Why finding your life purpose is a winding journey
I'm wondering if you are anything like me. I launched myself onto my own personal quest after graduating from college. I was bound and determined to find my life purpose and live it out.
At the time, my life purpose equalled a job. I knew that if I could discover the right job that was fulfilling and meaningful, I would design a life I loved. I would find true joy. I would find contentment in all that I was doing.
My quest started with a job I fell into and while interesting - I knew it wasn't my destiny. I had fallen into the import/export industry and from that time knew there was something more. I wanted to help people with their faith. That would be meaningful.
After those first few months in the real world, I knew my destiny was a job in ministry. I signed up for night classes at the local seminary to get training. I volunteered in a church youth group to learn more about what this would entail.
I eventually moved 3 states away from my immediate family to attend seminary for realz and learn the crafts of the trade I was convinced was my life purpose. I attended a local church and once again got involved in volunteer ministry - to learn more and to see where God would lead me.
I graduated seminary this time without much of a flare - still working an import/export job and knowing my destiny was in the church. Eventually, my "big break" happened. I applied for a part-time job in ministry at the church I was attending. I was hired. After 15 years of adulting, I was finally going to start living my purpose.
I worked part-time for a year which turned into a full-time position. I had finally arrived. I had found my purpose. I got to work in my purpose everyday. And it was great! Until it wasn't...
Several years in I began to burn out. My interests had taken a turn to writing and speaking. And to be honest, I started to wonder if I had heard wrong all those years when I landed on my life purpose. Maybe God hadn't said to work in church ministry.
I eventually left there after hearing the still quiet whisper of God (or at least what I'm hoping was God). I started my own businesses and while I love what I do - my last transition was not only a purpose transition. It was a thought transition.
As I transitioned from employed in ministry to self-employed, my thinking on finding life purpose changed. In fact, my whole journey led me to a new way of thinking about life purpose.
Life is about the journey and not the destination
In my own journey, I had made my purpose about a destination. I truly felt that once I arrived at living the purpose of church ministry - I would be complete. And I'm wondering if you, too, have some dream you've never accomplished that has become your destination. It may be a career. A business. A stage in life like being a mom or a wife.
Whatever that destination is - your purpose and identity are not found there. What I love about this quote is that life is about who we are becoming as we journey. Our life purpose isn't solely found in a role or a job, it's found in learning to live like and for Jesus in the moments in between. I lost sight of that early on - but love that I get to remind myself daily to focus on the journey instead of when I'll finally arrive as a business owner today.
Our life purpose is not a job
I made the mistake early on and believed my life purpose was a job I would do. So, I took the next logical step and looked for the "perfect" job to match my life purpose. The reality is that I never found the "perfect" job. Every job, including the one of being a business owner, is flawed and hard and to be honest, something I'm tempted to quit.
Here's two of my recent thoughts on life purpose. Life purpose, no matter what you do for a living, it wrapped in the Gospel. Life purpose is about who we are becoming in Christ and inviting others to become in Christ with us. In short, our life purpose is wrapped into God's story. And while we may be waiting for a job we love or a life situation we thought we would always have, we get to live out the purpose of being living for Jesus and sharing our story with the world around us.
Our life purpose is a message
I was shocked to discover this really. I had been pursuing my life purpose as a job for most of my adult life. But one day - in the middle of my life coaching certification classes - our trainers led us through this tool on your life message. And I realized that my purpose isn't wrapped up in a skill I have or a job I can do.
Instead, I realized that each of us have a message to share with the world. How do we get that message? Stay tuned to the blog next week for part 2, but here's a sneak peek: our experiences, our story, and our gifts all combine to give us a life message to share with the world. And what I realized that day in the coaching classroom was this:
You and I can live our life message in any job in any location
No matter where I am - no matter what I do, I can consistently share my life message with the people God puts in your life. I love this! You and I don't have to have our perfect job figured out to start living with purpose. We live our message. We inspire others. We bring glory to God.
Do you have a life message or theme God has placed in your life? I'd love to hear how God has worked in your life to help you understand purpose, your life message, and how to live with purpose in your everyday life. Simply comment here or on the One Foot facebook page!