Do You Have a Purpose?
"Do I have a purpose?" If we're being honest, how many of us would admit to struggling with this question? Collectively, we value individual purpose greatly. It's impressive when someone feels called to do one huge thing, like, moving to another country to be a missionary. We want to be called to something great and specific to us. But in return, we often discount living every day purposefully. To find purpose in all the mundane things doesn't seem as fulfilling.
So, do you have purpose? I think the answer is both simple and difficult.
In the big picture, yes, you have a purpose. You were created on purpose and you matter. Simple.
But specific to you and your life, when you look at all the things you could do and you ask the question, what's my purpose? You're asking if there is anything you ought to do. Is there something that you are specifically here to do?
I can't answer that for you, but hopefully, I can bring some clarity...
I like to look at the story of David in the Bible because it's an interesting circumstance where we follow an "ordinary" person from childhood until death. If you look at some of the major points in David's life you might make a list similar to this: shepherd, skilled hunter, musician to King Saul, Goliath killer, fierce warrior, a King himself, Husband, adulterer, murderer, and a questionable Father.
David doesn't seem to have an ordinary life when we look back on everything he did. Righteous things, horrible things, the life of David would be a difficult movie to watch. But unmistakably, his life was packed full of many different experiences from being a shepherd to a musician to the king, later a General in the king's army. But David at 12 years old was just the youngest brother on a family farm. From David's perspective, he was ordinary.
David is a pretty well-known figure of history and someone you might admit had a special anointing from God. But when you see the list of his life, I would ask, what exactly was his purpose? To be King? Maybe, but I would argue he had an even greater purpose. One that he understood very well as a child and seemed to forget later in life. His purpose was to glorify God. It's the reason he was a good shepherd and a skilled hunter. It's the reason he needed to fight Goliath. The reason he played the harp for King Saul, and the reason he was fit to be a king himself. David's main purpose was specific, and instead of limiting his options that enabled him to do a number of things in his life because they all related back to his main purpose, to glorify God.
So maybe you feel stuck in the middle of many purposes. Maybe you want to start a business, and be a missionary, and start a family, and live on the road, and be active in your church, and start a non-profit. Well, guess what... I think you can do all of those things in one life. We get bogged down on big questions of purpose, but I think it's simple. Your purpose, just like mine, is to bring glory to your creator. I know you might want to have your own unique purpose, but you don't need to. You are your own unique person so the way that you fulfill your purpose will look different than anyone else. There is a difference between having purpose and living purposefully. David may have had purpose in being a king, but he also lived purposefully each day before he was king. He didn't wait to become king before he found joy in his work. He found joy in spending time in the field shepherding his father's sheep. He found joy in leading his men to battle. Both of those things could have looked like his life's purpose, but ultimately he would move on from all of those things, even being king.
So I think it's important that we practice living purposefully in what we're doing today and if we can't find purpose in what we're doing, then maybe we should stop doing it. What you do today doesn't need to be your purpose forever. Just make today purposeful. Build a garden, start a game night with your friends or family, volunteer, start a new job. You don't have to do it forever, but don't miss the opportunity to do it now. I believe, if we live purposefully each day, eventually we'll find overlap in our purpose and the things we do.