Category: Advice

The Secret to Discovering Your Purpose

There are three things you cannot walk on campus at my university and not see:

  1. The color purple (it’s everywhere, seriously).
  2. Someone doing the “lopes up” sign (kind of like “love” in sign language, except it’s supposed to be an antelope).
  3. The slogan “FIND YOUR PURPOSE” (plastered on every banner, building… even the website).

Every time I read that slogan… “Find Your Purpose”… I wonder how many people come to GCU searching for purpose, but walk away with a mere diploma in hand.

Purpose is a hot topic amongst ALL Christians (not just the students at GCU), and rightfully so. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard:

I just don’t know what my purpose is.

I am waiting to hear from God about  ____ before making this decision, because I’m not sure if it is His plan for me.

I really want to major in  ____, but I just don’t know if that will be fulfilling God’s purpose for me.

I want to date _____, but I am afraid being with them is not God’s plan for my life.

If you are surrounded by Christian culture, I KNOW you have heard at least one of these thoughts before. Chances are, you’ve even thought one or two of them yourself. Sometimes it seems like determining God’s plan for our lives is like plugging numbers into a massive math equation, and if we don’t choose the right number for the right variable, we will have screwed up for God’s plan for us.

Here’s the bottom line: Nothing you accomplish in your life will give you purpose.

Crazy, right? In a culture that tells us that college degrees, wealth, or even raising a family will give us purpose, we have to realize that none of those things can ever fulfill us. So of that’s the case, what IS God’s purpose for us?

God’s purpose for you is simple… it’s exactly what Jesus told His disciples in John 15.

Your purpose is to love God, be loved by God, and to love others.

That seems like a simple concept, but I think the disconnect lies somewhere in finding where God’s plan for our lives intersects with His purpose for us.

Instead of asking the question: What is God’s plan for my life?

We should be asking: In what ways has God equipped me to love?

I think the key to discovering God’s plan for us is by pursuing the purpose He gave us of loving Him and loving others. However, Jesus never called us to pursue a passive love, but rather an active love.

This is why I believe that discovering God’s plan for our lives is found through an action-oriented pursuit of purpose, rather than a passive waiting game for God to “reveal” His plan.

I have found a greater sense of purpose for my life after implementing the following 4 action-oriented tips to pursue God’s plan, instead of waiting for it… and here they are!

4 Ways to Find Your Purpose:

1.)  Don’t Stay Sitting

If you feel confused about God’s plan for your life, the worst thing you can do is to stay sitting where you are at.

The key to discovering God’s plan for your life is by discovering what your God-given gifts and passions are.

For a long time, I was afraid to try anything new for fear of rejection or being embarrassed. It took me way too long to realize that the only way I could discover the talents that God gave me to give to the world is by going out and living in it. Find activities to explore and things to involve yourself in, because once you find the things you are gifted at and passionate about, you will likely feel more direction on the ways God might be calling you to love others. For example, when I realized I was both good at and passionate about writing & encouraging people, I decided to create this blog, with the purpose of loving people because of my love for Jesus! See how that works?? 😉

2.) Surround Yourself With Community

God works through people, so if you are not surrounding yourself with people, you are missing out on your purpose.

Surround yourself with a community of like-minded people who are willing to encourage you & push you into opportunities of growth. Surround yourself with people with differing perspectives, so that you can learn from them and they can learn from you. With hurting people so that you can comfort them. With joyful people to be encouraged by them. With difficult people to inspire them. With younger people to share wisdom with. With older people to glean wisdom from. Just surround yourself with people, and love them well. I guarantee you will instantly feel a heightened sense of purpose.

3.) Find a Ministry Opportunity

One key to discovering God’s plan for your life is by finding a way to live out your faith. For several years, I felt really purposeless as a person and very dry in my faith because I wasn’t doing anything with it. That’s when I started leading Wyldlife, a Young Life ministry for junior high kids, and my life slowly began to gain a greater purpose.

Ministry doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate… if you’ve found a way to intentionally show a specific group of people Jesus by loving them really well, then you’ve found a ministry opportunity.

Great places to look for these opportunities are churches, schools, organizations, the workplace, or even your own home. Just identify a group of people you have a heart for, and love those people both selflessly like Jesus did.

4.) Eliminate Distractions and Persevere

This might be the last point, but it’s very important, so hear me out.

The world wants to do all that it can to make your feel purposeless, or that God is “withholding” His plan from you.

There will be people who tell you lies about who you are. There will be failures you encounter that cause you to question why you do what you do. There will be thousands upon thousands of other people and their accomplishments to compare yourself to. Whatever you do, PERSEVERE.

Even though God’s purpose for each of us is love, His plan for you is unique… there is no one else with the same set of talents and passions that you have, and no one with the same heart.

Eliminate anything that distracts you from pursuing your purpose, and remember that only YOU can fulfill God’s plan for your life.

I hope that these 4 tips encourage you to pursue your purpose, and give you a greater sense of direction on what God’s individual plan for you might be! Remember:

Stop searching for your purpose.

Know your purpose.

Now, pursue it.

<3, Britt

3 Questions to Ask When Making a “Grey” Decision

Have you ever been faced with a grey decision?

You know, one of those decisions that isn’t black or white. Day or night. Light or dark. East or west. Sweet or sour. Apple or Android (okay, okay, I’ll stop). I’m gonna believe you get the point.

All that, to say this: How do you make a decision that doesn’t have a right or wrong answer?

The more decisions I am faced with in life, the more I am realizing life is full of grey decisions.

It’s not fun, huh?

Recently, I had one of my decisions questioned. Have you been there before? I immediately went into defense mode, trying to justify why my action wasn’t wrong, and what my reasoning was for making the decision. I’d argue my action wasn’t “wrong,” and still think I had some legitimate reasoning. But after giving it a lot of thought and prayer, I am coming to realize this:

Sometimes, NOT doing the wrong thing does not mean you are doing the RIGHT thing.

When we are following Christ, listening to His voice, and immersing ourselves in His word and work, and we make a choice that is wrong or sinful… we know it. We feel convicted, guilty, and remorseful.

But sometimes, when we make a decision that is not inherently wrong, things become fuzzy, and we start to rely on ourselves.

Suddenly, we minimize God from our decision, and elevate our own understanding. Our own ability to handle a decision. Our own knowledge.

Ultimately, it becomes a pride issue. We know best. And that’s a scary place to be.

I’ve recently realized I can improve my decision making in the midst of grey decisions. Because of this, I’ve come up with THREE questions ask myself about before making grey decisions.

 

3 Questions to lead to the “RIGHT” Answer:

1.) Does this decision need to be justified?

Chances are, if you need to justify your decision, it’s not the best decision you can make. Unless you are needing to justify your decision against a faulty perspective, your decisions and actions should be able to speak for themselves.

2.) What would someone who looked at this situation with no additional context say?

I think that most people want to believe that their reputation will speak for itself. However, we live in a world full of judgment, pointed fingers, and people trying to find fault in others. It’s easy to ask ourselves “what would my best friend, who knows my character and fundamental beliefs, say about this decision?”
However, those closest to you have context. They know you.
A better question to ask might be “what would a complete stranger, who knows nothing about me, say about this decision?”
If you don’t like the answer to that question, chances are you won’t like the outcome of that decision.

3.) Am I okay with being defined by this choice?

This is really what it all boils down to.
Perception is reality.
What people think about you is what they will believe about you.
And what people believe about you reflects how they treat you.
Although it’s unfair that we live in a shallow world that does not care to scratch the surface to discover people’s intentions, motives, and heart, we must understand this:

Our decisions are a direct reflection of what we value.

So, although making a decision that isn’t “wrong” may not be a sin, does that decision:

  1. Reflect my heart?
  2. Mirror my motivation in life?
  3. Speak to my character?
  4. Provide evidence for my relationship with Christ?

If the answer those questions is YES, then commit to that decision.

It may not be black or white, but it will certainly feel right.

How to Own Your Decisions

Do you ever feel like the people around you influence your decisions? Or even worse, that people try to make your decisions for you?

If you’ve ever felt like this, let me tell you… you’re not alone.

I vividly remember my senior year of high school. There were a lot of great things about it… the dances, spirit weeks, football games, and traveling. But, there were also a lot of hard things about it, namely, committing to a college.

Choosing what to do after high school is extremely hard due to the fact that there are So. Many. Choices.

Do you stay in school or go straight into the work force? Go to community college or get a job? Stay in state or move out of state? Which major do you choose? What’s your budget?

Choosing a college and major was very challenging for me, because it was hard to narrow my choice down to what I actually wanted. It seemed that EVERYONE in my life had an opinion about what I should do, which was stressful.  By March of my senior year, I realized I was committed to a school that I did not care to attend at all. After coming to the realization that the reason I was going there was because I was influenced by what I thought would make everyone else happy, I decided to switch my decision to the school I actually wanted to go to, GCU.

Have you ever been stuck in a situation like this? Maybe you second guess your decision not to go to college because of the stigma attached to it. Or maybe you are apprehensive to enter into a new relationship with a guy you really like because you know your family and friends aren’t crazy about him. Maybe it’s even as simple as wanting to buy a pair of Vans, but now you’re considering Converse instead, because that’s what is in style.

I think a lot of our indecisiveness is rooted in insecurity. The reason we can’t decide what we want isn’t because we don’t know what we want, but because we don’t know what will make those around us happy.

Here’s the truth: You’ll never be able to own a decision that is not your own.

I think the best way to own our decisions can come from evaluating these simple things: WHAT, WHY & WHEN

WHAT

What does this decision entail? What are the pros & cons of your decision? Do the pros of your decision outweigh the cons?

For example, when I was choosing a college, I made pros & cons lists for each school I was deciding between, and only proceeded with the schools that I decided the pros outweighed the cons. Determining WHAT your decision is about helps your narrow down your decision to factors of importance. If you have reached the point in your decision where he pros prevail, it is important to evaluate the…

WHY

Why are you making this decision? What is both your logical reasoning and your emotional reasoning driving this decision?

Determining why  I wanted to go to each school helped me land at a firm decision. Once I evaluated both my interior and exterior motives, and weighed each decision in the light of logic and emotion, I was able to decide the school that I actually wanted to go to, not the one that just had the most pros vs. cons.

Evaluating WHY you are making a decision is the most important step in the process, because it helps you own your decision. Once you have owned your decision, you can determine:

WHEN

When and how are you going to put this decision into action? What are the practical steps you can take to own this decision?

Once I committed to Grand Canyon University, I enrolled in my classes, registered for housing, picked a roommate, and started to look for ways to get involved on campus. Once I felt confident in my decision, I started to take the necessary steps to make it a tangible reality.

Having a WHEN in mind makes sure you stay committed to your decision, and “seals the deal”.

I have found that following this simple decision making process creates an ownership to all my decisions. Now, when people try to sway my decisions or convince me to change my mind one way or another, I can explain to them exactly why I am committing to a decision, because I have taken the time to OWN my OWN decisions.

From now on, own your decisions… don’t let your decisions own you!