Have you ever felt lost or aimless? Like you’re just drifting through life without a sense of purpose?
You’re not alone.
In fact, a survey in the United Kingdom found that 89% of 16-29-year-olds believe their lives have no purpose or meaning.
But the truth is, we need a purpose greater than ourselves to thrive. Without it, we may miss out on our best life. So, in this article, we’ll explore the power of purpose and how to find yours.
Benjamin Hardy wrote, “Viktor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor summed-it up best: Without having a future to look forward and stretch to, the present becomes meaningless and unbearable.” And yet too many people leave their live up to chance.
“Too many people just drift through life, going with the flow, never having any direction about where they want their lives to go,” said the entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and author, Andrew Horton. That’s what a survey in the United Kingdom confirmed. “89% of British 16-29 year olds believe their lives have no purpose or meaning.”
With increasing age, more people said yes, though 55% of over 60s still admitted their lack of purpose. They have no clue what they are living for. Dr. Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist, has found that people struggle to imagine who they will be in the future.
In the words of Graig Groeschel, “All people end up somewhere in life, but few end up there on purpose.”
You need a purpose to thrive. If you lose it you may miss out on your best life. “Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on,” warned Frankl. “He was soon lost.”
So, how can you find your purpose? The first step is to begin with God. As King David found, God should be the centerpiece of your life mission. He prioritized bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, making God the center of his vision, ambitions, and projects.
In Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren says, “The purpose of life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.”
And that’s the level of fulfillment I wish for your life. It’s so easy to get caught up in what society tells us to do and in what people around us think life is supposed to be. I found that if I’m not intentionally pursuing Jesus, I get sidetracked.
There is a fine line with have to wrestle with as ambitious people having a bias for action. Getting things done is great. We do have a wonderful competitive edge.
Still, we need to be careful to not pursue our own dreams and avoid doing it on our own strength. We need the Holy Spirit. The early Christians turned the world upside down by offering their talents, strengths, ideas, energy, and passions in faithful obedience. Letting the Holy Spirit make the miracles, they relied on God’s strength—not their own.
We must begin with Jesus and make him the centerpiece of all our endeavors. In the words of the writer of the Proverbs:
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. — Proverbs 16:3
That’s the balance that’s hard to find. We need to make it a priority to making everything we do about Jesus.
Our specific purpose may change as we’re progressing in life.
When I began to work as a process engineer in the coffee industry and then in biotech, I invested most of my free time in building my local church. I took on leadership responsibilities, built various teams and played the piano in the worship team.
A couple of years later I coached small group leaders. At that time, I felt God calling me to invest in my career. I did an industrial PhD and while finishing it off, my boss wanted me to take on a management role. I still served in the church in roles that required less of my time.
It’s important to often reassess your purpose and then adjust your vision. David developed the habit of assessing himself.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! — Psalm 139:23-24
How do we take this assessment? Craig Groeschel suggests in the frame of the Chazown Experience, “Discovering your chazown starts with examining your core values, spiritual gifts, and past experiences.”
Now you see why it’s important to take the assessment several times during our lives. The third element, your past experiences, evolves.
Stephen Covey wrote, “Begin with the end in mind.” To begin with the end in mind requires you to acquire a clear picture of where you want to arrive. Covey said, “It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busyness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”
You must take time to define your destination upfront. Leadership expert Robin Sharma recommends establishing a 100-year timeline. The idea is to list who you’re going to be down the road. In other words, we need to define our life story. What do you want to be remembered of? What is the different you want to make?Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. — Ephesians 2:10
We live our lives to do good works. Our good works for the glory of God will tell a beautiful salvation and restoration story.
What is the story you want to tell? Who do you want to be at the end of your life? What about in 100 years from now?
Robin Sharma, invites you to reverse engineer your life. How does it look like in 50, 10, 3 years from now? And what about in a year from now?
Finally, remember that purpose is not just about achieving a specific goal or reaching a particular destination. Purpose is about the journey, the process of using our passions and strengths to make a positive impact in the world.
When you focus too much on the destination, you can become discouraged or frustrated when encountering obstacles or setbacks.
But when you focus on the journey, you can find joy and fulfillment in the process of using your gifts to make a difference.
In conclusion, finding purpose is essential to living a fulfilling life.
By starting with God, identifying your passions and strengths, finding a cause that matters to you, and focusing on the journey, you can discover your higher purpose and use your life to make a positive impact in the world.
So go out there, find your purpose, and make a difference!