In the Christian community we consistently hear all about how we can find the purpose God has for us and use it to impact the world around us. And while that is 100% true, there is another message within the broader idea that can cause some unnecessary worry and, often times, a relentless pursuit of something God doesn’t need us to pursue at all.
I believed that part of the message for a long time – up until recently if I’m being honest. It wasn’t until I really started to dig into the Word and pay attention to all the calls Jesus placed on our lives that I really began to understand the truth of what it means to find my purpose in this world.
We have all believed the lie…
I have a feeling many of you may also be struggling with this. You’re praying and exploring and stressing out over what your purpose in this life is and how you can fulfill the Great Commission through your love of writing, design, or fitness. It’s exhausting isn’t it? To constantly wonder if you’re majoring in the right thing or to question why you didn’t get that dream job when this is the passion God placed on your heart. Maybe you’re just longing for a family because you feel like your purpose might be motherhood and that dream feels as if it’s slipping farther and farther away each year. Well, I’m here to tell you two things: One, I completely understand how you feel. And, two, you need to forget everything you think you know about pursuing your purpose because most of the things you have been told are not entirely true and especially not rooted in Scripture.
I once believed that I would find infinite joy when I discovered my purpose. When I finally nailed down the ONE thing God placed me on this earth to do I would no longer struggle to get up early and go to work, I would no longer be exhausted after a long day, and no matter how much stress might be surrounding me I would at least feel fulfilled in my work. The trouble came when two thoughts occurred to me: the first being that I am passionate about many things and the second being that if I’ve been created with a passion for something then it means that passion must/will be used to both spread the gospel and fill my bank account.
This thought process lead me to this strange cycle of working in one field I was passionate about but longing for another. It caused me to obsess over the fact that I didn’t love getting up every day to do that which I had studied in college and gained experience with in previous positions. It made me absolutely miserable to be around. I was constantly complaining about what was once the thing I was sure God wanted me to do – never really acknowledging the fact that I never I really consulted Him about it. No, I assumed that because it was something I was “passionate” about then it must be what He wants me to do with my life – no room for change or debate.
Of course, I counted myself blessed that I knew what I was passionate about and I had a job in the field I studied – a BS in Interior Design was not exactly a guarantee of employment. I tried not to feel bad for myself because I knew so many women struggling to just figure out what they were passionate about — and therefor discover their purpose, according to what we all see on Instagram. So, I tried to force myself to feel grateful since I supposedly knew my purpose (again, simply because I knew I enjoyed Interior Design).
Discovering the truth…
It wasn’t until recently that I really discovered the truth about the commonly stated ideas on purpose in the Christian community: they aren’t entirely truthful. And, if I’m being honest, you can scroll back to some of my very first blog posts and find me writing all the same things about pursuing your purpose. I was so caught up in this complicated concept of what it meant to dig deep into discovering the very specific thing God wanted me to do for His Kingdom. I was so caught up in “pursuing purpose” that I missed the entire point.
I’m constantly asked by readers and followers how I knew that running this blog and writing were my purpose. How did I figure out what God wanted me to do? I used to give generic answers like “I knew He placed this passion in my heart for a reason and I just couldn’t say no to it any longer.” But, now that I have spent some time truly seeking Him, I give a much more honest answer: my purpose is not to write or blog. My purpose is not the career field that perfectly aligns what I love with sharing the gospel. My purpose is simple and it has been the same my entire life. My purpose, as is yours, is to simply know Him and make Him known.
Friend, it truly is that simple. Pursuing your purpose is not complicated. In fact, your purpose does not require a pursuit at all. The life of Jesus, His instructions for His disciples, and the life of Paul all point to the same conclusion: Christ-followers all share the same purpose and that purpose does not change. We may approach it different ways. In fact, chances are that our own individual approaches will change many times throughout our lives.
This may seem like an oversimplification of the concept but I’m sharing it with such simplicity because I am constantly approached by young women who feel so distraught for “not knowing their purpose.” I want to ease your mind, friend – this is not something you have to exhaust yourself over. If your heart’s desire is to serve the Lord and you are prayerfully seeking Him, He can use you anywhere in any capacity to fulfill your purpose. As you grow, find new interests, walk through challenging seasons of life, and find the things that fit your current lifestyle or priorities you will find that your purpose stays steady. Take comfort in that! Your life will be a roller-coaster just like everyone else’s; but, your purpose will stay in a straight line consistently bound for the same destination.
Let it go…
So, take this as your permission to let this whole pursuit of purpose go. You can stop trying to find the answer to the one single thing you were placed on this earth to do. Focus on this question instead: how can you, right now in THIS season of your life, seek to know Him better and make Him known to those around you? That’s it. Focus on that and determine to focus on it through every season and you will find that your pursuit of purpose is much easier.
Be open to change, try new things, prioritize the Word, and never let anyone make you think that you have to dig deep into your soul to discover a grand purpose placed on your life. The truth is that no matter how deep you dig you will never find a purpose more grand or more pleasing to the Lord than to get up every day with a heart to pursue HIM and a determination to show the rest of the world why that is the pursuit you care about most.