So often life just feels like a series of random days and events that come and go one after the other with no meaning and no purpose. Good follows bad and bad follows good, and most often, it seems, bad just follows bad, making life seem like a total mess of nothingness! Is this how you feel?
What a way to begin an article that I intend to be very positive and meaningful for you! I have often found, however, as I talk to many folk I see, that one of the most common challenges we face in our lives is ourselves. The negative talk of the first paragraph is often simply my perspective on what is happening to me, and is not the reality of my life. I have learned over and over again in my own life that managing my outlook and mind-set is crucial to my well-being. I am not advocating a simplistic ‘think positive thoughts and everything well turn out alright’ kind of strategy. We all know that an outlook such as that simply doesn’t work! What I have discovered is that we so often think only in negative terms, and, even though we may generally be positive people, our outlook on life is by and large negative.
I am convinced that the cause of this negativity in our lives is because we do not know who we are, what we stand for, and where we are going! In short, we have no Purpose in our lives. The world we live in encourages us to hop on to the treadmill, get a college degree, make a career for ourselves, live it up, find a life partner, get married, have kids, buy a house, live life, get into debt, grow old (with even more debt!), and then die. Round and round and round we go. All for what reason? I also see very often in my coaching and counselling practise that folk who choose to stand against the treadmill life and seek to make a stand and live differently are constantly pulled down by everyone around them, and are bullied into stepping on the treadmill again. Round and round they go!
The first thing we all need to do to get out of that humdrum, mediocre no purpose style of living is to recognize that each of us is unique. You were put on this earth as a unique creation of God, destined to make a difference to those around you. The proof of your uniqueness is easily evident. Surely you know that your fingerprints are only found on YOU. No other human being on this planet has fingerprints (or ear prints or knee prints or lip prints) like yours! Your DNA is also unique to YOU. The way you think and face your life is also unique to you. No one thinks and feels just like you do.
Secondly, we need to acknowledge that all of mankind has an infinite value. When God made mankind, He said that it was ‘very good’. We all are made in the image of God, and, each in our own broken way, reflect His glory in this world. It does not matter what gender, race, creed, religion, or whatever criteria the world uses so separate us into different boxes, each human being you see and interact with today is of infinite value to God. That fact alone compels me to treat everyone with dignity and respect, even those who are our ‘enemies’ in life.
Thirdly, we have a mandate from God to care for and tend the earth. This mandate comes from Genesis 1:28, where we read that God told man to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ and gave man dominion over the earth. That means that God man mankind the responsibility of ruling over, tending, caring, and being responsible for the earth. What an amazing responsibility that is! Do we, as willing participants in the mediocre, treadmill existence which is so often our lives, live up to the mandate God has given us? I think not!
So, how do I discover my purpose. I would suggest 8 things that will help you discover and live according to your purpose.
- Have an attitude of Prayer. Ask God, who has made you and called you, to reveal to you what His purpose for you is.
- Keep your eye on the prize. Hebrews 12:1 – 2 tells us that we are to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. It is only as we keep our eyes on Jesus, on His purpose for us and for the world, will we begin to understand our own purpose.
- Study the Word of God. The Scriptures reveal to us a lot about our purpose, as parents, a children, as business owners, leaders and as God’s creation.
- Seek godly counsel. Take control of your own life, and stop listening to the drivel been peddled in the world. Ask your pastor or elders for advice, listen to those in your life whom you respect as elders and leaders.
- Take into account your circumstances. God ordains the circumstances of our lives, moving with complete sovereignty in history, opening and closing doors. But we, like the partner in a dance, are expected to walk through the door. God leads and we are to freely respond. There are both open and closed doors. Sometimes when we are at a crossroad, there is one open door, one clear path ahead. This is a good indication we are to walk through it. Sometimes there may be two or three open doors. When these occur, we are to use our sanctified common sense to make a decision which door we will walk through.
- Use wisdom. You are not a puppet in life. God has made you with free will and choice, and with the responsibility to use that free will and choice. Stand up against the mundane, and determine to make a difference in your own life, and also in the lives of those around you.
- Leave behind your prerogatives. Our prerogatives are our real and perceived rights or privileges, the things that we see as our due. Different people cling to different things. Some cling to status, to be a member of a certain class, caste or tribe. Some want to be comfortable, some to be successful, others want to be safe, while others want their health. Still others want their time and some their privacy. All of us have things that are important to us, things that we think we have a right to. It is these prerogatives that often keep us from seeing and doing what God has for us. Don’t be bound by these.
- Look for the peace of the Holy Spirit. When the decision is made, then commit it to the Lord. The Holy Spirit has the ability to provide peace or to stir up tumult. Peace is the sign that you have made the right decision. An anxious soul may be the sign that it is not time to move forward with the decision.
Whatever you do, whoever you are, always determine to life a life that honour God and those you come into contact with, be responsible and true to the mandate God has given you to rule the earth, and be blessed as you live out your life purpose to His glory!