of life you are in, God has gifted you with a role. And with that role God has also given you guidelines for what your priorities need to be. If you take a look at the whole of scripture, God gives a specific pattern throughout His Word.
As a married Christian woman these are God’s priorities in order:
When I was single, I had a role as a single woman. According to those same biblical principles my first priority was my relationship with God. Secondly, I was to love my immediate family well—my parents and siblings. In addition to that, I was to develop and strengthen healthy friendships with other women and men. Third, it was important for me to work so that I could take care of myself financially and not burden others. Lastly, as a single, I sought out ministry opportunities within my church to mentor and teach young women.
When you understand that you have been created uniquely by God and that He has given you a specific role for this present time, it helps you to find your purpose. The best part about finding your purpose this way, is that it is in alignment with God’s will for your life.
Three Ways You Can Find Your Purpose
As I’ve shared why it’s important to find your purpose and how you can find your purpose in God, there’s something I learned and that I want to encourage you with today. Finding your purpose shifts and changes with the season of life. Secondly, finding my purpose has never been about what I do, but me embracing the passion behind it then using it to bring glory to God and love others well.
To help you put all of this into action by building on your relationship with God and your identity and role, here are three ways you can find your purpose today:
- Relationship with God: Pray and Ask God
The thing that is most encouraging about this journey is that God doesn’t want to make finding your purpose difficult. Pray and ask Him to guide you in identifying the ways He has uniquely created you—so that you can glorify Him with your life. He loves to confirm this for us.
- Identity: Rediscover You
As mentioned above, God has created you very uniquely. Take out a piece of paper and have an honest look at yourself. Write down a list of strengths that you have. What things make you feel like you come alive? What things come naturally easy for you?
Lastly, I want you to take a few moments to really get real with yourself.
What are some thoughts that keep coming to your mind that highlight any weaknesses you have? Typically these thoughts start with, “I never.” or “I should”. Now, I want you to do something with these “weaknesses”. Pray and confess this to the Lord, and ask Him to show you how His strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8–10). Thank Him for how He has blessed you with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
- Role: Take an Inventory
Take some time to look at your current role. Are your priorities in life in alignment with God’s priorities? Do you feel confident in your role? If not, you’re not alone. In fact, if you remember, I wrote about my own story and how I was feeling like a failure.
An Encouragement and Challenge
Maybe it feels like your purpose isn’t being fulfilled, because you are focusing more on your purpose rather than the priority of your role. Or maybe the thing that is discouraging you in life is actually your own thoughts about your identity—your self talk.
Even my own alma mater shares that there are six common signs you can identify that are preventing you from knowing what is God’s purpose for your life. These six things they list include:
- You are deliberately living in sin.
- You lack joy and excitement.
- Your life is not fulfilling.
- You clock in and clock out to work.
- You feel stuck.
- You lack direction for what to do.
While these are good things to consider, in my experience, the confusion about my purpose in life happens most when I don’t have the right perspective of my identity and my role. This results in how I prioritize my life. Consequently my priorities end up being out of order and not in alignment with God’s priorities for my life.
I’ll finish today by leaving you with an encouragement and challenge.
Take some time today to really sit and reflect on these three things: your relationship with God, your identity, and your role. As you do so, my prayer is that you will start to see His plans and purposes for your life. May you truly find the answer you’ve been longing for by finding your purpose in God.