Finding my purpose in life has taken me, well, my whole life! I sometimes wish I could go back and remove some of the confusion and pain I had to walk through before feeling comfortable with myself and my purpose. But that is impossible.
My journey has helped me realize there is not just one big purpose in life to accomplish but many missions along the way.
I have learned to embrace mistakes and struggles, in order to experience the freedom that comes on the other side. I am still a work in progress, but God has used everything I have faced to form me into a more humble, loving person who is closer than ever to understanding what is the real purpose of life!
What is My Purpose in Life?
“What is my purpose in life?”, is probably a question most of us have asked ourselves many times. I know I have.
Understanding why we were created and what we are supposed to do with the time we have on earth can take a lifetime. Some of us may feel that we have missed our chance or don’t have a real purpose other than making it day by day; we wonder what is the real purpose of life.
I believe a life following Jesus offers more than just making it and answers the question of the real purpose in life.
While contemplating this question recently, I was reminded of a family vacation.
Our Purpose Begins with God’s Plan for Our Life
Several years ago, we decided to take a trip to Disney World with our 4 children and 2 girls we were fostering at the time. Sounds like a crazy idea, but we were excited and planned the trip for months; where to stay and visit, and what colors to wear each day so we didn’t lose each other.
You see, our plans for a wonderful vacation did not include losing a child.
As we walked around the Disney park, Epcot, we left the France exhibit and made our way to Morocco. There was one problem…we left France with 6 kids and entered Morocco with 5. Our 6 year old son was missing.
You can imagine the panic we felt. We quickly spread out and ran around like crazy people looking for him.
As I ran down the crowded fairway, my son suddenly appeared walking toward me holding the hand of a Disney worker. He had stuck to the plan, we had discussed, that if he was separated from us to find a worker to help him locate his family. The relief was something I will never forget.
After this unexpected diversion, we did not pack up and go home. We learned from our mistake and got back on track following our plan for a great vacation (until we briefly lost another child, but no time for that story!).
So what does this have to do with our purpose? Our purpose begins with God’s plan for our life. Many of us start off with great plans for our future. We may not have a completely defined purpose but we have excitement and wonder of the unknown in life.
What happens when we get off course and lose our way? Many of us abandon our original plans and just settle. We pack up our bags and head into a journey that is either easier, more available, or offers the least pain or resistance.
When you understand that your purpose begins with God’s plan for your life, it takes a huge weight off. You can be more confident pursuing a direction. You can pray and ask God to help develop a plan so you can walk toward knowing what is your purpose in life.
Confidence in Our Identity in Christ Helps us Know Our Purpose
My son who lost his way in Disney World was adopted into our hearts and lives from an orphanage in Mongolia. He does not question who he is, who he belongs to and what his identity is. He knows we love him and he belongs to us.
Even as the Disney employee questioned him about the frantic lady, who did not look like him, he pointed to me and persisted, “that’s her…that’s my mom.” He had confidence in his identity and persevered until he was reunited with his family.
Just like my son knows we love him and would find him, Jesus loves and finds us. When we walk in this confidence, we can overcome our inability to move past our pain, obstacles and insecurities to find purpose. Confidence in our identity in Christ helps us know our purpose.
This is an amazing realization to embrace!
Once we have confidence in our identity in Christ, the path to our purpose becomes clearer.
It is Never too Late to Find Your Purpose
One of my favorite books is The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, a World War 2 survivor who used her loss and pain to help find purpose. Although she served a valuable purpose in saving many from death during the war, her work was not done.
Most of her family died in the war but at the age of 52 she began walking out a God ordained purpose believing it is never too late to find your purpose.
“In May 1945, she rented a house in Bloemendaal, which she converted into a home for concentration camp survivors, fellow wartime resistance collaborators, and the disabled. She also set up a nonprofit organization in the Netherlands to support the home and her ministry.
In 1946, ten Boom boarded a freighter for the United States. Once there, she began speaking at Bible classes, churches, and Christian conferences. Throughout 1947, she spoke extensively in Europe and became affiliated with Youth for Christ. It was at a YFC world congress in 1948 that she met Billy Graham and Cliff Barrows. Graham would later play a major role in making her known to the world.
From the 1950s through the 1970s, Corrie ten Boom traveled to 64 countries, speaking and preaching about Jesus Christ. Her 1971 book, The Hiding Place, became a best-seller.”
Corrie ten Boom lived knowing it is never too late to find your purpose.
Living a Purposeful Life Involves Our Passion
Living a purposeful life involves our passion. The biggest clue to identifying our productive passions are things that don’t feel like work but accomplish a purpose. I believe we can have many passions and be called on many missions or special assignments.
I have several passions including writing and teaching. One of my purposes is writing for ButterflyLiving and writing Bible Studies. This is an excerpt from a Bible Study I wrote on Understanding Who I am in Christ & how being secure in our identity helps us find purpose.
“As you walk through seasons of life your missions may change, based on your physical, mental and emotional availability. However, there are some deep-rooted passions that we carry around with us all of our lives.
I have always loved working with children especially helping those that are disadvantaged. How I served out this call has changed throughout my lifetime. When I was a young girl, I would babysit and put on talent shows in my neighborhood. As an adult, I have raised 4 children, adopted and fostered children and have worked with various age groups in my church. I have experienced seasons where I had to make adjustments, but one of my core passions has never changed.
Sometimes having a passion does not mean you have the ability to fulfill it. We can be passionate about singing but not have the voice to sing professionally or be passionate about sports but not be coordinated, strong or gifted. That doesn’t mean God can’t use us in those areas, but it may look differently than we expect.
When I was 10 years old my brother and I were swimming in a hotel pool as my dad sat nearby. I had attended several swimming lessons but my brother had not. I decided I could teach him how to swim. As he jumped off the diving board and landed on me in the deep end, we both almost drowned. I was barely swimming myself and was not equipped to teach him. My passion to help my brother did not equate with an ability to help him learn to swim.
Now that doesn’t mean we can’t learn new skills, but when the things we invest in line up with what we enjoy, we are able to give and serve at a new level.” (BTW I never became a life guard!)
Even if our current job does not line up with what we are passionate about, we can start by cultivating a hobby or even better a place to serve using our talent and skills.
What Does the Bible say About Our Purpose?
The Bible is full of stories and characters with different purposes to fulfill. Regardless of the call on our life, we can all make a difference. Every person is valuable to God and has a purpose.
When we wonder what does the Bible say about our purpose, we can look at three important people in the Bible that changed the course of history by fulfilling their purpose:
1.The Bible says Jesus’ purpose was to be a miracle worker and the Savior of the world.
“This act in Cana of Galilee was the first sign Jesus gave, the first glimpse of his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” John 2:11 MSG
“The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.” Matthew 3:16-17 MSG
2.The Bible says John the Baptist’s purpose was to point us to Jesus as the Messiah. John was not the main guy on certain stage. His purpose was to use his skills to proclaim that Jesus was coming to save the world.
“While Jesus was living in the Galilean hills, John, called “the Baptizer,” was preaching in the desert country of Judea. His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.” John and his message were authorized by Isaiah’s prophecy: Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!” Matthew 3:1-3 MSG
3.The Bible says that Moses’ purpose was to lead the Jewish people to the promised land. He did not feel equipped, ready or worthy to fulfill his purpose, but he had the skills and God called and used Him. He stepped out in faith and overcame his fear.
“The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.” Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:9-11 MSG
I am not in the league of Jesus, John the Baptist or Moses but am inspired by their willingness to fulfill the call to touch humanity.
God is interested in our willingness to listen and contribute not the size or scope of our work.
When we wonder what does the Bible say about our purpose, we can look at the many people in the Bible that persevered in walking out their purpose in life.
How Can I Find My Purpose in Life?
You may be reading this and wondering how can I find my purpose in life? Well, if you feel stuck, start with these 5 tips that have helped me find my purpose in life:
- Write down what you are passionate about, enjoy doing and what skills you have.
- Write down where you can use your passions. This should include jobs and hobbies.
- Talk to people you love and trust to get feedback and ideas.
- Start serving others using what you are passionate about.
- Pray for God to help you find direction and then just get started somewhere.
Knowing Your Purpose can Add Years to Your life
There is research that has identified certain “bluezones” around the world where people live healthier, longer lives. In one of the articles that is available on bluezones.com you can read how knowing your purpose can add years to your life.
“Research suggests that you could be living up to seven good years longer. Research shows that people who know their life purpose and why they wake up in the morning live longer, better lives.
Dr. Robert Butler and his collaborators led an NIH-funded study that looked at the correlation between having a sense of purpose and longevity. His 11-year study followed healthy people between the ages of 65 and 92, and showed that those who expressed having clear goals or purpose lived longer and lived better than those who did not.
This is because individuals who understand what brings them joy and happiness tend to have what we like to call the Right Outlook. They are engulfed in activities and communities that allow them to immerse themselves in a rewarding and gratifying environment.”
No one knows how long they will be blessed with life, but knowing our purpose can add years to our life and help us find contentment and fulfillment.
What is Your Purpose in Life?
Whatever time you have on earth, whether 20 or 90 years, you have a mission or several missions waiting for you to discover. I am currently fulfilling my purpose in life by being a wife and mother while writing and teaching and using my God given abilities, talents and skills to shine the light of Christ on others.
Through loving and serving God, you will learn what is your purpose and what is the real purpose in life. Would love to hear about your journey in finding purpose in your life.
Mary Rooney Armand loves to write inspiring, faith based stories. She focuses on helping others grow in their intimacy with Christ and thrive in their personal relationships. Mary lives in New Orleans with her husband Cory and four children. Besides writing, she teaches Bible Studies and leads small groups. In 2020 she created ButterflyLiving and a Bible Study titled “Identity” which is available on Amazon. To learn more visit maryarmand.com.