As of the last few years, we have been flooded with the word purpose: Find your purpose. Live in your Purpose. Pray over your purpose. This list goes on. I believe we all have some type of purpose on this earth big or small but we are all part of a bigger picture. One thing I don’t see as much is people talking about the process of finding your purpose. It’s great when you get it, but how do you get there? How do you know if you are finding it? What do you do when you don’t know?
The first place that most of us start at is wanting to find it. There are some people who are fortunate to just know or it falls in their lap. They feel it and understand it, early on. For others, including myself, it is something that has to be searched for. When I questioned what my purpose was I had just entered my 24th year of life. I was recently single, living in a city I hated with a job that I despised. I was questioning was this what my life was amounted to. I thought I knew what I wanted or who I was supposed to be and fortunately, I was wrong about everything.
Your purpose can change depending on where you are in life. You can have more than one if that is what you are called to do. It is growth, evolution. Your purpose in that moment can last for an hour to a lifetime. You can have one to a hundred. There is not a single arching meaning to your life. Every single thing you do adds up in some way. You have to be open to being used and broken at times. Get knocked down and figure things out. It isn’t easy by any means. I had thought my purpose was to have a hard life What I concluded at the age of 28 that my purpose was the very thing I had been running from: my story.
I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. I was the product of two drug addicts and had the odds stacked against me at a very young age. I recall a time that my dad wanted me to live on the streets in a car versus staying with my family because “only he knew what was right for me.” I carried a lot of burdens that weren’t mine to carry. I often asked God why me? Why did I deserve this? At the age of six, I should have never seen the inside of a drug house or been left alone with people that had no good intentions for me. I thought this was my purpose for a while. That I was here to be a doorstep for people. God had given me a life because he hated me. It wasn’t until I was older I understood that God gives some people heavier burdens because they are able to carry them. Our lives are walking storybooks of what He can do. If someone doesn’t go through these things then who is there to help someone that is?
The ugliest part of the process is walking around blindly. Hoping and guessing you are getting it right. You need to get a community of people that can help you embrace not only your purpose but who you are. People that will pray for you, urge you to do and be better, and will help you through your journey. You will also see people come in and out of your life through this time. There will be seasons for people and that’s ok. Don’t hold onto the things God may be trying to tear apart for your good. This can be friendships, relationships, or even your career. Be open to listening and taking feedback from those around you, but also God.
With listening and learning your seasons comes growth. The two reasons you grow are because you want to or because you have to. When finding you purpose it can be both. We often get so concerned with comfort over growth that we concede what is in store for us. It’s easy to stay where you are and not want to move from that place because it’s what you know. Not many people want to travel into the unknown jungle of life to be caught in thorns and trenches. You have to cry, crawl, and get lost along the way. It’s part of growing. Ugly things will be around you and even come out of you. You have to conquer what’s inside of you. To find your purpose you sometimes have to be used, at times even humiliated. It’s not glorious. We are often told God won’t put more on us than we can bare and I believe the opposite. He will put on us what we can’t in order to break us to make us new. Just remember that everything you feel He does too.
There is no one way to this, to your purpose. It’s your journey and more importantly your story. I once saw an analogy that compared our lives to glow sticks. Remember back to the first one you saw one. In its regular form, it’s just there. Nothing special. When you broke it you saw that full effect and its purpose: it glowed. It is the same way with our lives. We can just be there. Unused, regular, and being unknown of our power. In your search as to be broken, changed, and used. It can happen once in your life or multiple times. At 29 I am still growing, learning, and figuring things out. It is frightening but I find comfort knowing that I’m going to glow at the end of this and so are you.