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Finding Life’s Purpose

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At a young age we’re asked a question and often times our answers change depending on the day, the person asking, or the toy we were playing with.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

My answers typically ranged from wanting to swim with Shamu, be an Olympic gymnast like Mary Lou Retton, skate with Disney on Ice, or to become a teacher.  I also remember wanting to be a grocery bagger at one point. 

It’s pretty fair to say that we’re all rather lucky that the decision for finding life’s purpose is not determined at the age of four!

But what about those of us who have moved on from the innocent dreams of a child and are still struggling to find our way through the mundaness of life?

How exactly do we go about finding life’s purpose?

What’s your life purpose?

This is something that I’ve been studying and praying on lately.  I’m thirty-one years old and growing up, I always viewed women in their 30s to be mature individuals that had their lives on the right track heading towards something special, unlike the floundering around that often takes place in your twenties. So last year as I was turning thirty, I was scared and somewhat depressed because I didn’t feel my life was on the path that I imagined it would be by this third decade of existence.  

But you see, all along I have been focusing on this “plan Bree” instead of “plan G-O-D”!

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 MSG says,

What I want to talk about now is the various ways God’s Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often misunderstood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable. Remember how you were when you didn’t know God, led from one phony god to another, never knowing what you were doing, just doing it because everybody else did it? It’s different in this life. God wants us to use our intelligence, to seek to understand as well as we can. For instance, by using your heads, you know perfectly well that the Spirit of God would never prompt anyone to say “Jesus be damned!” Nor would anyone be inclined to say “Jesus is Master!” without the insight of the Holy Spirit.

God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:

– wise counsel
– clear understanding
– simple trust
– healing the sick
– miraculous acts
– proclamation
– distinguishing between spirits
– tongues
– interpretation of tongues.

All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.

That last line is a kicker!  “He decides who gets what and WHEN.”

HE, not ME.

I don’t know if you have a devotional that you read through regularly, but if you’re in the search of one, you should definitely check out Jesus Calling. There is also an app that you can download on your smartphone to keep these messages close at all times.

A message that I found in the Jesus Calling devotional and highlighted for times that I started doubting if there was any purpose to my life at all, I think is very fitting with the scripture of 1 Corinthians.

“Approach this day with awareness of who is Boss.  As you make plans for the day, remember that it is I who orchestrate the events of your life.  On days when things go smoothly, according to your plans, you may be unaware of My sovereign Presence.  On days when your plans are thwarted, be on the lookout for Me!  I may be doing something important in your life, something quite different from what you expected.  It is essential at such times to stay in communication with Me, accepting My way as better than yours.  Don’t try to figure out what is happening.  Simply trust Me and thank Me in advance for the good that will come out of it all.  I know the plans I have for you, and they are good.

The scriptures that inspired this reading is derived from Isaiah 55:9-11.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

And the scripture that brings it all home, from Jeremiah 29:11.  This is a familiar verse to me, but paired with the previous verses, my eyes are finally opened to the weight of its message:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prospers you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

So how do we find life’s purpose?  Is it being a parent, a child, a student, a teacher, a social worker, office employee, manual laborer, a manager, or CEO of a business?

No, those are our roles in life, but our purpose is something greater, provided from God and in HIS timing, that He will show us our purpose.

It may not be the same from year to year, or even month to month, but in our daily lives we need to be alert and aware of the opportunities that God places before us, that we may administer our gifts to His people.  And if you’re anythign like me and question whether or not you have gifts that are worth giving, I remind you (and myself), don’t doubt the Lord. He molded and shaped each of us in His image and designed a plan that will bring glory to His name.

Let’s remember not to turn a blind eye to these opportunities, but seek His assistance as we face life’s obstacles.  After all, with Him NOTHING is impossible.  Each of us has a purpose for something much greater than we can fathom.

Do you find yourself living your life according to your own plan, rather than that of God’s?  Do you wish to accept His will more fully?  If so, please join me in praying this simple prayer…

Heavenly Father, I often get caught up in the idea of what I think my life should be or should hold, and I begin to question the purpose of the chaos that sometimes comes with life and how it fits into my plans.  I have it all wrong.  It’s how it fits into YOUR’S.  I ask that you provide me patience as I await the arrival of the gifts and purpose you have designed especially for me.  And once I am presented an opportunity to use these gifts, I ask that You grant me courage and boldness to face them.  I know that through Your Spirit I can do all things.  I thank you for all that You are and continue to be in my life.  I pray these things in Your Son’s precious and holy name.  Amen.

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  1. Stopping by from Jack of All Trades. Great scripture and reminders here. I was just discussing the struggle of life’s purpose and trying to push our way into certain areas of life. My partner reminded me that it’s all in His plan, and in His control. I was looking for scripture to match up with this, and Jeremiah fits perfectly. Thank you!

    1. Caitlin, thanks for stopping by! Don’t you just love how God will put something in your path in order to help see Him more clearly? I am blessed to know that this post has done that for you. Hope that you’ll stop back soon! Be blessed!

  2. Visiting you from Jack of All Trades! This was just the encouragement that I needed today. I’m a twenty something and two years out of college and still searching for a full-time job. Still really searching what it is that I want to do. I loved what you said here about are our jobs our purpose, “No, those are our roles in life, but our purpose is something greater, provided from God and in HIS timing, that He will show us our purpose.” That is so true and such a great reminder. Like you said, He knows what we need and He will provide it at just the right time. Great post! Glad I found you tonight.

    1. Jess Elyse, I am so glad that you stopped by and were inspired by what God laid on my heart to share. I’m nearly a decade out of college and am still trying to find my way into the right job, but as I said, it’s not the job that fulfills His purpose. I pray that you find a job that allows you to grow and to glorify Him, but one that will also allow you to keep your eyes open to what greater purpose He has for you! Hope to see you back again soon! Blessings!

  3. I just started being more aware of God’s plan for me in the last few years, and it is so different and so much better than my plan! If only we can learn to trust always.

    1. It’s a hard thing to accept and to adjust your life to follow in His will for you, Sarah! I completely understand the struggle and there are so many others out there doing the same thing day in and day out. But it’s through the struggle that we get an opportunity to talk with Him and come to understand Him better. Praying that your journey is blessed with both ups and downs, so that you learn many lessons of His love and grace.

  4. I’m one of those people that has known what I’ve wanted/been made to do for years, my reply has always been: work with orphans in Africa. But things have been changing lately. I feel like God has been changing my dream. I’m not sure if that was a dream put in me so we would adopt from there (because when we were looking into adoption we just knew it had to be Africa because it was so huge in my heart) and now that our adoption is supposed to be happening sometime this year I feel like God has something else in store, something He has slowly be revealing to me and it’s really quite exciting!

    1. Wow, Chantel, that is an incredible testimony! Thank you so much for sharing with all of us here. I’m excited for you and what He has in store for you in this next phase of the journey. Hope you’ll stop back soon and share what you’re learning! Be blessed!

  5. I agree that the way God uses us may change from year to year, although our greater purpose (loving and serving Him) remains constant. We are all uniquely gifted and find ourselves in varying circumstances at different times in our lives, but God always has a good plan for us.
    I came here via Holley’s link-up

    1. Thanks for visiting, Constance! I’m happy that you stopped by and that you were able to reaffirm what it means to accept God’s purpose of our lives. I hope that you will continue to seek and serve Him so that He may make it abundantly clear what direction you should go. Blessings!

  6. Hi Bree! From one thirty-something to another, I understand how it can feel like time is closing in. As I was reading your post, I thought of the movie, 13 Going On 30. I’ve started to think maybe it’s not so much of WHAT we do but HOW we do it. David was a shepherd boy before he became a king. I also think of people like Abraham and Moses who were much older when they were used mightily by God. I’m so glad He knows the purposes and plans He has for me even when I don’t know what it is but that’s when trust comes in and as followers/children of Christ, that is our greatest purpose and reward!

    1. Hi Liv! I love the connection that you made from this post and how you said that “it’s not so much of WHAT we do but HOW we do it” <<--- great point!! If we do it with God leading the way, we're sure to find wholeness, peace and fulfillment! What a wonderful thing it is to know that He's got us in the palm of His hand, providing each step of the way! So blessed to have you share you thoughts, thank you!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment, Holley! I am so blessed by the opportunity to link up with you and so many other inspiring women who are seeking Him!

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