How do you know what your purpose is in life? Have you ever struggled with the question of what you’re supposed to be doing with your time here on earth? Have you ever wondered why some people seem to know exactly what they are doing but you’re completely unclear about it? Then this episode is for you.
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Many women I talk to wrestle with the question of purpose and calling on their lives. Often I find myself saying to my husband, “What am I doing with my life?” This issue of purpose and calling is a big one, and that is what Holly and I are discussing in this episode. This is the 2nd episode in our purpose series.
But first, something fun: the day this episode airs is my birthday! To celebrate, we want to invite you to join our Facebook group so that we can get to know you better. I love getting to know the women in the Purposeful Leadership group, so enter your name and email below to join us:
Often we use the word “calling” as Christians instead of “purpose”. Either way, we are usually referring to the idea of God’s will for your life. A specific path that God wants you to walk in order to be fulfilled and to please him.
We often overthink this and GET STUCK!!
God does have an overarching purpose for all of us – to love God, love others, and to make disciples. No matter our job or our role, this is our ultimate purpose.
Sometimes God DOES speak specifically to us about a mission or task or role that he has for us. Some of us seem to know innately what our greater purpose is from a very young age. Most of us though don’t get that clear of a call that young.
That kind of uncertainty can leave us feeling a bit lost. I was struggling with this about 3 years ago and I found couple of podcasts that helped me.
Chalene Johnson discussed the issue of purpose in this episode. She said your gift is your tool – it’s what you do and how you do it. Then she said that your passion is your current area of interest – where are you currently loving using that gift? That’s your passion.
PURPOSE = gift + passion
So your purpose is how you want to help people by using your gift and your passion.
He talks about the idea that there are 3 components involved, and that the place where these intersect are where you find your calling:
- Passion – things that get you excited and that you love doing
- Proficiency – things you are naturally good at
- Profitability – things that you can earn money doing
Both Holly and I agree that purpose doesn’t necessarily have to make you money to qualify. But we do both think that your purpose does need to involve other people.
My definition of purpose is the place where you come fully alive AND that blesses other people in the process.
Holly’s definition of purpose is an influence you have that scares you the most but makes you feel the most alive.
Finding Your Purpose:
There are a variety of ways to find your purpose, and we discuss some of them.
These are gifts God gives us when we come into relationship with him and their goal is to establish, build, and uplift the church to glorify God. You can check out more about spiritual gifts in general here and you can take the test here.
Holly felt like her results (Leadership/Administration, preaching, mercy) were like looking into a mirror and validated some things she didn’t know were a spiritual gifts in her life.
The spiritual gifts can be useful because it can point out things you never realized about yourself and it can give you a sense of confidence in serving.
Natural or innate gifts:
Things that you are just “born with” or that come really easily to you. These are different from spiritual gifts that you receive when you come into a relationship with Christ.
This might be things like: academics, sports you are great at, music, art, writing, cooking.
Holly feels that one of her natural gifts is problem solving and I have always loved writing. These are things come easily to both of us.
How to figure out your natural gifts:
- What do you ENJOY doing?
- What came easy to you in school?
- What can you talk about all day that others don’t really understand?
- Ask people you are closest to you what they think you are good at.
- What has God given you? Wealth, a business, a platform, skills, a knack for something?
You might also want to discover your strengths using Strengths Finder as we discussed in Episode 9.
Another part of finding your purpose is to know what your passions are. What makes your heart race? What compels you?
Probably these are things you are thinking about and doing already. But sometimes your passions get ignored or pushed to the side, especially if you have to prioritize family or work needs above your own needs.
One of my passions is travel and I especially love Guatemala. A recent volcano eruption reawakened that passion in my life and I felt like I HAD to do something. You can read about that here.
Finally, your experiences are part of discovering your purpose. Are there any major life experiences that have shaped you? Any that you seem to consistently go back to?
Holly talks about how infertility shaped her and how she has been able to use that to minister to others. It has become her passion because she doesn’t want anyone to go through infertility alone.
Start where he put you and where he is leading you. Often times we find our loves by getting involved in something. Do you see a need others don’t? Do you know how to fill it? Start there.
I found the book Restless by Jennie Allen* pivotal in my journey to finding my purpose. Going through the book helped me to begin to embrace how God has wired me and the things he has prepared me to do based on my past experiences.
Holly shared how having the opportunity to help with our women’s retreat has been part of discovering her purpose. This year, she was able to speak at the retreat, which made her feel alive and terrified all at once. She felt that God was working through her through this experience.Finding your purpose includes understanding your gifts, passions, and experiences that God has given you.Click To Tweet
Living Your Purpose:
Your purpose also does not always look the same throughout your life.
It often is not something that you “arrive” to and then stay there the rest of your life. Many times it may shift and move over the years, based on your current passions. It’s often a messy process.
Living out your purpose is a series of events and experiences; it’s combined with your passions and the things you’re naturally gifted at. All of this can lead you to a place where you feel fulfilled and that you’re living out your purpose.
It’s all about who you are becoming, not just what you are doing. Instead of looking for the specific thing you’re supposed to be doing, ask God who he wants you to become.
“We’re always looking for the destination, the resolution, some form of control. But the journey is where life happens, where love happens, where beauty and pain and joy and all of our hopes and fears happen. It’s not in the control; it’s in the chaos.” – Jon Foreman, 25 in 24*
The issue of finding your purpose is not a cookie cutter discussion or formula. We are all unique and have a unique purpose. We are all on a journey with God and where He is asking us to work with Him. The further you are able to press into your purpose the more fulfilling your day to day can be. It can bring energy and ambition to your days. It can open you up to how you can serve.
Also, your purpose doesn’t mean you having to do something extremely difficult or hard. Most of the time, our purpose is in alignment with how God has made us and what we enjoy. He will stretch us and call for big things out of us for sure, but he isn’t looking to punish you into serving him.
When you are working in your passion and purpose, you’re probably going to be enjoying it!
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