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Finding my God-given purpose has been the most defining moment in my life so far. I mean obviously right? Having clarity on the reason you were born SHOULD be the most defining moment of your life.
I’m serious though. Part of finding my purpose was starting this blog, and love that I get to do something beyond working day-in and day out for money. I have more clarity and a renewed passion for life. And I get to touch the lives of others (like you) with my writing and encourage you on your own journey with the lessons I’ve learned. It makes me feel like I’m making a difference, however small, to the life of someone else.
But looking back, I realize that there were two very important things that I had to learn before I could live a life of purpose. Let me tell you what they are. I think they’ll surprise you.
1. Believe that God’s Love for You is Unconditional
You know God loves you right?
Of course, you do. That’s what John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
When I gave my life to Jesus, I understood that God loved me so much that He sacrificed His Son for me. I understood that, in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus chose to do God’s will and die for my sins on the cross, it was because of His immense love for me.
Somewhere in my head, I knew His love was unconditional. But my heart hadn’t quite grasped it.
And that’s why I spent much of my first ten years as a Christian trying to earn God’s love. Not that I realized that was what I was doing. I volunteered for everything, doing my best to attend every prayer meeting, bible study, and conference. And feeling guilty when I couldn’t.
Sunday after Sunday, I took diligent notes on how to be a good Christian. Obsessing over my faults and failures. Week after week I tried my best to live by those notes so that God would be pleased with me.
These things aren’t necessarily wrong; they have their place. But combined with my other responsibilities to family and work, my life soon got out of balance, becoming increasingly overwhelming and frustrating. Most of the time I was running on five hours of sleep. My Christian walk looked good on the outside but my quality time with God left much to be desired; I was simply too tired.
Then one day, like a stack of books precariously piled in the hands of a high school student, it all came crashing down. I was stressed, tired, and burnt out; my entire life felt like a chore. There was something missing and I didn’t know what it was. Jesus said His burden would be light but this burden felt too heavy. There had to be something I was doing wrong.
Soon after this, I stood at the altar one Sunday morning, asking God for forgiveness for my latest failure. One of the church leaders approached me with a message from God. To put it in a nutshell, God said, “Stop! Stop trying to fix yourself. Stop trying to earn my love. You don’t have to fix anything. Surrender it all to me and let me fix it. You don’t have to do anything to earn my love. Just be you. Just let me love you.”
Wait? What? What do you mean stop? As in do nothing? I don’t know Lord, that doesn’t sound quite right. Do nothing for You? But, I’m doing them to please you. I’m trying to be the best Christian I can be; to give You my best.
And then it hit me… I could never become the best “me” trying to do things in my own strength. Wearing myself out trying to please God. No, that only created stressed, burnt out me. I could only become the best That would only happen if I gave God all that I had, however inadequate it seemed to me and allowed Him to make me Into the person He created me to be.
So I agreed. I agreed to let Him love me… broken, flawed, imperfect me… just as I was. It was too much for me to fix on my own. A burden too heavy to carry. So, I gave it all up to Him. I surrendered to His love.
Surrendering to God’s love allows you to live day by day in His grace. You know that you are not obligated to do anything for Him to earn His love. Your life becomes more focused; more balanced.
But what does this have to do with finding your God-given purpose? Well, when you allow God to love you, you begin to see what true love is. His love does not require anything of you. Suddenly, you being to love yourself as He does… and see yourself through His eyes.
Which brings us to the second thing you need to believe…
2. Believe You Are Who God Says You Are
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.Psalm 139:14-16
When the first generation Israelites came to the borders of the promised land and sent scouts into the land, they allowed the 10 spies to convince them that they looked like grasshoppers. If they could see themselves through God’s eyes, they would have seen conquerors capable of destroying walls with just a shout… and God’s help. By contrast, the second generation Israelites knew exactly who they were with the Almighty God by their side.
It’s impossible to understand what you’re meant to do in life if you don’t know who you are. Your life’s purpose is intrinsically tied to your identity. To understand who you are, you need to see yourself through God’s eyes. God always sees you, not as you are now, but as who He created you to be. This is your true identity.
As I drew closer to God and immersed myself in His unconditional love, He began to reveal more and more of His plans for me. Good plans; plans for my future; plans that gave me hope. Yet these plans were overwhelming. Was I really capable of doing all that He had planned for me?
That’s where Psalm 139:16 comes in. His plans for me were written before I was even born. Everything that I need to carry out those plans has already been provided; it’s written in my DNA. Because my God-given purpose was crafted just for me, I cannot fail. I’ve been set up to win.
As Father God immersed me in His love and revealed more and more of His plans for me and I believed more and more, that I could accomplish those plans. Father God knows what He placed in me when He created me. When He looks at me, He sees a person who is capable of doing all He has assigned to me. Not even my faults and failures can get in the way.
Knowing that Father has the confidence that I can accomplish all that He’s sent me to do, gives me the courage to step out even when I don’t see the entire picture. Even when it goes against the norm and others don’t understand.
I’m not who others say I am. I’m not even who I say I am. I’m who God says I am – a conqueror, capable of taking my promised lands.
Understanding and accepting God’s unconditional love for you is the first step to finding your purpose. It helps you to understand what true love really is. Then, as you see yourself through His eyes, you will gain the confidence to go after His promises for you; to go after your purpose.
You already have everything you need to become all that He created you to be. Do you believe God’s love for you is unconditional? Have you surrendered to that love? Do you see yourself as He does?
Which of these steps do you need to take today to start living a life of purpose? Your God-Given purpose. Let me know in the comments.