There are three things you cannot walk on campus at my university and not see:
- The color purple (it’s everywhere, seriously).
- Someone doing the “lopes up” sign (kind of like “love” in sign language, except it’s supposed to be an antelope).
- 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.