Your Purpose is Not Your Job
March 19, 2014
Margaret Meade once said that “a small group of thoughtful people can change the world.”
Last Monday night, I invited a group of women into my home to talk about how to discover your purpose and passion in this life. The room was filled with accountants, doctors, bloggers, teachers, moms, trainers and more. These women truly could change the world.
But at the end of the day, no matter our profession, we all long for more in this life. We all want to know deep in our hearts what our true purpose is and what that looks like lived out.
But what if you were told that your life purpose is not your profession or role at home? What if the job that you spent years of college learning about and countless hours training for was not the total sum of your purpose?
My purpose in this life is not to be a radio producer, a writer, a wife or a mom. For many of us, this kind of statement shakes us to the core. But for others, it’s extremely liberating knowing that there is more to this life than our 9-5 job or our role at home. Our life purpose goes far beyond that.
Our purpose is not solely defined in our career, but rather it’s a life statement that is lived into our titles, roles and every aspect of our lives.
My dear mentor, Lisa, spent the evening with us and shared that our purpose is lifelong. It’s not solely defined in our career, but rather it’s a life statement that is lived into our titles, roles and every aspect of our lives. She challenged each of us to come up with our own purpose statement that incorporates the talents God has given us.
For example, Lisa’s purpose statement is to “create environments where life transformation can take place.” While this is lived out in her job as a church small group director, it’s also lived out in the ways she ministers to her husband, entertains in her home and interacts with people on a daily basis. This life purpose goes past her job title and role as a wife. It’s infused into every part of who she is and what she does.
If our life purpose was restricted solely to our profession or role, it would end just there. It would be compartmentalized into a very small picture of the big picture of life and it would create extreme pressure to find the perfect job. And anything short of the perfect job could become a fertile ground for dissatisfaction or disappointment. But God’s purpose for our lives goes far beyond us.
In the book A Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren says:
“The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.”
So how do I find my purpose? Begin by asking yourself, What do I care about? Who do I enjoy serving? What gets me out of bed in the morning? What makes my heart beat? Then search for a way to live these things out.
Look for a job that taps into those skills. Look for opportunities to volunteer that incorporate your strengths. Find ways at home and in your social life to display those same passions.
At first, you may discover that there are multiple things you care about. In an effort to narrow the list down, dive in and give those passions a try. See what energizes you and fuels your fire. Ask yourself What would I do even if I didn’t get paid to do it? I once heard that the things you think about and do during your free time are a good indicator of what you should be doing with your life.
Once you’ve narrowed the list down to a handful of things you care about and enjoy doing, draft a purpose statement that incorporates your strengths and passions.
See what energizes you and fuels your fire. Ask yourself What would I do even if I didn’t get paid to do it?
For example, Sara shared with us that she believes she was “created to create.” She enjoys painting, decorating and making things with her hands. Sara lives out this purpose statement as a blogger who shares her DIY decorating tips and also as a stay-at-home mom in making her place warm and welcoming for all who enter her front door.
I’m beginning to realize that we make this whole idea of finding our purpose in life much harder than it really should be. We spend hours upon hours looking for the perfect job to never feel truly fulfilled. In reality, it’s quite basic if we think about.
As Rick Warren said, “we must begin with God.” At the end of the day, our main purpose in this life is to glorify God. Our purpose statement is all about tapping into the unique gifts God has given us, finding a way to live those out here on earth and, in the process, bring glory to Him.
So, what is my own personal purpose statement? I’m still trying to figure that out. What I do know though is that it involves my home and people in some way. There’s something sweetly fulfilling about welcoming others in and talking about just who God created each of us to be. It’s good for the heart.