What’s my purpose? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Are you the one who has done all of the personality assessments, and enneagrams to learn about yourself? Do you feel like you were made for something greater? Are you on a quest to uncover your purpose?
I was too.
When I was a little girl my dream job was to work the cash register at a grocery store. Or as I described it, “I want to be the ‘chutter.’” You know, the person who scans the groceries with the contraption that makes the “chut, chut, chut” sound every time a barcode slides across it.
I played grocery store for hours at my Granny’s house in her basement stocked with canned goods that could feed half the population of our small town. I loved it. It was even better when I could get someone to participate in the sheer enjoyment of shopping in my grocery store.
Of course the ironing board was my pretend conveyor belt delivering the groceries. I even had stashes of grocery bags hanging from the metal hooks on the underside of the ironing board. My obsession with grocery retail went so far that my Granny bought me a real cash register for Christmas when I was about 10 years old.
I am pretty sure there was a time in my life when I thought, “I am made for this!” I came alive playing grocery store, restocking shelves, scanning, bagging, making change, answering my customers’ questions. I was all in! I even whistled while I worked! Ha!
Perhaps I believed it was my purpose to deliver the highest quality customer service, before I even understood what customer service was, to my dolls, stuffed animals, cousins and whoever I could talk into experiencing Stephanie’s Supermarket.
Purpose. In those days my purpose was defined by what I did, not by who I was created to be.
Purpose is a word that has been difficult for me to understand and step into for much of my life. In reality, I searched to understand my purpose but ended up falling short every time because more often than not I defined my purpose by the position I held, a career move I made or what I achieved.
Purpose, a simple two-syllable word that carries with it a punch of meaning. It is a word that holds within its syllables steep expectations imposed on any individual willing to buy in.
The word purpose has led me down a path of searching and trying to unbury mysterious and lofty goals that must be obtained to earn a seat at the proverbial table.
As I look back on my life, and its twists and turns there is a very noticeable shift in my understanding of purpose. I used to think that purpose was based on a title or position. Purpose was the answer to the question, “So, what do you do?”
There came a time in my life when I didn’t have an answer for that question. I would snarkily reply, “Well, right now, I am a nothing.” And often the response would be a confused chuckle, a smirk of the eye brow. But never a follow up response saying, “oh, nothing, tell me more!”
There is a HUGE distinction between my view of purpose and what God’s view of my purpose and is. In my world, if I did not have a position or title, then purpose ceased to exist.
In God’s view of purpose, no matter what position or not I still hold value and have purpose. I can make an impact on the world regardless of my credentials, degrees, certifications and titles.
I believe I am able to make an even greater impact on the world without those things, because it forces me to rely more fully on God instead of on my own understanding or credentialing.
God changed my mind and my words. He changed my words from “I am a nothing” to “I am a daughter of the Most High King.” How’s that for a position!
He also helped me to see that purpose is NOT what I do. Purpose is WHO I AM. And my vocation, my job, my calling is just one way that my purpose is manifested. I believe that God cares more about my being than my doing. I heard someone recently say, “God created us to be human beings not human doings.”
You may be thinking, “that’s great for you Stephanie, but I have no idea what my purpose is.” I admit, I don’t know your purpose either- other than to step into the son or daughtership of the kingdom of Heaven. I do know that God will show you, specifics of your purpose if you ask him.
I know because he has shown me who he made me to be, he has shown me my purpose. He revealed my purpose over time through three main channels of teaching.
These channels were:
- As I intentionally and consistently read the word and listened to sermons there have been patterns of verses that have made frequent appearances. These are scriptures that when I read them I feel empowered, I feel complete, I am encouraged. Verses have resonated with my soul that I think to myself, “this is me!”
- Prayer/ Journaling
- Scriptures turned to prayers have ministered to my heart at a very deep level. They challenge me, stretch me, grow me and comfort me. I pray the scripture, meditate on it, and ask God to show me how he wants the verse to transform me, my thinking and my path.
- Confirmation from Godly counselors, friends and mentors
- The third way purpose has been unveiled to me has been in conversation with trusted friends and mentors. It often happened that the same verses I read over, prayed over would then be brought up in conversation by my mentor or good friend. God has used other people to confirm what he has been talking to me about through my own scripture reading and prayer.
My purpose overtime has been able to be summed up in three short phrases: Inspire Hope, Illuminate Truth and Ignite Change. Here’s the cool thing about purpose. It doesn’t matter if I am living my childhood dream of working the grocery store checkout line or whether I am coaching family businesses, or writing books, my purpose doesn’t change.
Ultimately we were all created to point others to Christ. As we learn in 1 Peter 2:4&5, “Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
We are living stones. Made for a purpose. Made to be built into a spiritual house with Christ as our Lord, seated on the throne of our hearts.
What is your purpose? What is God tugging on your heart? What is God trying to show you about his purpose for you that extends far beyond what you do? Who has he made you to be what part of God’s character do you embody and display?
Ask Him. Spend time with God, and he will show you!