As most teens tend to do, sometime around high school, I began questioning the meaning of life and trying to find my purpose – the (hopefully significant) thing I should do with myself. College was on the horizon and I didn’t want to wander aimlessly through life. I became determined, even obsessed, with figuring out what I was supposed to do, what God wanted me to do.
I entered college as a psychology major, only to find I didn’t like it at all. After nearly a year of floundering, I decided to take a journalism class because I’d always enjoyed writing. It felt good to be in those classes, refining my writing skills. I settled in nicely there still wondering what God wanted me to do.
At the same time, I was a ministry student. At my college, ministry wasn’t a formal major, but it was a classification one could add to one’s degree by taking a series of ministry classes.
I longed to be in ministry and I loved to write. But my Journalism professors didn’t think I could use my journalism degree in ministry, and my ministry advisor couldn’t make any sense out of that combination either, as evidenced by the fact that he sent me to work alongside a hospital chaplain for my internship. Interestingly, even the chaplain kept pushing me toward hospital management careers, as opposed to ministry. Women in ministry was a stretch back in those days and, certainly, women teaching or preaching wasn’t common at all.
As part of the ministry focus, I took personality profiles and spiritual gift assessments to help me find my purpose, but to no avail. By the end of my college experience, nearly seven years after I began seeking my purpose, I had come no closer to deciphering what it was I should do with my life. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered the simple truth that changed everything.
The Two Things I Did (Right) to Find My Purpose
First, Remember it’s All About Love.
When Jesus said all the law hangs on two commands: Love the Lord your God and Love Others as yourself, He was giving us the keys to the Kingdom. It was like a giant hint: Love God and Love Others and you’ll be blessed and happy and fulfilled. The End.
God wants us to live lives of purpose, but (pay attention, because here’s the secret to how I found my purpose) He has already declared what our purpose is: to love Him and love others.God wants us to live lives of #purpose, but He has already declared what our purpose is. #purposedriven Click To Tweet
Hint #1: You’ll find purpose in this: love.
I won’t find purpose in striving to do good deeds (Isaiah 64:6). I will never be satisfied by wealth (1 Timothy 6:10). I was never even able to find my purpose in doing things for God. All of that was meaningless (Ecclesiastes 12).
This is why choosing a profession that has huge financial yields at the expense of loving God and loving others will lead to a superficial, meaningless life, a void of purpose. It is why at the end of a man’s life, he only wishes he’d spent more time loving others.at the #endoflife, a man only wishes he'd spent more time #lovingothers Click To Tweet
Success is never about money and meaning isn’t found in the lack thereof; it’s always about loving God which leaves you filled to overflowing.
And this is what it means to love God:
1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.”
To love God is to obey Him. Even Solomon at the end of his days, after being given all wisdom, after worldly riches and success beyond measure, realized that all of that stuff meant nothing.
The end of the matter is this: fear God and keep His commands. (Ecc. 12:13). Even with all that wisdom, it took him his whole life to realize this simple truth. It’s about obeying God, and obedience is Love.
Hint #3: It is not about doing more, working harder, even about bringing larger offerings of time or sacrifice to God.
Psalm 46:10 says it simply, “Cease striving and know that I am God.”
In other words, just stop! Stop already, and just fall in love with me, your Maker. It all comes back to love.
No matter what I chase in this world, whether it is wealth, status, fame or even calling, I will only find success, only find fulfillment, only find my purpose in falling in love with Yeshua, Jesus. That’s my purpose. That’s your purpose. That is all.It is not about doing more or working harder. #success #purposedriven Click To Tweet
Hint #4: The only thing holding you back from living your purpose is you and your own desires.
The only way to love God, to truly obey Him is to surrender it ALL to Him; and then, every step you take will be directly toward your God-given purpose. You read that right: you have to completely surrender everything you’ve ever thought, dreamed or desired for your life to Him. Give it all up, first, and then allow God to take you wherever He leads.
Secondly, Do What You Love
I promised two things I did right, so this is number 2. However, if you can only do one thing – do the first one. It is far and away more important than this! However, the other thing I did correctly in my search for my purpose was choosing to follow a path of something I have always loved – writing.
Hint #1: The Thing You Love Cannot Be Sin – Sin Only Leads to Death
The Bible is clear that sin leads to death. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, or in other words, a related consequence. If you are in love with your sin, that kind of love will not lead to success, but destruction. And while you may not see an immediate consequence, it is merely on the horizon.
The “do what you love” approach has more to do with finding a passion. If you love building, build things. If you love art, create. I have loved writing since I could hold a pencil so when I was at my deepest floundering place in college, while I was spending time seeking God’s will, I was reminded that the thing I have always loved was writing. Because I was seeking God fervently, I do believe it was He who reminded me of that passion. It was His leading, because ultimately it is something that ignites my heart.
An old friend once told me that you spend too many hours at work to be doing something that makes you miserable. He was right! And that is why I am so thankful I chose to study and work to improve something I love to do. My passion for writing has been a key component in every job I have held and has guided my job searches. As a result, I have loved my past jobs when I’ve been in the professional workforce.you spend too many hours at #work to be doing something that makes you miserable #purposedriven Click To Tweet
After having children and being a stay-at-home mom for several years, I began to seek my calling once again. I couldn’t think of anything I was good at, but it was God, once again, who reminded me that I love to write.
Hint #2: The Thing You Love will Fulfill You – Not Leave You Empty.
When I have the chance to write, to put my ideas and thoughts down on paper, I walk away refreshed and full. When I am selling something, I walk away tired, even if I enjoyed talking with people in the moment. I love talking with people in a small group setting, or sharing things I am passionate about, but in all honesty, I am an introvert and I need time for recovery afterward. Writing isn’t like that for me. Writing refreshes my soul.
My husband, on the other hand, is filled when he is talking with people, sharing the gospel and praying for healings. He is called to be an evangelist. God made you unique, so don’t deny who He made you to be. Your purpose will fill you because it is how God made you. Embrace it and walk into your destiny.
So that’s it. It’s simple, right? Just two things–two things that demand commitment and reject compromise. Yet, if you do just those two things, you will live a life fulfilled and driven by the purpose that God himself has planted within you.
Do you think you can do it? Have you already found your purpose?