Having spent the better part of the last five years trying to find God’s purpose for my life, I speak from experience when I say that the first thing you must recognize is that finding your purpose is NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s about God.
The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.Frederick Buechner
With that said, here are 3 things to get you started on your way to finding God’s purpose in your life:
1. Establish a close personal relationship with God. This is the foundation for everything; make this a top priority in your life. I cannot stress this enough! This is where you start. You cannot find God’s purpose in your life if you do not even know who God is. You must get to know Him.
To my surprise, this was a very difficult thing for me. Growing up, I did not have a close relationship with my father. He saw his job as providing financially for our family and he did his job well, but he rarely provided fatherly advice and never allowed us to ask questions about anything. He considered questions to be disrespectful. I loved my dad and he loved me, but it was not a close relationship. Because of that relationship, I grew up thinking my heavenly Father was also a strict parent who was there to discipline me when I did something wrong and to make sure my basic needs were met. It never occurred to me that I could ask him questions or talk to Him about my problems. I had to learn that in order to get to know God personally, I had to make praying and reading my bible part of my daily routine. It is a relationship, so I had to learn to treat it like one. Like me, you must also learn to be an active participant in the relationship. Set aside time to talk to God, ask for His advise, tell him your struggles, etc. He wants this relationship with you and He is not afraid of your questions. What a blessing it is to have finally established my own close personal relationship with God!
If you need help connecting with God on a personal level, then I suggest The Quest Study Journal by Beth Moore. This bible study literally changed my life because it walked me through how to have a personal relationship with God. The study also made me realize that in trying to find my purpose, I was making one huge mistake without even realizing it: I was trying so hard to find my purpose that I was seeking my purpose more than I was seeking God, Himself. Seek God first, then the purpose will come.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.Matthew 6:33 NIV
2. Be in the word. I had a good friend advise me that if I wanted to find my purpose that I must be “in the word.” As I thought about what that really meant, I realized that it was more than just reading the Bible. It was internalizing it and meditating on it. Being in the word is not merely reading the word, but reflecting on it, praying about it, absorbing it, and really applying it to your life.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
3. Seek wise counsel. Get a spiritual mentor and seek his/her counsel. Proverbs 1:5-6 talks about the importance of getting guidance and seeking wise counsel. Our thoughts will be limited if we only rely on our own personal knowledge. We must seek guidance from those wiser than us, as such wisdom is needed for us to mature into our purpose. The wisdom I am speaking of is the wisdom defined in James 3:17.
[T]he wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.It comes from heaven and is pure, peace-loving, considerate submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.James 3:17 NIV
About a year ago, I found my spiritual mentor. Her name is Rachel Hopkins and she and her husband pastor our church. She possesses much wisdom in every sense of that definition and I would never have found my purpose without her. Rachel offers godly guidance but allows me to be real with her and be who God created me to be. She is and will continue to be essential to my purpose.
When you are seeking to find God’s purpose for your life, do not be surprised if He calls you to do something that is out of your comfort zone. I love the saying, “a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” How true that can be when your purpose is spreading the word of God. He calls us to do what He needs us to do, whether it is in our comfort zone or not. In fact, God often calls us to jobs that we did not apply for!
Over four years ago, when God first revealed to me that He wanted me to tell my story, it was literally the last thing in the world that I wanted to do. As an attorney, I had spent my career telling the stories of my clients but had never once had a reason or a desire to tell my own. Finally, after three and a half years of saying no, at the urging of my spiritual mentor, I finally told my story for the first time this year at our church’s women’s retreat in front of 55 women. And that was only the beginning of things God has called me to do that have been out of my comfort zone. I felt the exact same way when God put on my heart to start this blog. Why would He want me to start a blog, I thought? I am not a writer in the conventional sense. My experience is in legal writing and I definitely write to convey information, not to share personal stories. It still doesn’t make sense to me but it is clear to me that it is His plan. I do have faith though, and so must you, that if God calls you to a particular job then He will most certainly equip you to do it.
(**I have no affiliation with Beth Moore or Lifeway Christian Resources.)