Have you ever wondered what your purpose in life is? I probably ask myself this question as often as I brush my teeth (and I brush my teeth twice a day, don’t judge me).
Finding your purpose or wondering “why am I here” could feel like it is a question that has epic consequences. So it can be a tough question to answer. The truth is that our purpose is eternal, yet figuring it out might be more practical than you think.
My most common question in college, outside of where I could find free food, was—why am I studying what I am studying? Learning how to solve triple integrals, or how to literally design nuts and bolts did not help much when I was trying to find an answer.
This year, I celebrate 10yrs of earning my Mechanical Engineering degree, and I currently work at a church. I worked 8yrs in Corporate America, and I asked myself the purpose question quite often. I still do. Yet, I feel confident that the decisions that I am making are taking me a step closer to finding an answer. That I am closer to knowing what I am destined for or what I want to accomplish in life.
The source of that confidence, though, is not coming from my own ability, nor has it come much from my degree, my accomplishments, or my job. The source of that trust comes from the Bible, a book that was not even referenced during my five years of college, and the many leadership conferences that I attended.
There are many verses in the Bible that you can find talking about what we are supposed to do (Ephesians 2:10, Ecclesiastes 3:12, etc.…), but there is one that I want to expand on:
Galatians 5: 13 (NIV)- “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
We have the freedom to do whatever we want, but we are challenged into a life of serving others. If you study the life of Jesus, you can see how he served others (healing, feeding, comforting, sacrificing his life). One of the reasons that I think this is connected to our purpose is because when I ask people that know their purpose, almost 100% of the time, people say something connected to serving others.
I have heard things like: I want to be CEO so that I can inspire and lead others to live their faith at work. I want to be a politician so that I can be a voice for those marginalized. I want to be the best parent possible so that my kids can achieve and influence at levels greater than what I can.
In contrast, I have never heard someone that clearly knows their purpose to say that their purpose is a self-serving one.
Now, I know that this does not tackle the question about how to find our purpose. But what if, instead of tackling the big question, we focus on what we can do now? What if we could find purpose in where we are placed today? In your work, in your school, in your neighborhood. What if we had the choice to live with intentionality and purpose every single day? Would you like that?
Ok. If you do, I will share a few things I do to help me find purpose in my life.
- I ask myself, who can I serve today? Can I serve my wife better today? (Usually, the answer to this question is yes.) Can I make my life better for my boss? My co-workers?
- Is there someone I can bless today? Thinking through the list of people around you, especially those that might have a need that you can fulfill, can be a good starting point.
- Whose life can I make better today? My neighbor?
When we start finding needs to help meet, and we do that consistently, we will start realizing that we gravitate towards a particular set of things or needs. This can slowly start revealing the needs around you, which can, in turn, inform what you might be called to. Maybe even help you what your next role or job should be, what organizations to join or start, who to hang out with. And if you are wondering how could this lead to something eternal, then I leave you with this verse:
He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. -Romans 2: 6-7