As I see it, there are three major stages to obtaining purpose in life. Finding it, doubting it, and understanding it.
The first stage, finding our purpose, can feel like this deep sense of yearning, like there is something greater in life and you’re willing to pay the price to reach it. I’ve been there. I talk about it often. It felt like a mid-life crisis when I suddenly realized that the world didn’t exist for my comfort and pleasure. On the contrary, I existed to love and serve others, as well as God. That’s not always comfortable but with it, there is meaning.
I’m in the second stage of my purpose where I have a direction, a path, but I often question it. I question it because I have to rely on God constantly and that doesn’t feel right. It’s uncomfortable. Relying on myself feels normal, but doing that always ends the same way, with that empty feeling of there must be more to life than this. God calls us to live beyond normal.
“I just don’t know if all of this work will ever amount to anything,” I told my mentor.
To which she replied, “that’s why it’s called faith.” Then she added, “If you didn’t work on this, what would you work on?”
It was a rhetorical question. She knows the answer is nothing. I’d probably binge-watch Netflix and complain to her that there isn’t any meaning in my life. She’s more sure of my purpose than I am some days. But we need that. We need people who come beside us and tell us the truth when it’s hard for us to see it.
God has been gracious enough to put those people in my life who continue to nudge me forward. The encouragers, friends and strangers, who tell me to keep up the good work because it helps them.
Let us not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
I told my husband the other day, “I feel like I should just give up. I don’t know if my (unpublished) book will even make a difference in this world.”
Jose replied, “that’s not up to you.”
You know that feeling when someone says something, and you feel it grab a hold of your spirit? That feeling that God spoke directly to you through that person? That’s what it felt like when I heard those words.
That’s not up to you.
It's the wrong response to uncertainty that derails us from continuing to walk in our purpose. It’s listening to that voice that says we’re entitled to know how it’s all going to turn out. It’s in the place of mystery, when we’ve been given a direction but cannot see the end of the road, that we come to a choice. We can continue to take one step at a time, although each one can feel like it's leading nowhere, or we can give up and walk away, finding comfort in the low hanging fruit that provides immediate, yet fleeting satisfaction.
There was a time when many of Jesus’s disciples deserted him because they didn’t understand the direction He was giving. Jesus turned to the remaining twelve and asked, “don’t you want to leave too?”
Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:60-70)
We don’t need to follow our God-given purpose to be saved, but without it, we give up the flavor of life. When I want to indulge, or I just really need some comfort food, I’ll find something salty and then something sweet because I want my food to be packed full of flavor!
God says that we are to be the salt of the world. (Matthew 5:13) Living life according to the purpose for which God created us not only makes our world rich and full of flavor, it creates goodness for others.
God has given each of us a unique purpose. He didn’t ask us to worry about the outcome, only to do the task that has been put in front of us. Although it may not be as often as we'd like, we're going to find meaning along the path. It will be worth it. Worrying about the outcome? That’s up to Him.
What's the hardest thing about being in the first steps of you purpose? How do you keep moving forward? I'd love to hear from you in the comments section!
Find and follow my 100 Day Challenge to find God in my every day at #IFoundGodIn