With my kids in full-time school, I am once again in the wrestling ring with questions of purpose. What am I supposed to be accomplishing here exactly? Am I missing some elusive ‘thing’ that will satisfy? Am I doing what I am meant to do?
Pinned against the floorboards by perplexities of purpose, I wonder if I will EVER figure this out. Dreams and disappointments have led me back to this frustrating fact: I. STILL. DON’T. KNOW. MY. PURPOSE.
Nevertheless, the inability to see the fine details of my purpose has become a gift, for it has forced me to have a greater focus on the bigger picture: CHRIST. God’s grace has planted seeds of truth in the dirt of my ‘not-knowing’. Those truths have taken root. I share what I know in the hopes that it will encourage you to allow God to sow seeds in your life even if you can’t tell what He’s planting.
1. Realize where your purpose is found.
I am convinced that I will not find my purpose by seeking purpose, but I will fulfill my purpose by seeking Christ.
A quick survey of my soul reveals that anxiety about my life’s purpose only arises when I get my eyes off of Christ and onto myself. I want to know my purpose so I can feel important. I want to know my purpose so I can know if I approve of said purpose. (What if it isn’t glorious enough for me?) I want to know my purpose so I can start making things happen because things aren’t moving fast enough for my liking.
In these moments, I am not concerned about God’s glory, I am concerned about mine. All my anxious thoughts are inward focused. I want to be doing something fulfilling, something grand, something meaningful. All of these desires are good things, yet to find such a purpose…I cannot look within myself or to the things around me. I simply will not find true fulfillment in selfishness or in pride.
Purpose isn’t found by seeking purpose. Purpose is found by seeking Christ. Paul states it plainly in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ.” And in Colossians 3:3, “Your life is now hidden with Christ.” If my life is hidden in Christ, wouldn’t my purpose be hidden in Him too? Why then do I look anywhere else to find it? Christ has told us where to look. We are made for His glory and our purpose will be found in Christ and in Him only. We are “created through Him and for Him”, Colossians 1:16.
2. Relinquish the need-to-know
Logic says I must know my purpose in order to fulfill His purpose. Thus the anxiety treadmill starts revving up again. “I can’t figure out what my purpose is, and if I don’t figure out what it is, how am I ever going to be able to fulfill it, and if I don’t fulfill my purpose, then I will never feel fulfilled, and if etc, etc….” But upon closer inspection of this logic, I do not think that it always applies.
Scripture clearly tells us NOT to rely on our own understanding, but to trust God with our whole hearts (Proverbs 3:5). Isn’t it possible then, that a demand for knowing our specific purpose can indicate a place where we do not fully trust God? Is Christ not able to fulfill His purposes through us even when we are unaware? Psalm 138:8 tells us, “The LORD will fulfill His purposes for me.”
So in light of this, can I relinquish the need-to-know? Will I stop demanding to know specifics and simply ask God to reveal the details as He sees fit? Will I turn over my anxious thoughts to Him? Will I trust God to fulfill His purposes in my life as I seek Him?
O Lord, may it be so.