One of the most common desires I consistently hear and have heard in my practice over the last 9+ years is the desire to identify purpose.
We as humans have a deep, God-given, innate need to contribute and make a difference.
Whether you’re volunteering in the community or at church, have a career, or maybe what you’d call “just a job,” or you’ve been at home investing in your kids, it’s all about contributing and making a difference in the world.
It’s an innate human need to feel like we are part of something bigger, that we are doing something worthwhile, that we are contributing in some significant way.
Seasons of our life affect how intensely we feel that need, and it’s individual for everyone.
When we are first starting out in the early stages of our adult lives, or when we’re in super busy chapters of life that are intense with job responsibilities, taking care of children, juggling the everyday responsibilities of life, we typically don’t feel the purpose question as much.
But in some seasons, there’s more room – you might be *feeling* less needed as your kids get older, for example. Or often people will have been in a particular position or career for a while, and it is no longer seeming “enough.”
In every single chapter of life, please know that you are just as worthy, and you are contributing just by being you.
Having said that, there are three keys I want to share to help you identify your purpose:
1) Identifying our purpose begins with our thoughts – mindset is foundational.
Trust that God will make it clear to you, that He will guide you. Believe that you can and will identify and bring to life your purpose.
Understand that there is nothing that can make you more worthy, valuable, or whole – understanding your purpose included.
As children of God we have purpose in glorifying God, reflecting His character, knowing Him and making Him known.
Without understanding that, we’re just chasing a feeling.
We need to have the foundational belief that we are valuable, worthy, and whole as a starting point.
2) Understand that your purpose is not out there. It is in you. You bring it to life, you uncover it, you choose it, you create it.
It is not “missing” when you’re not conscious of it.
There is not a right thing or a wrong thing you could “find.”
It can feel so heavy when we say we have to “find” our purpose – like it’s lost.
That pressure, that heaviness, is really counterproductive when we want to uncover our purpose.
Start paying attention to those times when you feel like what you did, even if it was small, was purposeful.
Start a journal or open a note in your Notes app, and record those times. Think about what you were doing, who you were with – try to pinpoint what about it felt purposeful.
All of those simple incidents are clues. You’ll start seeing patterns after you’ve been watching and recording for a few weeks or months.
Watch out for judging your thoughts and observations about what felt purposeful for you. There is no right or wrong when it comes to purpose.
You’re an individual, and what is purposeful for you is going to be individual to you.
Keep that journal or Notes app handy – you’ll want to use it as you continue to explore the combination below.
3) Purpose is identified primarily through unlocking the combination of three things:
- Our natural abilities and aptitudes
- Our values – what’s most important to us
- Our past experiences
Take some to reflect on what is truly most important to you along with reflecting on the different experiences in your life.
It takes intention to really think about this – and to continue to think about it over weeks or months, until you start to see the patterns emerging.
And when you combine that reflection with knowledge of how God has made you – what your natural abilities and aptitudes are, you are well on your way to identifying your purpose.
This is one of the main reasons why I focus in my practice on helping individuals know their natural abilities and why I named my practice 2:10 Consulting – it’s based on Ephesians 2:10.
I firmly believe that each individual is God’s workmanship. He crafts and designs each person with a unique combination of natural abilities, gifts, and characteristics to accomplish wonderful things, in every season of his or her life.
When you combine those natural abilities with what is most important to you along with considering the experiences you’ve been through in your life, you have the keys to unlock your purpose.
P.S. I’d love to help you through this process! I work with clients on this in my online coaching membership THRIVE (click here to get on the waiting list for when it opens again in March) and through my one-on-one services: click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.