What is purpose? Do I have one? What is the meaning of life? Many people often try to find the answers to these questions from different avenues such as religion or science. Yet are left with the thought of . . . does life even have a meaning or purpose to it? Ralph Waldo Emerson a poet from the 1800 once said that “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
A good majority of people spend the majority of their lives trying to figure out our purpose on this earth. Some of us end up wandering for years until we stumble across our destiny, while others find out their purpose straight away. In any case, it is safe to say that no one wants to live out their lives on this planet without some sort of meaning or purpose. Despite this notion or desire, it is still very difficult for people to accept the fact that their purpose won’t become a reality right away.
As Christians, we have an approach that helps us cope with waiting on the purpose we are meant to have: looking to the One who assigned us the purpose initially. Many have failed to understand that before one can understand what it is they were born to do in this life, one must understand who they are. So ask yourself this question: “Who am I, exactly?” For those that are born again in the faith and looking to the Father for guidance and wisdom, then that question is already answered for you.
With that being said, the rest of the work is pretty easy from now on, right? In actuality, discovering your identity in Christ is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to living out your purpose. It turns out that once you know who you are in the Lord, a truckload of doubt, anxiety, and distraction seems to be shipped right to your doorstep overnight. The reason for this is because a Christian that is on the right track in their walk is a BIG problem for the enemy. With that, he sends a ton of obstacles our way so that we get thrown off track.
One example of this is when Peter was being called out to walk on the water by Jesus. As soon as the Lord said “Come”, before you know it, Peter was walking on the sea! But, of course, Peter is human; we as humans tend to lose focus when something is out of our comfort zone:
29 ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’
In this instance, Peter got distracted by the waves and the winds due to the storm, and got scared, causing him to start sinking. That is a perfect depiction of getting distracted and accumulating doubt during our Christian walk. However, we have an advocate on our team, Jesus Christ, who sees our struggle, and provides guidance and wisdom to keep us going.
In seeking the Lord to reveal one’s purpose, there are a few questions to ask along the way: What invigorates/energizes me? What is the thing my heart keep drawing me to do? What do I have a natural knack for (talents, skills, etc.)? Continue to stay in prayer for guidance, and God will continue to do His part, as He’s always done.