“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” Proverbs 19:21
Have you discerned your purpose in life yet? If you’re not quite sure, then you probably haven’t. Because when you do, it’s like a light bulb switching on. It’s that level of clarity. That level of awakening. You have a life for a reason. God didn’t breath life into you by accident. His breath was intentional. His breath was passionately expelled. You were passionately brought into being, with deep love.
Not understanding and living out your purpose in life can be painful. Why? Because when you aren’t living your own purpose that inherently means you’re living someone else’s.
Not understanding and living out your purpose in life can be painful. Why? Because when you aren’t living your own purpose that inherently means you’re living someone else’s. Doing this embeds deep stress and tension in your mind and body. Your soul knows when it’s not doing the work it was created to do, and it will send signals to you in the form of tension and stress. That’s how you get your own attention! Your life purpose has three elements. This means there are three different kinds of purpose-related stress you can experience:
For some, the stress of not living one’s purpose is skill-based.
You have innate gifts that your brain and body are ready to offer. When you don’t offer those gifts, you suffer. You feel frustrated. Thwarted. Underutilized. Stuck. I could do x, y, and z to far greater effect…so why aren’t I? This gets back to the “what” aspect of your purpose: What were you put on this Earth to do?
For others, it’s ideological.
You want and need to offer your innate gifts to causes you believe in. There is some wiggle room, here. After all, ideological progress is rooted in compromise. And yet, you must be honest with yourself – Are my beliefs gaining more traction than they’re losing as a result of my efforts? This is the “why” aspect of your purpose: Why were you put on this Earth to share your gifts?
If you are investing your gifts toward an ideology to which you do not actually subscribe, the stress will become overwhelming. The scientific name for this form of stress is called cognitive dissonance: forcing yourself to act in ways that are at odds with your true beliefs and values.
And for others, it’s spiritual.
You are personally called to serve a unique sliver of the world’s population. Do you know who those people are? Are they like you? Or, are you called to step to the fringes and serve those who are completely different than you?
Whom were you put on this Earth to serve?
This is the final element of your purpose. It’s also the element that can cause the deepest stress if you aren’t aware of how to fulfill it. This is because rather than being about skills or ideas, this part of your purpose is about your relationships with other people.
Consider, are you serving the people you were called to serve, alongside companions who received a similar call? When your answer is yes, there is no limit to the energy and focus you will experience, together. When the answer is no?
Whom you choose to serve and serve alongside in this life can either support you to thrive spiritually, or it can subtly, incrementally, prevent you from thriving. Consider, which of the three elements of your purpose have you discerned? And, where do you need greater clarity? To begin, take a closer look at which form of stress you’re feeling. To support you to pay attention, read these sentences out loud:
Am I offering my God-given gifts?
Am I offering my God-given gifts to a cause I believe in?
Am I offering my God-given gifts to a cause I believe in so that I may serve my people alongside my companions?
As you read, pay attention to the stress you feel in your mind and body. Memorize the sentences. Then, close your eyes and repeat them. If you are living your true purpose, you will feel an increasing lightness as you read. If you aren’t yet fulfilling your purpose, there will be one or more words in these sentences that cause your voice to become tight. This is tension. It’s your body talking to you!
Are you listening? God wants and needs you to tune in and discern the reason He put you here. And, you will. At that point, you will feel a peace beyond understanding knowing that you are fulfilling God’s purpose for your life!
Blessings on your journey!
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4