In the Christian walk it is easy to be driven. We strive for improvement in our behaviour, language, parenting skills and our patience at home and in the workplace. We sign up for leadership and community service to love others as Jesus instructed. Much of our drive was learned before we found Christ and so often even in serving we feel empty. At times we may even feel resentment arise. Why is the void in our heart there even though we are doing great things for the Lord? Could it be we have not yet found our purpose?
Prior to becoming a Christian, I had no problem achieving great things. My career was successful. I was able to meet deadlines, achieve goals and reap the financial benefits. Becoming a Christian later in my life, I approached my church and ministry projects just as I would my professional ones. I had great expectations and rarely said “No” to any church leadership given to me. I figured if it were offered, it must be God’s will. I did my best and worked hard to achieve as much as I could. A feeling of resentment began to creep into my heart—I wasn’t even aware where it came from. I would find myself irritated at the smallest things, or if another project was offered to me I felt pressured to say “Yes”, even though it was not on my heart to do it. I was not yet aware of my God-given purpose, so I grappled to do everything.
EXAMINING THE DREAM
Take a step back and look at what you are doing—many of us need to step up and find our purpose. Others are grappling to do all they can, but failing miserably as they are attempting to do everything. It is not unrealistic to assume that if we try to do it all, we do not serve effectively or to the best of our ability. I believe the secret to finding your true purpose is to ask God to check your motivation. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Am I serving to please God or to please others? Is my motivation love or fear? Fear raises its ugly head in many forms: Fear of what people think, fear of rejection; fear of not having a title or a position of authority; fear of not fitting in; fear of not doing enough. Our purpose is ultimately to love God and others and to serve in love. It is only God who can reveal your true purpose and motivation to serve.
HOLDING TO THE PROMISE
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11). What an incredible promise!
Try putting this simple ABC into practice and expect to see an exciting change in your direction.
Claim the promise
God has promised he will give an answer if we ask him. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mat 7:7). So ask him today “Lord what is my purpose?”
Go to God obediently and tell him you believe and he will reveal his purpose to you. Belief and faith are closely linked, so thank God long before you see the results. “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer,” (Mat 21:22).
Read Jeremiah 29:11 out loud and place your name into the verse. Hold God to his promise believing his word never fails. He knows the plans he has for you, so surely it is his desire to reveal them to you?
I never expected God would reveal quite so much to me when I tried this simple way of praying. God has been leading me to serve him in ways that I would never have thought possible. In finding his purpose we also find peace, joy, passion, excitement and new renewal in his love. God will also teach us wonderful safe boundaries that are his way of protecting us from burnout. It pleases him when we do not say “Yes” to everything, no matter how wonderful the project. Take a while in prayer and fasting to seek the Lord and ask if it is his will and purpose for you. When you become aware of God’s peace you will know he desires it for you. CW
7 Tips to Discovering Your Life’s Purpose
- Do not say “Yes” to everything
- Listen to your emotions. God designed them to reveal things deep in your heart
- Treat your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, so you can hear God clearly
- Set goals and commit them to the Lord. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Pro 16:3)
- Trust that God wishes to bless you
- Wait on the Lord
- Ask God to allow you to see yourself through his eyes. You may be surprised!
ABC’s of Bible Prayer by Glenn Coon, 1972, Review and Herald, USA (Available from Epping Adventist Book Centre, 4 Cambridge St Epping, NSW, 2121. Phone +612 8876 5200)