Over and over I have sought out the approval of others. I have posted so many overly personal things on social media just because I wanted to know that others approved of what I was doing. Yet, instead of feeling fulfilled by the likes and comments, I have always been left filling empty. Today, I heard a message from Infocus church in Augusta, GA called “I choose- Purpose over popularity”. My first instinct was to choose another message to listen to, but something told me to listen anyway. I’m glad I did because as the pastor spoke, I became increasingly convicted. I began to realize how much I actually seek out the approval of others rather than caring about pleasing the One that really matters- God.
The one thing that the pastor said that stayed with me was that “it is better to be loved by God than to be liked by people in this world”. This hit me hard. I am the ultimate people pleaser. I hate when people dislike me. I rarely make decisions without seeking the consult of someone in my family. The message made me realize how big of a mistake my actions have been. I waste so much energy trying to please everyone around me and ignoring the one who I can actually please pretty easily.
I think the pastor said it like this: “you cannot please EVERYONE, but you can please THE ONE”.
As soon as he said this, he answered the question of how to do that, which is by living out your purpose with faith. Faith pleases God. Fulfilling our life’s true purpose pleases God too. This is where so many people get stuck, I know. It can be so hard to figure out what it is that we are meant to do on this earth. Many times we feel underqualified, under- resourced, or just ill equipped. But I am here to tell you this, once you have pinned down what it is you are meant to do, God will do the qualifying. He will do all the extra work. God qualifies the called rather than calling the qualified. So don’t let that be your fear. Focus on figuring out what it is that you think might be your calling. Here are a few things that might help you to do that.
1. Seek out God’s direction through prayer.
When Jesus died on the cross, the temple was destroyed and the veil was torn. This was God telling his people that nothing would stand between us and him any longer. We no longer need a mediator to stand between and speak on behalf of him. We can go directly to him with our concerns, hopes, and fears. This is what he desires from us. Prayer is the way that we can do that. Matthew 21: 22 says “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive”. So we can ask for clarity on our purpose and, with faith, we will gain the clarity that we seek. That is what his word promises us. There is something very important that a lot of people forget about though, which makes their prayers inefficient. That is the believing part. We cannot ask for something with no faith, no belief and really expect it to come to fruition. We have to believe when we ask that not only can God do what we ask, but that he WILL.
2. Make a list of all the things that give you energy.
These are the things that you are passionate about. Anytime something excites, it is giving you a clue to who you are and what you are meant to do. Think of them as road signs that are directing you to where you are supposed to be. All those things that bring you joy are hinting at what you are actually put here for. And this is different for everyone. I have a friend whose life purpose is to teach yoga. I, on the other hand, cannot really stand it. But that’s ok. I do not have to have the same passions as the next person. Now, don’t get to critical about this. Maybe you don’t really know what your passions are. Figuring them out is as simple as thinking of what brings you the most joy in life. This could be music, dance, teaching, working with kids in another capacity, your faith, physical health, mental health, justice, the outdoors, the environment, your family. Everyone has at least one thing that they love in this world. Those things are what will lead you to your purpose.
3. Define your true life’s desire.
This might not be easy and you might find that you have more than one or two. However, I think that when you get really clear about what you want out of life, you can then get closer to figuring out what your purpose is. This doesn’t have to be something super long, but it does have to be clear. For instance, my true life’s desire is to love, to be loved, to help others, and to glorify Christ in all of that. Concise, but clear. The thing is that my purpose is laced in that desire. My purpose is to live a life of kindness (to love), become a therapist (help others), and to produce writing that aids people in need (also to help others)- all of which glorifies Christ in its’ own way. Try writing out exactly what it is that you desire and see if you can get a sense of your purpose through that.
4. Get to know yourself better.
This cannot be done overnight, but it can be done. One thing that I did to help do this was sitting in meditation. You get to know your thoughts very well when you sit with them for a period of time every day. Another thing that I have done, which might seem really silly to some, is taking personality and aptitude tests. Most of the time they are pretty accurate. Every aptitude/career placement test that I ever took said that I should do some type of work in the mental health field. I already knew what my purpose was, but these tests really gave me confidence in my decision.
I hope this helps you in some way! Please be sure to subscribe and join us on Facebook at www.facebook.co/lunachicks.org!
As always with love,