The phrase ‘find your purpose’ has been over used! From TED Talks to self-help websites, people have just about had enough of being told to discover why they exist, but as annoying as it might be to hear, finding purpose in life is now more important than ever.
A few days ago, I was reminiscing about my life ‘pre-Instagram’ and how different things were when I hadn’t really been exposed to social networking sites. Back then, life was pretty simple especially because it was a lot easier to focus on your journey. Life seemed like a bubble and the people we were most inspired or challenged by were those in our immediate environment and of course celebrities.
These days, people have much more access to their peers from around the world. Personally, I love that the world is more social and I’m thankful for how it has increased knowledge sharing. You can easily go on Instagram or YouTube and learn a thing or two from your peers.
Sadly, the downside is that some people have become imitators and masters at using the success of others as a yardstick for their own. This is why I think it’s extremely important to talk about purposeful living.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the meaning of life, why I’m here and what I have to give. Knowing the answers to these 3 questions can completely change your perspective on life. What’s interesting is that these 3 questions can ONLY be answered by you.
Before I understood what it meant to live purposefully, I had to go through several phases and experiences. To be honest, I’m not a 100% there yet because discovering what you were made for is a lifelong journey. Several websites and books do a good job of explaining what it means to find purpose but I thought I’d share my personal experience in the hope that it guides someone else on the journey to purposeful living.
Here are a few of the steps I took to find my purpose:
1. It began with faith: From a young age, I kind of always knew what I wanted to do. Being aware of my abilities at an early age was a blessing because I gained a lot of experience doing what I loved. As I grew in my Christian faith, the things I decided to do became more purposeful. Having a relationship with Jesus helped me find answers to questions like – “Why am I here?” and “What gives life meaning?”
Learning more about God led me to understand that we were created for service to him. A lot of times, we forget that. There’s this misconception that God is like some fictional character that was made to answer every wish and give us the life we dream of but that is so false! God is a loving father and so he wants us to have a good life. However, it’s important to remember that we were created by Him and for Him and so the end goal is to give glory to HIS name.
Believing that led me to focus on service to God in every aspect of my life. I became aware of my spiritual gift and how it was for service to God (Romans 12: 5-8).
The talents that we have are a means to use our spiritual gifts. For instance, if you have the spiritual gift of encouraging, you could decide to do that through public speaking, writing, psychological counselling etc. Our interests and talents are not really the focus but what they do is determine how we serve. Your purpose is always bigger than you and it should benefit others in some way.
2. I got to know ME: This was really about discovering who I was – from my interests to my strengths and weaknesses. The important questions to ask yourself here are – “What do I enjoy doing?”, “What will I willingly do without pay or recognition?” “What experiences in my past did I really enjoy?” The answers you come up with will help you figure out some of the things you’re meant to be doing on a daily basis. It might not just be one thing.
3. Focused more on my journey: Focusing on your journey or “staying in your lane” as people call it can be SO difficult. There’s always that competitive spirit that a lot of us have which makes us curious about what other people are doing and how they’re progressing. It’s great to learn from others but focusing too much on what they’re doing will eventually make you feel drained or inadequate. Life is not a race but a journey. When you accept that your path might be different, you will be comfortable with growing at your own pace.
4. Did more of what I loved: I struggle with consistency (always have) but I’m learning to be more intentional about doing the things I was created to do. When you discover the things you love, don’t stop doing them. Continuously open yourself up to experiences that will keep you on a journey of self-discovery.
5. Decided to live life on my own terms: I’ve always believed that nothing (no person/situation) should ever control or dictate your life, because it’s YOURS! It makes me sad when people stay in jobs they hate or live by a routine they’re uncomfortable with. It’s up to you to walk towards the life you want. Life was made to be exciting even with all the challenges ahead of us; having something to live for is what makes life interesting. People will present you with opportunities that may seem attractive but are not in line with your purpose. It’s okay to say NO to them. There’s nothing as satisfying or rewarding as walking in your purpose.
6. Pledged to make every day count: Every day is a lesson. You don’t have to figure it out all at once. The fact that you’re on that journey is all that counts. Sometimes I worry about all the things I have to do – the big and little things, but it’s important to always keep your mind on the fact that it’s all a service and one day you’ll be greatly rewarded for living purposefully.
Every day, I discover more of what I was made to do. It’s a process that I’m grateful for. If you’re trying to find purpose, be patient with yourself but never give up on discovering who God made you to be.
Got questions? Please leave them in the comment box or hit me up through the contact page. xo