Finding your purpose
I appreciate the terrific book written several years ago by Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life. However, “purpose-driven” (Type A or D Profile) individuals can be difficult. I’ve learned that boundaries need to in place, if fulfilling your purpose is what motivates you. It is good to be passionate about your purpose, but family and relationships are important. Parents, pastors and CEO’s must know this. I’ll come back to “people-focused” motivation later.
What about having a “presence driven” life? By that I mean pursuing the presence of God. The presence of God is often neglected. It is a wonderful secret to having a happy life and being a satisfied Christian.
Americans are so busy pursuing things — money, self-fulfillment, personal pleasure — that we make “being the best you” into a theme. That is an imperfect goal. Being Christ-like is a better goal. As a byproduct, pursuing the Lord and His plan will shape you into the best version of you and make you a blessing.
What’s your motivation? Sadly, people drift through life without finding their fire. To help identify your purpose, ask yourself, “What causes me to feel God’s pleasure? What gives me joy? What is it I can do that is SO satisfying, I would do it even if no one paid me.
For me, it’s writing or teaching, especially sharing God’s word or explaining His ways. I love to share what the Lord has shown me. I love teaching God’s word so much I would gladly pay to do it — and I have. Musicians feel this way. Artists also. People who pray a lot are like this. They are self-motivated.
Having a genuine sense of mission — knowing the reason you exist — can help you overcome the hurdles that hold lesser people back. How do you define success? Find out why God put you here. Be industrious about doing your Father’s business. Stick to that path. It brings real rewards.
The Bible says, “Whoever does the will of God abides forever.” That’s an amazing promise! Hey, that would make a good headstone — “He did the will of God.” I’ll never forget the time the Lord brought me up short in a serious think-about-it moment. We’d returned from Africa and were taking some time to consider our next step.
The Lord kept asking me, “How do you measure success?” The question kept intruding into my thoughts anytime I was alone with the Lord. At first, I ignored it. Then I realized it was not an idle thought; it was God. I had never considered the question before. I assumed I knew. I thought, if I fulfill my ministry, if I do what God called me to do, then I will be a success. But that was not the total answer.
I won’t go into the details, but it was quite an experience to grasp what God was saying to me. I finally realized the Lord was making me reconsider my mission. It was no longer about me or my ministry: it was about a larger purpose. My new success would come only when I learned to help others find and fulfill their calling. My new goal has become enabling others to discover their ministry or grace gifts. I like to equip believers to serve, and thereby produce more fully devoted followers of Jesus.
If we discover our purpose in life we can enjoy doing it for the glory of God. As a side benefit, we may earn a good living by serving the church (or the world) with our God-given abilities.
— Ron Wood is a writer and minister. Email him at email@example.com or visit www.touchedbygrace.org. The opinions expressed are those of the author.