Why am I here? Has that weighty question about your purpose ever settled over you? It’s a question that philosophers through the ages have tackled. There are many different views, however all views agree that purpose is a big deal. As Christians, our view is shaped by the good news of the work of Christ. It’s pretty simple: we were created to glorify God, (Rom 11:36) however, it’s just not that easy.
Living with the purpose to glorify God can take on many shapes and forms, that’s why it gets so overwhelming. Well, maybe for some of you it doesn’t, but I think for most of us it does. In my 30’s I wrestled with knowing God’s will so that I could live on purpose for Him. When I say wrestle, I mean I literally developed an ulcer! (Clearly, I was doing everything wrong!)
My struggle actually started after I graduated from college, got married, and had my first child. There was work in between there, but nothing that fulfilled me. I sat in this space of my life thinking…
“I’ve done everything I’m supposed to. Now what?”
At the age of 27 I had come to a dead end. I was living the American Dream, but wondered how I could feel so empty and unfulfilled?
This purpose stuff can get under your skin because, in a sense, it’s part of our spiritual DNA. We were made on purpose, for a purpose. So, it was no wonder that I chaffed and struggled to figure out the meaning of my life.
We all need to feel like there’s a reason for being; this is one of our basic emotional needs. This need is huge because we attach our worth to it, which impacts our identities. The health of who I am (body, mind, heart & soul) is dependent on knowing our purpose.
There are two important dimensions to purpose, says William Damon, a professor at Stanford University:
1. A stable and far reaching goal: to which we are always working. It motivates our behavior and serves as the organizing principle of our lives.
2. Contribution to the world: A part of one’s personal search for meaning. The desire to make a difference in the world. To contribute to matters larger than the self.
Living purposefully requires self-reflection and self-knowledge. Out of that discovery we will find that we each have a different, personal purpose. One that fits with who we are and what we value.
The search for, and the living out of purpose is healthy for Christians, because it simultaneously takes us inside and outside of ourselves. This dual exploration contributes to our sanctification, or becoming more like Christ, as we grow to know both God and ourselves.
In that ulcer stage of my life, I was doing the good work of knowing God better; through fantastic Bible studies, retreats, church attendance and serving. But I didn’t gain any real ground until I balanced it with the work of discovering my gifts, talents, passion, personality and mission. Through time, with prayer, devotion and exploration, my purpose was shaped:
1. My stable and far reaching goal was to become more like Christ.
- I learned what Jesus was like and discovered areas within myself where I fell short. Closing that gap was, and is, always a major motivator.
2. My contribution to the world is the result of me learning how to close that gap.
- I have a desire to help others find their purpose and close their own spiritual/emotional gaps through coaching.
My personal mission statement is to Make a Difference in the Difference Makers. Once God brought me to that discovery, it was easier for me to figure out His will. Although, before I figured out my mission statement, God had mercy on my anxious search for His will by revealing that the best way I can glorify Him was by loving well, right where I was at.
This is the hope I share with you today; if you are struggling to find your meaning and purpose, know that wherever you are, you can glorify God by loving well. While you are loving well, God will move you along on your journey to find your purpose and the soul-quenching fulfillment that comes along with it.
I have a little something for you while you are on this journey. It’s a coaching tool I’ve developed, called Kingdom Impact Statement and it’s a character signature that reflects aspects of your entire spirit: body, mind, heart and soul. When you live from all of these spaces, you experience wholeness.
Your personal statement reflects how you want to grow as a Christian. The words you choose are ways you desire to be more like Christ. Your statement becomes a work-in-progress prayer that fully depends on God to shape both you, and your God-given purpose. It looks like this – here’s mine: In Christ, I am a humble, healing, focused and purposeful woman of God. As I said, this is my work-in-progress prayer. It’s not that I have achieved them, it’s that it’s my hope that as I become more like Christ, I can develop these specific character traits. My heart wants this, and the more I tell my brain this, the more it will work toward it.
The Kingdom Impact Statement is a simple, free, downloadable PDF worksheet that guides you into an individualized, personal statement. It works on the internal part of the purpose equation. If you are a member of my email family you will receive it in this month’s email.
Your purpose is wrapped into your body, mind, heart and soul and your Kingdom Impact Statement helps you shape some of the first steps on your purpose journey. Even if you are firmly rooted in your purpose, developing your Kingdom Impact Statement enhances where you’re at.
Let me close with an excerpt from The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, that shows how living on purpose glorifies God:
Jesus told the Father, “I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to.” (John 17:4) Jesus honored God by fulfilling his purpose on earth. We honor God the same way. When anything in creation fulfills its purpose, it brings glory to God. Birds bring glory to God by flying, chirping, …Even the lowly ant brings glory to God when it fulfills the purpose it was created for. God made ants to be ants, and he made you to be you. St. Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive!”
Live on purpose, and if you don’t know how that is supposed to look, love on purpose while you search.
I encourage you to experience a few coaching sessions to help discover or clarify your purpose. As a Christian Life Coach, I can help you move from where you are to where God wants you to be. If you’d like to explore this further, then let’s chat. I’d love to be your champion in what God is calling you to do!
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